Fannie Mae's New CEO: ‘Comfortable’ With Decision Not to Slash Mortgage Balances

by 08 Aug 2012
[caption id="attachment_10488" align="alignleft" width="289"]Tim Mayopoulos Tim Mayopoulos[/caption]

(CNBC) -- Fannie Mae is no longer bleeding cash, at least for now.

After devastating losses since 2008, the mortgage giant reported its second straight quarter of positive net income, even after making a $2.9 billion dividend payment to the U.S. Treasury. Fannie Mae has taken $117.1 billion from the Treasury since the fall of 2008.

Improving home prices and decreasing mortgage delinquencies have helped to boost the bottom line, but Fannie Mae's CEO Tim Mayopoulos, who took the reigns of the company earlier this summer, says he's not convinced housing is out of the woods yet.

"I think it's too early to declare a national housing recovery," "What's driving our results has been home price improvements. We are not expecting to see huge improvements going forward."

Fannie Mae reported net income of $5.1 billion in the second quarter of this year, up from $2.7 billion in the first quarter. Foreclosures, however, still weigh heavily on the balance sheet, despite the far higher quality of loans in the new book of business since 2009. 59 percent of Fannie Mae's single-family guaranty book of business as of the end of the second quarter consisted of loans it had purchased or guaranteed since the beginning of 2009.

Expectations of an improving housing market prompted Fannie Mae to reduce its future loan loss reserves to $68 billion from nearly $77 billion in the first quarter. The company notes in its report that it believes credit-related expenses will be lower in 2012 than in 2011. Mayopoulos, again, seems to hedge that somewhat.

"We are very excited about the new book of business we've been writing since the beginning of the crisis. We believe that we could be profitably going forward but it doesn't mean we will necessarily make enough every quarter to be able to cover the entire dividend payment to the Treasury," said Mayopoulos, who added that he is very comfortable with where Fannie Mae's underwriting standards are now, despite criticism from housing industry players who claim credit is too tight.


Should CFPB have more supervision over credit agencies?