WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Monday laid out credit provisions for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under its fiscal year 2011 budget proposal, but did not deliver a vision for the future of the money-losing mortgage finance giants.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, said, however, that the administration would soon outline its vision for their future.
The White House said Fannie (FNM.N)(FNM.P) and Freddie (FRE.N)(FRE.P) said will tap $153 billion in government funds by late next year. That does not count trillions in liabilities for the government-controlled firms.
Early last year, the administration said it would propose a new structure for the two firms in President Barack Obama's fiscal 2011 budget plan, which was released on Monday, although more recently it signaled there would not be much detail.
There will be a statement forthcoming very shortly, Donovan told reporters on a conference call about housing components of the budget proposal.
He said the administration had pledged to release its vision for the firms, known as government sponsored enterprises, around the time of the budget, not necessarily in the budget.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which fund three-quarters of all U.S. residential mortgages, came under government control in September 2008 when they received a massive bailout that gave the government a 79.9 percent stake and put them into conservatorship.
In the budget blueprint, the administration devoted only one sentence to the future of the two government-sponsored enterprises, known as GSEs.
The administration continues to monitor the situation of the GSEs closely and will continue to provide updates on considerations for longer term reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as appropriate, the budget document said.
Analysts had expected the budget blueprint to lay out some possible scenarios for the future of the firms or outline some broad principles the administration would use when deciding their fate.
The lack of any detail is a signal that they are going to defer any decision about the future of Fannie and Freddie until this financial crisis is in the rear view mirror, said Howard Glaser, an independent mortgage industry analyst in Washington.
House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank last month said the two firms would be abolished in their current form, though he has not provided details on his vision for their future.
LIABILITIES STILL OFF OBUDGET
The budget blueprint continues to keep their trillions of liabilities of Fannie and Freddie off the budget, though White House Budget Director Peter Orszag had advocated putting them on the budget when he was director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
This budget continues to treat these two GSEs as non-budgetary private entities in conservatorship rather than as government agencies the document said, later noting that the government does, in fact, control their actions.
The Obama administration on Christmas Eve uncapped a combined $400 billion line of credit that had been extended to Fannie and Freddie to allow the firms unlimited losses through the end of 2012.
The Treasury payments are recorded as budgetary outlays and add to the budget deficit, the document said, noting that the two firms would tap about $165 billion from the Treasury by the end of September, but would also pay back $16 billion.
The GSEs would also need about $23 billion in the fiscal year that starts on October 1, but would repay $18 billion of that money, leaving the fiscal year 2011 net outlays at $5 billion.
That leaves the total net outlays from the Treasury line of credit to the firms at about $153 billion, up from the current $111 billion.
The budget blueprint assumes the firms will pay back Treasury at a rate of $6.73 billion per year, starting in October 2011.
Analysts say that fiction -- not counting the trillions in outstanding liabilities -- cannot be sustained indefinitely.
(Editing by Leslie Adler)