Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need more money. And lots of it. Yesterday, Fannie Mae asked the government for $8.4 billion after the company experienced first-quarter losses of $13.1 billion.
Freddie Mac requested $10.6 billion in government funds to counteract its $8 billion in losses last week.
Well, at least Fannie and Freddie are consistent. In total, the two government-chartered mortgage finance companies have requested more than $145 billion in government aid since being taken over by the U.S. Treasury in 2008. The hefty sum represents the most money handed out as part of a government-issued bailout.
Worse than that accomplishment, the buck isn’t going to stop at $145 billion, according to Fannie Mae, who said so themselves, and the U.S. government, who pledged in December to backstop all losses for both firms through 2012.
What keeps taxpayers from demanding the deaths of the two mortgage companies, despite their marked involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis, is that Fannie and Freddie were largely viewed as government-owned entities prior to the 2008 conservatorship. (And the government giving money to the government is perhaps more forgivable than the government giving money to, say, AIG.)