Federal regulators directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to start purchasing $40 billion a month of underperforming mortgage bonds as the Bush administration expands its options to buy troubled financial assets and resuscitate the U.S. economy, according to three people briefed about the plan.
Fannie and Freddie began notifying bond traders last week that each company needs to buy $20 billion a month in mostly subprime, Alt-A and non-performing prime mortgage securities, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are confidential. The purchases would be separate from the U.S. Treasury's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.
``For now, they're under conservatorship and they have to be used to keep the flow of capital going to the housing market,'' former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Conversations with Judy Woodruff.'' ``They're important to maintaining the flow of government finance'' and need to be used actively, he said.
I mean, they are kidding, right?
Fannie, Freddie to Buy $40 Billion a Month of Troubled Assets [Bloomberg]