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Regulators probing Fannie Mae's trusts

April 5, 2005

Real estate lending giant's trusts under scrutiny

Inman News

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is investigating whether Fannie Mae has properly accounted for the trusts it has established to issue mortgage-backed securities.

A spokeswoman for OFHEO confirmed that the regulatory agency, which oversees Fannie Mae, is looking at the accounting for the mortgage-backed securities trusts and still trying to quantify the potential problem.

The results of the inquiry could affect the amount of capital the mortgage giant must raise to meet federal mortgage regulatory requirements, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal's online edition.

Fannie Mae is the guarantor for about $1.4 trillion of mortgage-backed securities held by other investors, The Journal said. Fannie draws a fee for guaranteeing those payments will be made, The Journal said. A Fannie Mae spokeswoman would not comment on the subject.

The SEC in December ordered Fannie Mae to restate earnings back to 2001, a correction estimated at $9 billion. Last month, the OFHEO informed Fannie Mae's board of additional accounting problems.

That same month, Fannie Mae replaced Franklin Raines, its chairman and CEO, who announced he was taking early retirement, and Fannie Mae's chief financial officer, Timothy Howard, resigned Dec. 21.

Copyright 2005 Inman News

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