- How Does the U.S. Quit Housing When Fannie, Freddie Rake in Billions?
(BusinessWeek) - Wonders, they never cease. Fannie Mae, one of the two big government-seized mortgage guarantors, just posted a record profit of $17.2 billion for 2012. Its cousin, Freddie Mac, earned $11 billion last year. That’s just over four years since they essentially failed. (Combined, Aunt Fannie and Uncle Freddie, as wags like to call them, racked up more than $22 billion in losses in 2011, before the big snapback in the housing sector.)
- U.S. White House and Treasury Announce New Foreclosure Prevention Programs
Now that President Barack Obama is fully comfortable in his second term, the White House is busy trying to improve on the foreclosure prevention initiatives that launched in the first term. Programs such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) have helped millions of homeowners in the United States to avoid foreclosure, but the White House has acknowledged that the programs have fallen short of their intended goals.
- Waiting for Relaxed Mortgage Lending Standards
The United States government has been very proactive in terms of stimulating mortgage lending activity since the disastrous collapse of the credit markets in 2008. Mortgage interest rates have been pushed down to historical low levels through the Treasury's Operation Twist and the third round of quantitative easing (QE3), which makes the government a major investor in mortgage-backed bonds. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) now guarantee almost all mortgages originated in the U.S. these days, The White House is very involved in foreclosure prevention and mitigation programs.