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Standard English Translation- That’s What I Call A Racket

For the benefit of everybody who hated Now Dat’s What I Call a Racket, which is probably everyone not from Philly, Jersey, NYC or Lawn Giland, here’s a translation in something approximating standard English. Mea culpa!

Total MBS on the Fed’s balance sheet fell by $15.2 billion last week; bringing the drop to $29 billion over the past 3 weeks. Between July 14, when the first paydowns hit, and November 3, MBS paydowns totaled $111 billion, equivalent to a monthly rate of $24.6 billion. The pattern of prepayments has been uneven, with none some weeks, and big chunks in others. With higher mortgage rates in recent weeks, the prepayments should soon slow dramatically as refi volume shrivels.

While all of these better quality loans were getting paid off from the balance sheet of the Fed, where do you think dose refi’d loans were going? Answer- to the banksters. We know the loans are better quality because the borrowers could refi them ’em. That meant that they had plenty of equity, there was a good spread for the lender, and the borrowers had more than adequate income and credit ratings. These were loans that were unlikely to default.

The loans that cannot be refinanced, that is, those of lower quality stay on the Fed’s balance sheet and become a proportionally bigger piece of the Fed’s assets. The Fed tries to rectify that problem by buying “high quality” Treasury paper. Hence we get QE2, aka monetization, in spite of Burntwankie’s painful denials last night on 60 Minutes. The more Ben lied, the more his facial twitch acted up. But that’s another story.

As the QE2 cash reaches the banks, via Primary Dealer checking accounts the banks have taken the opportunity to lend it out by originating mortgages with these good borrowers. They then package the new loans and sell them to Fannie, Freddie, and the FHLB, otherwise known as the Flub. The banks then use the cash from selling the loans to Fannie, Freddie, or Flub, and they buy the new Fannie and Freddie MBS, which Fannie, Freddie and the Flub just made from the good loans which the bank just bankrolled with Liar Ben’s freshly electronically created (but not printed) cash. So the banks now get the loans back in their portfolios, except that now they come with a government guarantee, courtesy of the fact that Fannie, Freddie, and the Flub are government agencies, and actually government owned. The banks almost instantly went from at risk lender, to a holder of government guaranteed paper on the very same loans they just made.

Thus the circle is jerked. The banks made good loans with money from the Fed, and with loans pulled off the Fed’s balance sheet, plus they get a government guarantee on top of it. Meanwhile the Fed is left with just poor quality loans. It’s a perfect scam.

You don’t believe me? Take a look at this chart and see for yourself.
That's No Coincidence

Since July 14 through December 1, the Fed has been prepaid on $111 billion of good quality MBS. All of a sudden, in July, the banks started adding Agency MBS like gangbusters. Since the week before July 11 through November 24 the banks have added, oh say, can you see, $111 billion of Agency MBS. I feel so damned patriotic, I could just burst with pride.

At least I can see what drives people to conspiracy theories. I think I’ll join the movement. This is too much. You have a conspiracy theory? Count me in! I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more!

What puts the icing on the cake is that as home values continue to fall, many of these loans will turn from good to bad as well. Loans made in July are already closing in on wiping out the equity in some cases. Bank balance sheets will hardly be better off. Well, they will be, because these loans carry those government guarantees.

So the banksters will be able to collect another few years of massive bonuses as all of the Fed’s scams lead inevitably to systemic degradation and failure. And because of those guarantees that the Federal Government intimates it will stand behind, the taxpayer– you and I, will be on the hook for not only the bad loans already on the Fed’s balance sheet, and the old bad loans on the banks’ balance sheets that haven’t been marked down yet, but these new ones that go bad on the banks’ balance sheets as well.

Now that’s what I call a racket.
This is a translation for the benefit of everyone not from Philly, Jersey, NYC, or Lawn Giland, of an excerpt from the Professional Edition Fed Report posted Sunday afternoon. Stay up to date with the machinations of the Fed, Treasury, and foreign central banks in the US market in the Fed Report in the Professional Edition, Money Liquidity, and Real Estate Package. Try it risk free for 30 days. Don’t miss another day. Get the research and analysis you need to understand these critical forces. Be prepared. Stay ahead of the herd. Click this link and get in RIGHT NOW!


  1. stevieo

    I don’t see all that much difference. We lose whether the Fed or Fannie holds this garbage. Basically, Bernanke did lickety split what the government would’ve dragged its heels over while sitting on its Fannie. Least, that’s how they’ll all paint this thing. The only downside I see is we lose all that nice transparency we get from the Fed. You think Fannie’s gonna publish that $111m? Nadanyur life.

    Anyway, now we know how Ben plans to unwind the garbage off his books.

  2. Lee Adler

    How? All I see is adding garbage. And Fannie does report. Also, it’s $111 Billion with a B. It’s a transfer of better quality assets from the Fed to the banks, leaving the Fed with the dregs. Maybe Uncle Ben will just forgive the debt and let us off the hook. The banks have already gotten their payoff.


  3. stevieo

    Just saying we were gonna get stuck with the garbage one way or the other. Ben’s plan is to sell off the good stuff, and shrink the amount of mortgages until… Well, that’s tomorrow’s problem, and maybe he won’t even be there by then. Give him a break. He can’t think that far ahead. For him, this is almost visionary.

    Are Fannie’s books any better than they were years ago? A few years back someone exposed how there were $25 or 27b in derivatives losses, but they kept lying about it for another year or two, and by then it was a lot worse. I’d rather trust Fed incompetence over Fannie, though I have no idea how that’s being run these days.

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