The U.S. Treasury said today that there should be no uncertainty about its commitment to the GSEs and said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to play a vital role in the housing market in the current crisis.
The statement goes against an earlier comment House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said.
According to a Bloomberg report, Frank stated that bondholders should not assume the government will guarantee their investments as Congress retools the companies.
“Please don’t think this is federally guaranteed, I don’t think it is, I don’t think it should be, I don’t feel any obligation to bail you out,” Bloomberg quoted Frank as telling reporters after speaking to a conference of black, Hispanic and Asian realtors in Washington today. Congress will “certainly not” extend, Frank said, any new protections to bond and MBS investors beyond what exists.
He added that a range of options is currently being considered for GSE investors, “from paying nothing to a haircut to whatever,” Frank said.
“Not sure what the fallout will be from what Barney floated out there today but clearly the market doesn’t seem to be reacting at all to this news,” said Jesse Litvak, a mortgage trader at Jefferies. “I guess that goes to show you how much credence Mr. Frank carries out there.”