US Treasury Takes Steps to Wind Down Fannie, Freddie

by 17 Aug 2012

(CNBC) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday it is changing the way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will repay taxpayers in a move the Obama administration said would accelerate the winding down of the government-owned mortgage financiers.

The finance companies, which buy mortgages from lenders and repackage them as securities for investors, will now be required to hand over all their profits to the U.S. Treasury instead of the 10 percent dividend repayment required under the terms of their government bailout.

Both companies reported strong profits in the second quarter and did not need to ask the U.S. Treasury for additional taxpayer aid to stay solvent.

The Treasury said this change would ensure that "every dollar of earnings that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac generate will be used to benefit taxpayers for their investment in those firms.''

The companies, which were taken over by the government during the financial crisis, will also be required to reduce their investment portfolios at an annual rate of 15 percent instead of the previous 10 percent.

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