Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Voluntary Sales and the City

(with apologies to Carrie and the girls...)

The city of Richmond, CA is making residents a voluntary offer they can't refuse.


[A northern California city, Richmond] recently sent notice to the holders of more than 620 so-called underwater home mortgages in the city, asking them to sell the loans to the city. 

It would buy the mortgages for 80 percent of the fair value of the homes, write them down and help the homeowners refinance their loans. "Our sense is that those so-called voluntarily loan sales would not be very voluntary," said Freddie Mac's general counsel William McDavid in a conference call with reporters to discuss the company's second-quarter financial results. "They're loan sales under pressure - in fact, under a threat of seizure by eminent domain. We would consider taking legal action." 

Freddie Mac and its larger sister company, Fannie Mae, are some of the biggest buyers of private home-loan bonds. The two government-backed companies' finances would be affected if the eminent domain plan went forward and wiped out the worth of those bond investments. "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are investors in these securities. This is an issue that we are discussing," said Denise Dunckel, a spokeswoman for the companies' regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Both companies, operating under conservatorship since they were taken over by the government in 2008 during the financial crisis, would need the Federal Housing Finance Agency's permission to take legal action against the city of Richmond and possibly block the eminent domain seizures. 

The FHFA itself has previously raised concerns with an approach like Richmond's. Using eminent domain in this fashion to force banks and other investors to sell mortgages is novel. Historically cities have used the power to force the sale of properties if they obstruct the construction of a project deemed beneficial to the wider community, such as a road or bridge.

Thoughts?  It would appear that there are two big government entities fighting over who gets the boodle.  I'm always surprised when people thing governments are "not for profit."  They are clearly in fact all about profits.  They just don't have stockholders.


1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately government is always for-profit organization and people can’t totally rely on t, when the discussion is made about money and investing. I think that the real estate market is much dependent on the government, so the prices can be changed when it is necessary. Moreover the investments to this area should be done to support people who can live only on financial assistance available here with click to get payday loan in Toronto. In my opinion the solution is not dependent on ordinary people now, however they should control this situation.


Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?