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U.S. Foresaw Better Return in Seizing Fannie and Freddie Profits - ABI

In August 2012, the federal government abruptly changed the terms of the bailout provided to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The New York Times reported on Sunday. Instead of continuing to receive payments on the taxpayer assistance, Treasury officials decided to begin seizing all the profits both companies generated every quarter. It was an unusual move, but it was necessary to protect taxpayers from likely future losses in their operations. Newly unsealed documents show that as early as December 2011, high-level Treasury officials knew that Fannie and Freddie would soon become profitable again. The materials also show that government officials involved in the decision to divert the profits knew the change would most likely generate more money for Treasury than the original rescue terms, which required the companies to pay taxpayers 10 percent annually on the bailout assistance they had received. The 17-page memo shows that the idea to extract all of Fannie’s and Freddie’s profits coincided with their anticipated turnaround. Another unsealed document, a draft memorandum circulated before the profit sweep, shows that federal officials recognized it would generate more money than the original bailout terms. Net income generated by Fannie and Freddie and paid to the government “will likely exceed the amount that would have been paid if the 10 percent was still in effect,” it stated.

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