Congress finds it hard to let Federal Helium Program run out of gas
If you think this is an easy decision, read the article and the first “reader comment” (by Ferguson Foont). at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-helium-program-how-temporary-becomes-forever/2013/04/26/80ef1148-adb8-11e2-98ef-d1072ed3cc27_story_1.htmImagine a world without balloons (VIDEO) Georgia Congressional Representative, Hank Johnson, on the helium debate. (Copied from C-SPAN.)If you are interested in other subjects that Congressional Representative Hank Johnson has spoken about, watch ‘Hank Johnson Guam Capsizing’
and, Congressman Hank Johnson on 'midgets'.
November 5, 2012Congressman Brad Sherman
5000 Van Nuys Blvd. - Suite 420Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Dear Congressman Sherman:
I live in the 27th Congressional District. I know you sit on the House Financial Services Committee and its Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, and I know that you also sit on the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.
Therefore, it seems appropriate that I bring a concern of mine to your attention.
My concern: While reading an article published in the Wall Street Journal on October 2, 2012 titled, New York Firm to Buy Fannie Foreclosures By Alan Zibel, I noticed the author mentioned the terms were the same for both of Fannie Mae’s first two ‘bulk sales’ (of foreclosed single family homes). An outline of the terms of the deals was provided in the article (the last four paragraphs of the article).
It seems the terms of these first two bulk sales may lead to an uncertain, and very long payback period to for the GSE’s - and an even riskier and even longer payback period for any investor(s) that might be the source of funds for the managers of these deals. As long as the deal terms are fully-disclosed to the fund's (voluntary) investors their investments are their business.
However, because of the history of Federal Housing Policy, and because of the history of the GSE’s, I believe deals such as these should be designed in a way which can actually be expected to produce rapid and less risky payment of the purchase price, than it appears the terms of the first two deals will produce.
I hope the committees you sit on will very closely review and monitor these two existing deals, and that you will have independent evaluators advise on, and audit, the structure and payment of future bulk sales of foreclosed single family homes.
The bulk sale of foreclosed single family homes is a serious concern for homeowners, neighborhoods, and for local legislators. I believe the future financial success of these bulk sales is a critical element of the bulk sales strategy.
In the context of the GSA’s, it appears the terms of these first two deals were designed to move foreclosed homes off the GSE’s balance sheet, and to claim the 'sales agreement' as an asset.Thank you very much for this opportunity to express my concern.
Cc. Congressman Gary Miller2349 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(1) Private Equity’s Foreclosure Binge (& Purge) By Michael L Boyer pub. at Seeking Alpha, October 23, 2012 - at: http://seekingalpha.com/article/941291-private-equity-s-foreclosure-binge-purge#comments_header
(2) The Institutional Home Buying Bubble By Bill George - Posterous - at:
Don't forget the role of the rating agencies in the financial crisis. In the 1975 the U.S. Congress designated the Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSRO's). When Congress passed the legislation anointing the NRSRO’s it gave this limited number of organizations oligopoly status and unique competitive advantage. At the same time, Congress appointed the Securities and Exchange Commission as regulator of the NRSRO's.
Most investment advisors and portfolio managers use rating agency guidelines (ratings) to assist their evaluation of the quality and risk associated with the securities they purchase* and fiduciaries are restricted by law as to the minimum rating level from which they can select the investments they can purchase and manage. So, the rating agencies provide a seal of approval, so to speak, for the securities and companies they rate.
* In most cases, the ratings securities an investment advisor, or a portfolio manager will use are defined in a prospectus, offering circular, or by some other form of disclosure.
and Too Little, Too Late
Why is there a ‘shadow inventory’ of homes?
In last quarter of 2008, U.S. banks and their lobbyists pushed the U.S. Congress to force the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to postpone the implementation of mark-to-market accounting (FAS #157).* The FASB eventually acquiesced. So, after the acquiescence, banks and other collateralized mortgage obligation [CMO] investors can continue to carry these investments at origination value, rather than at the investment’s current market value.
But, if a bank or other mortgage investor forecloses, renegotiates the mortgage, or sells the home (the collateral) the new ‘book value’ of the investment is based upon the new selling price (or mortgage value) - as determined by the terms of the new deal (auction, renegotiation, or sale).
By not foreclosing, renegotiating, or formally taking back properties (REO) banks and other mortgage investors can, to some extent, manage what their losses appear to be, and hopefully offset the losses - they recognize - against other revenue, over time.
Key-words-search: “Congress Helped Banks Defang Key Rule” By Susan Pulliam & Tom McGinty WSJ 6/3/2009 | Professor Adam Levitin Congressional testimony “Federal Regulators Don’t Want to Know” YouTube | Zombie Banks | Japan Lost Decade (Please note that, at the beginning of Japan’s lost decade our current Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner was living and working in Japan as a Treasury Department attaché in the U.S. Embassy.)
* See, FAS #157 [mark-to-market accounting] and scroll down to the section heading: Effect on subprime crisis and Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 , at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark-to-market_accounting
Federal Regulators Don't Want To Know