Fannie, Freddie Should Hold $280 Billion in Capital, FHFA Says
WASHINGTON—Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have to hold hundreds of billions of dollars of capital to absorb possible losses, their federal regulator decided on Wednesday.
华盛顿--抵押贷款巨头房利美(Fannie Mae)和房地美(Freddie Mac)的联邦监管机构周三决定，它们将不得不持有数千亿美元的资本，以吸收可能的损失。
The decision by the Federal Housing Finance Agency is a key step in efforts to return the two companies to private ownership. They were taken over by the government during the 2008 financial crisis in a process known as conservatorship.
美国联邦住房金融局(Federal Housing Finance Agency)的这一决定是让这两家公司回归私有的关键一步。它们在2008年金融危机期间被政府接管，这一过程被称为托管。
“The final rule is another milestone necessary for responsibly ending the conservatorships,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said in a statement. “FHFA is confident that the final rule puts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on a path toward a sound capital footing.”
But the decision sets a high hurdle for the companies. Based on their combined size earlier this year, Fannie and Freddie would have to hold about $283 billion. At present, they hold roughly $35 billion and would need to make up the difference through a combination of retained earnings and possible future stock sales.
The FHFA is seeking to put the companies—which guarantee about half the $11 trillion mortgage market—on a sound financial footing before returning them to private ownership. It is unclear if there is enough time to carry out those plans ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is considered unlikely to continue the effort.
Another step could see the FHFA and the Treasury Department amend the terms of the companies’ federal bailouts to allow them to retain their earnings, an FHFA official said.
Last year, FHFA and the Treasury temporarily stopped requiring that the firms turn over most of their profits to the government. That relief, which allows the firms to build up their capital, is set to expire in early 2021.