Fannie Mae’s Bill Is Holding Up The IndyMac Sale

This is pretty rich with irony. Fannie Mae seems to be standing in the way of the FDIC’s sale of IndyMac to a group of private investors.

As reported by Housing Wire, Fannie presented the FDIC with a bill for $1 billion shortly after it seized IndyMac. The bill was for representations and warranties violations that the bank allegedly made on loans it sold to Fannie Mae. The FDIC apparently offered to settle for $100 million but Fannie is standing pat and the issue has become a sticking point in the negotiations.

The following from the Housing Wire article got me thinking:

“Pushing strong repurchase claims on any lender of decent size can help put them under,” said the source, a secondary market mortgage executive that asked not to be identified. “But it looks like Fannie decided it could try to push those claims onto the FDIC’s books.”

Additionally, sources in the analyst and investment banking community have privately suggested that Treasury has been equally vocal with them about their unwillingness to hand over a heavily-regulated financial entity such as IndyMac to a group of private financial firms with little experience in managing the intricate world of banking rules.

How many sorts of claims like this do Fannie and Freddy potentially have? If IndyMac can be nailed for this then I would imagine that Countrywide must have stepped over the line a couple of times and how about ResCap, the GMAC mortgage behemoth we just bailed out. For that matter, all of the major banks, Wells, BofA, JPMorgan, Citi were selling to Fannie and Freddy. Should we assume that they didn’t step over the line?

I suppose the problem is that we are kind of stealing from ourselves if we try to collect. It’s OK to put the screws to another part of the government because that’s just bookkeeping but if we go after some outsiders we might cause them pain. In fact, if we collect, we might have to turn around and inject some capital into them to keep them whole. At the same time, maybe we could use some TARP funds to … oh never mind.

You see what all of this maneuvering gets you? Confusion.

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