Now that the Treasury has removed any cap on the amount of money taxpayers will shovel down the Fannie and Freddie rat holes, the companies have stopped making any bones about the business they’re in.
And what business is that?
The “foreclosure-prevention” business.
(a.k.a., modify mortgages so homeowners can stay in houses they should never have bought and keep buying mortgages so mortgage rates will stay low and prop up house prices).
It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
When Charles E. Haldeman Jr. became Freddie Mac‘s chief executive officer in August, the ailing housing-finance giant had already consumed $51 billion of government money to stay afloat. It’s likely to need even more.
Freddie’s federal overseers nevertheless have instructed Mr. Haldeman to focus on something that isn’t likely to make the bleak balance sheet look any better: carrying out the Obama administration plan to allow defaulted borrowers to hang onto their homes.
On a recent afternoon, employees at Freddie’s headquarters here peppered Mr. Haldeman with concerns about the company’s future. He responded that they were “fortunate” to have such a clear mission—the government’s foreclosure-prevention drive. “We’re doing what’s best for the country,” he told them.