Freddie Mac’s Delinquent Loans Rise for 28th Month

Written by: Steve Cook   Fri, September 25, 2009 Beyond Today’s News, Crisis Watch

 Freddie Mac’s mortgage delinquency rate for its single family mortgages rose for the 28th straight month in August, reaching a record 3.13 percent of its portfolio 1.11 percent in August 2008.

 Freddie’s sister company, Fannie Mae, reported a similar increase in delinquent mortgages in June.  Its serious delinquency rate for conventional single family loans rose 26 basis points in June to 3.94 percent, higher than Freddie Mac’s in August.  Fannie Mae has not yet reported July and August delinquencies.

 The steadily increasing value of delinquent loans owned Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is another sign of the toll the housing crisis is taking on the economy.  The rising number of foreclosures and homeowners missing payments on loans held by the mortgage giants increasingly puts pressure their financial reserves and overall financial condition. 

Freddie Mac also reported today that its mortgage investment portfolio shrank by an annualized 29.5 percent rate in August. The portfolio fell to $779.4 billion, for an annualized 4.7 percent drop year to date. The size of the mortgage portfolio, however, increased on a year-over-year basis. In August 2008, the portfolio was $760.9 billion.  Last month Freddie Mac surprised observers by reporting a profit in the second quarter and indicated that it may not need additional federal TARP aid.

A year ago the Treasury Department took control of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, following the passage of legislation to give the agency greater authority over the financial viability of the two congressionally chartered companies and reports that shrinking capital reserves were declining.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have played a key role in the government’s efforts to shore up the U.S. housing market by buying more mortgage loans and to refinance and helping homeowners avoid foreclosure under the government’s Making Home Affordable program.

Chartered by the government to reduce the cost of mortgages to homeowners, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac package mortgages into securities for sale to investors.. The companies also invest in mortgages and securities backed by mortgages.  Currently, Congress is considering legislation that could significantly change the structure and role of the two companies.

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