No matter what Bill Ackman or Bruce Berkowitz have to say about it, it’s looking less and less likely that anybody not named Jack Lew will be spending any of the mortgage giants’ dividends any time soon. Not only are their record-breaking results perhaps not as good as they seem at first blush: They’ve still got quite a ways to go before actually repaying their $187.5 billion bailout. And, given the way things are going, it’s not at all clear that they’ll be able to do so before needing that next bailout.
Fannie got $116.1 billion and has paid $134.5 billion. Freddie, meanwhile, has paid $91 billion after taking $71.3 billion.
Yet researchers for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York had this to say in a report released this week: “Should these figures be interpreted to mean that the Treasury, and therefore taxpayers, have been ‘repaid’ by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that the two firms should now pay dividends to their regular shareholders again? The answer is no.”