Washington, D.C (Feb. 14, 2018)—Independent Community Bankers of America® President and CEO Camden R. Fine today issued the following statement on Fannie Mae’s fourth-quarter net loss, which will require a capital infusion from the U.S. Treasury.
“Fannie Mae’s $6.5 billion net loss illustrates the need for policymakers to allow a stronger capital buffer at the government-sponsored enterprises to avoid additional taxpayer capital calls and potential harm to the housing-finance system. While the fourth-quarter loss was caused by a one-time write-down of deferred-tax assets due to tax reform, it nevertheless shows that the reduction of GSE capital and systematic sweep of revenues into government coffers creates instability for taxpayers and the community banks that depend on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for direct access to the secondary mortgage market.
“Fannie and Freddie have transferred more than $280 billion to the Treasury since 2013—nearly $100 billion more than the capital infusion they received during the Wall Street financial crisis—yet they are not permitted to retain and maintain sufficient capital that can provide stability in the event of short-term losses, such as that created in the fourth-quarter from a legislative change to tax law. The Federal Housing Finance Agency and Treasury Department must ensure that the GSEs are afforded the opportunity to operate under safe and sound capital policies and parameters.
“ICBA supports GSE reform and continues to call on FHFA Director Mel Watt and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to end the sweep of GSE earnings and to allow both companies to adequately rebuild their capital buffers through retained earnings. Community banks depend on the liquidity that Fannie and Freddie provide, as do American homebuyers.”
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 5,700 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.