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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Would Need New Bailout in Downturn, FHFA Says

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Would Need New Bailout in Downturn, FHFA Says

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FMCC) could require an additional bailout of as much as $190 billion in a severe economic downturn, according to the results of stress tests released by the regulator for the U.S.-owned companies.

The two mortgage-finance giants, which have already taken $187.5 billion in taxpayer aid since 2008, would need more funds to stay afloat if home prices plummeted in a severe downturn, theFederal Housing Finance Agency said in a report today. The stress tests, mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, use the same assumptions that the Federal Reserve does in gauging the ability of the nation’s largest banks to withstand a recession.

The results reflect the terms of the companies’ bailout, which require them to send to the Treasury all of their quarterly profits above a minimum net worth threshold. That money, counted as a return on the U.S. investment, prevents them from rebuilding capital or paying down debt to taxpayers.

“These results of the severely adverse scenario are not surprising given the company’s limited capital,” Fannie Mae (FNMA) Senior Vice President Kelli Parsons said in a statement. “Under the terms of the senior preferred stock purchase agreement, Fannie Mae is not permitted to retain capital to withstand a sudden, unexpected economic shock of the magnitude required by the stress test.”

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