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Fannie Mae Wants Another $10.7B In U.S. Aid After Posting Loss

First Posted: 09/07/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:45 PM ET

Fannie

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fannie Mae plans to tap $11 billion in new government aid after posting another massive quarterly loss as the taxpayer bill from the housing market bust keeps growing.

he mounting price tag for the rescue of Fannie and its goverment-sponsored sibling, Freddie Mac, is surpassed only by insurer American International Group Inc., which has received $182.5 billion in financial support from the government so far.

Fannie Mae's new request for $10.7 billion from the Treasury Department will bring the total for Fannie and Freddie to nearly $96 billion. Freddie is expected to report its quarterly results on Friday.

The government has pledged up to $400 billion in aid for the two companies, which play a vital role in the mortgage market by purchasing loans from banks and selling them to investors. They have been under government control since last September, when their near-collapse helped set off the financial crisis.

Together, Washington-based Fannie and McLean, Va.-based Freddie own or guarantee almost 31 million home loans worth about $5.4 trillion. That's about half of all U.S home mortgages.

With assets of that size, "it's hard for their problems to be small," said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics, a consulting firm that advises financial institutions.

Fannie Mae posted a second-quarter loss of $15.2 billion, or $2.67 per share, including $411 million in dividend payouts. That compares with a loss of $2.6 billion, or $2.54 per share, in the year-ago period.

"We are dependent on the continued support of Treasury in order to continue operating our business," Fannie Mae said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Thursday.

The results were driven by $18.8 billion in credit losses due to declining housing market conditions, made worse by rising unemployment. Nearly 4 percent of the loans Fannie Mae owns or guarantees were delinquent as of June 30, up from 1.4 percent a year earlier.

The two companies lowered their standards for borrowers during the real estate boom and are reeling from the bust. High-risk loans, now defaulting at a record pace, have come back to haunt the companies. Worse still, the recession is causing formerly reliable homeowners with good credit to default.

The Obama administration is expected to unveil its plans for Fannie and Freddie early next year. Options being considered include keeping the companies private, winding down their operations, merging them into a federal agency or separating out their bad mortgage assets into a new company backed by the government.

Meanwhile, the head of the federal agency that regulates Fannie and Freddie Mac, James Lockhart, is stepping down at the end of the month. Edward DeMarco, chief operating officer of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, was named acting director on Thursday.

DeMarco, 49, has worked at the agency since October 2006. Before that, he worked at the Social Security Administration and the Treasury Department.

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Filed by Ryan McCarthy  |