freddie mac nella bufera

FaGal

Nuovo Utente
Registrato
21/7/02
Messaggi
17.980
Punti reazioni
231
Freddie Mac, mutui nella bufera

NEW YORK - "Catch the dream", afferra il sogno, è lo slogan di Freddie Mac , nomignolo affettuoso per Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, una delle tre agenzie governative incaricate di finanziare il desiderio degli americani di possedere una casa. Un sogno su cui adesso si allungano le ombre di pasticci contabili, di un'inchiesta penale, dell'immancabile polemica sulla buonuscita dei manager defenestrati ma ricoperti d'oro: l'ex amministratore delegato, Leland Brendsel, si porta a casa un pacchetto da 24 milioni di dollari, mentre David Glenn, licenziato in tronco, incasserà 5,3 milioni di stock option. La possente industria dei mutui oltreoceano è un gigante da 7mila miliardi di dollari che si regge su un mercato secondario quasi monopolizzato da Freddie Mac, istituita dal Congresso nel 1970, e dalla "sorella" più anziana, Fannie Mae, creata dal Governo nel 1938 dopo gli anni bui della grande Depressione che di sogni ne avevano infranti a iosa. Esiste pure una Ginnie Mae che però, a differenza delle due cugine, è completamente garantita dal Tesoro. Invece i colossi Freddie e Fannie sono società private pur godendo di ambiguità legislative: quotate in Borsa non risultano soggette agli obblighi di trasparenza stabiliti per le altre istituzioni finanziarie. Rientrano infatti nell'ibrida categoria delle "Government sponsored enterprises". Molto potere, pochi controlli, nessuna garanzia statale. Le "gemelle" hanno lo scopo di rendere più efficiente l'industria dei prestiti, assicurando un flusso di cassa alle banche: Freddie Mac e Fannie Mae comprano i mutui dagli istituti di credito, una parte viene messa nel portafoglio, un'altra viene trasformata in titoli poi venduti agli investitori. Le società finanziano gli acquisti con denaro raccolto attraverso l'emissione di bond. Al duo sponsorizzato dal Governo va la fetta più grossa della torta: possiedono o garantiscono circa il 42% dell'intero mercato dei mutui. Freddie, che è la numero 2, assicura o detiene mille miliardi di dollari. Ma al pari della sorella non ha l'obbligo di presentare rendiconti trimestrali alla Sec. A verificare i conti c'è un organo poco conosciuto, l'Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Però l'anno scorso le sorelle hanno accettato di cominciare a inviare dati alla Sec, un'apertura ai controlli in corner fatta mentre sul cielo di Freddie Mac si addensavano le nubi della tempesta. I revisori subentrati ad Arthur Andersen avevano messo nel mirino le modalità di iscrizione in bilancio dei titoli derivati. Alla miscela esplosiva contribuiscono gli interrogativi sull'adeguatezza del rapporto tra capitale e debiti di gran lunga più basso rispetto a quello imposto alle altre società. L'azzeramento dei vertici di Freddie Mac e le indagini della magistratura hanno ora ridato voce alle Cassandre che da tempo chiedono una revisione delle regole. Primo fra tutti il Governatore della Fed, Alan Greenspan, sollecitato dall'instancabile deputato repubblicano Richard Baker che della battaglia per riformare questo sistema ha fatto una bandiera politica. Già ad aprile Greenspan aveva espresso preoccupazioni per il fatto che le due agenzie siano erroneamente percepite dagli investitori come entità sostenute dal Governo. Sullo sfondo, il ruolo cruciale del mercato immobiliare. La formula che ha puntellato l'economia Usa in questi tre anni è semplice: prezzi degli immobili alle stelle più tassi di interesse ai minimi storici uguale un fiume di contanti nelle tasche dei consumatori-proprietari (il 70% degli americani) che hanno rifinanziato in massa i propri mutui sulla base dei nuovi valori delle case. Creando qualche problema ai due colossi della cartolarizzazione che hanno visto diminuire la durata finanziaria degli attivi (mutui) rispetto a quella dei passivi (obbligazioni). La domanda, ha scritto il «Wall Street Journal», è se Freddie Mac abbia manipolato gli utili o peggio tentato di mascherare l'ammontare dei suoi rischi finanziari. Se la sfiducia degli investitori sfiorasse il pilastro dell'economia Usa i danni sarebbero incalcolabili. «Il sistema americano di finanziamento della casa fa invidia al mondo intero» dice con orgoglio il sito Internet di Freddie Mac. Da lunedì scorso un po' meno. ROBERTA MIRAGLIA


Venerdí 13 Giugno 2003

Il Sole 24ore
 
.........

June 14, 2003, 7:45PM


Shake-up could turn tide
Scandal may mean loss of Freddie Mac's special status
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The accounting troubles and leadership shakeup at mortgage giant Freddie Mac break the mold of the corporate scandals that have arisen in the past year or so.

The company, like its sister corporation Fannie Mae, holds special status bestowed by the government as an important supplier of money in the home-mortgage market, which is so pivotal to the economy.

Critics have said for years that the two used their status to build financial houses of cards and to avoid full public disclosure about what they were up to.

The critics, as diverse as Ralph Nader on the left and Republican Rep. Richard Baker of Louisiana on the right, had an "I-told-you-so" moment last week when Freddie Mac announced the firing of its president over an accounting review and the abrupt resignations of its chairman-CEO and its chief financial officer.

A criminal investigation by federal prosecutors and a formal inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission were disclosed two days later.

"I've been worried about just this type of development for years," Baker said. He said he feared the events might "touch even the smallest and most innocent participants in the housing market."

Created by Congress 30 years ago to pump money into the multitrillion-dollar home mortgage market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have grown explosively in recent years as they've snapped up home loans from banks and bundled them into securities for sale on Wall Street. They've become so large -- Freddie Mac is No. 32 on the Fortune 500 list with $39.7 billion in revenues -- that critics contend they are "too big to fail" and the government would bail them out if they collapsed.

They have a peculiar status among corporations whose stock is publicly traded. The companies are not directly guaranteed by the government, but they enjoy special privileges, such as the ability to borrow directly from the Treasury. That makes their borrowing rates lower than the norm. Congressional budget experts estimate that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's operational advantages are worth $10 billion or so.

The two also wield huge political influence on Capitol Hill and are savvy lobbyists as well as big contributors to both political parties. Moves in recent years to tighten regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and curtail their privileges found scant support among lawmakers loath to rock the housing-market boat in an otherwise dreary economy.

As the two have grown and maneuvered the markets as sophisticated financial institutions, an increasing part of their business has been in derivatives, which are complex financial instruments used to hedge interest-rate risks.

Sound familiar? Derivatives played a role in the stunning collapse of Enron in late 2001, were behind the near-demise of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management in 1998 and have popped up in other financial scandals.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett recently called them "financial weapons of mass destruction," saying they posed a threat to the nation's financial system.

In some cases, companies' use of derivatives "has proven to be extraordinarily hazardous," says James Owers, a professor at Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Noting that two Nobel laureate economists at Long-Term Capital were confounded by derivatives, Owers wonders, "If they could not manage this risk, who can?"

Add to that the fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, again by virtue of their status, have not been required to file periodic financial reports with the SEC, as almost all publicly traded companies have to do. They voluntarily agreed to do so last July, at the height of the scandals and pressure for corporate accountability, but critics say that's insufficient, and the government must require them to make the disclosures.

Events still are unfolding and the investigations are in early stages. But the legislative and regulatory tide may turn against them this time.
 
.....

Freddie Mac congela le stock option


Il colosso Usa dei mutui immobiliari Freddie Mac ha deciso la sospensione dei pacchetti di opzioni e stock option che facevano parte delle liquidazioni dei dirigenti mandati via la scorsa settimana. Il «congelamento» avrà effetto fino all’ok della Sec, che ha aperto un’indagine formale sulla Freddie Mac. I vertici della società sono stati azzerati per mancata collaborazione con le autorità.

Corriere della sera
 
....

Scandal at Freddie Mac Has Little Impact on Fannie Mae, Company Official Says
Source: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Publication date: 2003-06-17
Arrival time: 2003-06-16

Jun. 17--Fannie Mae is paying for the alleged accounting sins of competitor Freddie Mac, but the week-old scandal has had "no noticeable impact on either the housing market or the mortgage finance market," David Berson, chief economist for the mortgage financing company, said Monday.
"Our borrowing costs have gone up a little bit, but not a lot," Berson said in remarks from the company's Washington, D.C., headquarters and broadcast over the Internet. Fannie Mae is the nation's No. 1 mortgage buyer, created by Congress in 1968 to keep mortgage money flowing by purchasing home loans for repackaging as investor securities.

"Absolutely none" is how Berson assessed the damage to the housing sector from the June 9 news of apparent wrongdoing at Freddie Mac, the nation's No. 2 mortgage buyer, created by Congress in 1970. "I feel very strongly that even as we go forward, there will probably be no impact on people's ability to buy homes or finance them."

Fannie Mae's recent predictions of a $3.7 trillion mortgage market this year -- well above last year's $2.6 trillion historic high point -- didn't waver either, Berson said.

"I don't know if that's as good as it gets. But it's as big as we've ever seen," Berson said.

The economist spoke at a regularly scheduled media session, which veered immediately to whether housing, the only healthy sector in an ailing economy, will withstand Freddie Mac's news that its three top officers were ousted over misstated profits.

Although any deception may have involved under-reporting of revenue -- not the overstating typical of recent corporate scandals -- and only involved Freddie Mac, shares of both government-sponsored companies took a nose-dive last week and their bond sale yields suffered.

Collectively, the two companies have more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt -- and lots of critics.

Berson turned away repeated questions on the scandal at Freddie Mac, saying "I'm not the right person to talk to about that." His expertise is the mortgage market, he said. On that topic, the economist predicted:

--This year's refinancing deals alone will match the value of last year's entire mortgage market, a boom powered by interest rates at 45-year lows. Borrowers will withdraw a collective $120 billion to $130 billion in equity from their homes through "cash-out" loans, pumping at least half that back into the economy through consumer spending.

--Home purchase mortgage applications will climb to $1.1 trillion, as home sales continue to boom at least through August, pushing 2003 sales at least 2 percent above 2002 totals.

--The nation's key 30-year mortgage interest rate will hover around its its current 5.2 percent level, and may go slightly lower before an inevitable upswing late this year or early next year.

--Home price appreciation will subside from its recent 8 percent annualized pace to about 5 percent for the year.

-----

To see more of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.jsonline.com.

(c) 2003, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.


Publication date: 2003-06-17
 
Indietro