Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby questions...

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby questions proposed overhaul of financial regulations

There are 29 comments on the The Mobile Register Online story from May 8, 2010, titled Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby questions proposed overhaul of financial regulations. In it, The Mobile Register Online reports that:

The Senate's top Banking Committee Republican says a pending overhaul of financial regulations is flawed because it does not impose controls on giant government-sponsored mortgage finance companies.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Mobile Register Online.

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“i hope we can change this!”

Since: Aug 08


#1 May 8, 2010
oooops! i'm SURE leaving fannie mae and freddie mac out of the proposed "overhaul" was just an oversight by dodd.


i made a funny!

“President DOWNGRADE..Ha Ha Ha!”

Since: Sep 09

Winter Garden, FL

#2 May 8, 2010
The Donkeycrats personal corrupt cash cow has been Freddie & Fannie at our expense. Freddie is $15 Billion underwater. They keep asking for more Bail Outs and Donkeycrats just sign away.
Jim Shorts

Richmond, VA

#3 May 8, 2010
Why is Dodd having anything to do with this? Shouldnt he be brought up on corruption charges?

United States

#4 May 8, 2010
"To big to fail" only applies when Bwarney Frank-Sucker doesn't like the company.
Fannie and Freddie are exempt because they only caused the problem, along with Bwarney.. you know - sue any institution that doesn't give a loan to the unqualified.
Anyone who expects the bozos that caused the problem to fix it is due for a rude awakening.
There is a fix available - In November - Throw the stinking bums out.

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#5 May 8, 2010
Jim Shorts wrote:
Why is Dodd having anything to do with this? Shouldnt he be brought up on corruption charges?
The demoscats stopped the Ethics probes into his corruption.

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#6 May 8, 2010
Obama's corruption with Fannie Mae & Goldman Sachs

Bundled together, by Sept. 28, 2008, the latest figures available, Goldman Sachs members or their families contributed $739,521 to Obama, making the firm number one source of donors to the Obama campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. To be clear--Goldman Sachs did not make any contributions (that's not allowed by federal law)-- the money was from individuals connected to the firm. The CRP analysis is of contributions of $200 and more.

The sum does not include money raised by two major Obama fund-raisers: Bruce Heyman, an executive at the firm and James Johnson, a Goldman Sachs board member and former chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae, the failed mortgage giant in the news because of the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the economic collapse.
Johnson was originally tapped by Obama to lead his vice presidential vetting squad until he quit because of his own controversies.

An April 18, 2007 Bloomberg News article about top campaign bundlers noted that Obama addressed the Goldman's annual partners meeting 2006 in Chicago.

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#7 May 8, 2010
Obama's Fannie and Freddie Amnesia

Taxpayers are on the hook for about $400 billion, partly because Sen. Obama helped to block reform.


It was in 2005 that the GSEs—which had been acquiring increasing numbers of subprime and Alt-A loans for many years in order to meet their HUD-imposed affordable housing requirements—accelerated the purchases that led to their 2008 insolvency.

If legislation along the lines of the Republican Senate committee's bill had been enacted in that year, many if not all the losses that Fannie and Freddie have suffered, and will suffer in the future, might have been avoided.

Why was there no action in the full Senate?

As most Americans know today, it takes 60 votes to cut off debate in the Senate, and the Republicans had only 55. To close debate and proceed to the enactment of the committee-passed bill, the Republicans needed five Democrats to vote with them.

But in a 45 member Democratic caucus that included Barack Obama and the current Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), these votes could not be found.

Recently, President Obama has taken to accusing others of representing "special interests." In an April radio address he stated that his financial regulatory proposals were struggling in the Senate because "the financial industry and its powerful lobby have opposed modest safeguards against the kinds of reckless risks and bad practices that led to this very crisis."

He should know. As a senator, he was the third largest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, behind only Sens. Chris Dodd and John Kerry.

With hypocrisy like this at the top, is it any wonder that nearly 80% of Americans, according to new Pew polling, don't trust the federal government or its ability to solve the country's problems?

Obama = Maggot

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#8 May 8, 2010
Greenspan Says U.S. Should Consider Breaking Up Large Banks

By Michael McKee and Scott Lanman
Oct. 15 (Bloomberg)

U.S. regulators should consider breaking up large financial institutions considered “too big to fail,” former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said.

Those banks have an implicit subsidy allowing them to borrow at lower cost because lenders believe the government will always step in to guarantee their obligations. That squeezes out competition and creates a danger to the financial system, Greenspan told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“If they’re too big to fail, they’re too big,” Greenspan said today.“In 1911 we broke up Standard Oil -- so what happened? The individual parts became more valuable than the whole. Maybe that’s what we need to do.”

At one point, no bank was considered too big to fail, Greenspan said. That changed after the Treasury Department under then-Secretary Hank Paulson effectively nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Treasury and Fed bailed out Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc.

“It’s going to be very difficult to repair their credibility on that because when push came to shove, they didn’t stand up,” Greenspan said.

Fed officials have suggested imposing a tax or requiring higher capital ratios on larger banks to ensure the firms’ safety and reduce some of the competitive advantage from the implied subsidy. Greenspan said that won’t work.

“I don’t think merely raising the fees or capital on large institutions or taxing them is enough,” Greenspan said.“I think they’ll absorb that, they’ll work with that, and it’s totally inefficient and they’ll still be using the savings.”

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#9 May 8, 2010
Hey, Congress, Fix This Now!

By Matt Koppenheffer
April 20, 2010

I've been pretty darn negative lately when it comes to financial reform. I've knocked the Dodd bill, criticized Krugman, and dismissed Geithner.

I just want our government to put forth a comprehensive set of reforms that will actually help defuse the volatile financial system.

So what does that look like?

1. Too big to fail

(Break them up into smaller, manageable pieces.)

2. Regulate shadow banking

(Regulate the off-the-grid financial market)

3. Make banking boring

(Limit activity to taking deposits and making loans.)

4. Crack down on derivatives

(Putting derivatives on open exchanges is a huge step in the right direction. Another big issue -- particularly if we want to avoid another AIG disaster -- is to standardize and enforce the reserves that derivatives issuers hold to cushion against losses.)

5. Eliminate stupid lending

(f you need 100% financing to buy a house, you probably shouldn't be buying a house. If you need a "teaser" interest rate to be able to afford your mortgage payment, you probably shouldn't be buying a house. And this includes the government's ill-conceived low-down-payment lending programs.)

6. Discard Fannie and Freddie

(While we're slapping at the government's overreaching hand, let's go ahead and put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of their misery. Unfortunately, this can't happen particularly quickly because of their size and entrenchment in the system, but setting a timetable of a decade or so to defuse these financial nukes seems like it would be a big positive.)

7. Reform the ratings agencies

(Ratings agencies' businesses need to be realigned so that they are no longer paid by the companies that issue the bonds they are rating.)

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#10 May 8, 2010
Obama & Democrats Institutionalizing Too Big to Fail

By Peter J. Wallison
April 15, 2010,

One thing can be said about the current debate over the administration’s financial regulation plan, or at least Senator Chris Dodd’s version: the debate has sharpened the issues so that Dodd, the Democrats, and the administration can no longer hide behind slogans.

If the administration thought that the bill could be passed simply because the American people resent Wall Street and the big banks, they may have guessed wrong. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called them on this, and pointed out that the Dodd bill has some troubling provisions.

This required Dodd, in a speech yesterday, to defend the provisions of the bill. The fact that he did it with misinformation is really a step forward, considering where the administration and he have been for the last few weeks.

Does the bill, as McConnell said,“institutionalize too big to fail?” Of course. YES.

The bill authorizes the Fed to regulate all non-bank financial institutions that are “systemically important” or might cause instability in the U.S. financial system if they failed. These words mean something—that the companies designated for Fed regulation are too big to fail.

It’s so obvious that it should not have to be repeated, but it seems that Dodd and the administration believe that as long as they don’t actually say these companies are too big to fail no one will notice.

That is ridiculous. The market will see immediately that the government has created Fannie Maes and Freddie Macs in every sector of the financial system where these large companies are designated for Fed regulation, including insurance companies, hedge funds, finance companies, bank holding companies, securities firms, and any other kind of financial institution the government wants to regulate.

Since these firms will be too big to fail, they will be seen in the market—as Fannie and Freddie were seen—as ultimately backed by the government and thus safer firms to lend to than small firms that are not government backed. This will permanently distort the financial market, favoring large companies over small ones, and eventually force a consolidation of each market where these firms exist into a few large competitors operating under the benign supervision of the government.

Does the bill, as McConnell has said, provide for permanent bailouts? YES.

The administration and the Democrats, especially Dodd, seem wounded by this suggestion.

To them it seems obvious that this can’t be true. Why, they protest, the bill says that these firms have to be wound down, not bailed out. But why then is there a $50 billion fund set up to assist this wind down?

In his statement yesterday on the Senate floor, in which he said the opposition had used “falsehoods” to oppose his bill, Dodd said:“And middle class families on Main Street won’t have to pay a penny: the largest Wall Street firms will have to put up money for a $50 billion fund to cover the costs of liquidating the failed financial firm.” The costs of liquidating the failed financial firm? What might those costs be?

The answer is that the $50 billion will be used to pay off the creditors, so that the market’s fear of a general collapse will be allayed.

Remember, the theory under which the administration and Dodd are operating is that the failure of one of these large companies will cause a systemic breakdown or instability in the economy. The way to avoid that is to assure the market—in other words the creditors—that they will be paid.

Otherwise, they will run from the failing company, and every other company similarly situated. That act—paying off the creditors when the government takes over a failing firm — is a bailout...

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#11 May 8, 2010
Wall Street cashes out investment in Chris Dodd

By: Chris Stirewalt
April 19, 2010

If Chris Dodd hadn't been so cozy with the financial industry, he wouldn't have been hounded out of the Senate.

But if he weren't retiring, he wouldn't have a free hand to write the legislation to change the way the financial industry is regulated.

The financial industry built Dodd's career, so why shouldn't it profit from the demise of it? It's like a political credit-default swap.

It's a perfect fit for the Goldman Sachs era on Wall Street: No matter who loses, they win.

The biggest investor in his 2008 presidential campaign was Connecticut-based hedge fund SAC Capital ($248,200). But the management teams at all of the big financial houses came across for Dodd's bid.

Employees of Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Goldman and American International Group were all high on his donor list.

Worse for Dodd, his vanity candidacy tipped off Connecticut voters that something was amiss with their senior senator.

Dodd was elected to the House in 1974, just four years after his father had been driven from the Senate by a campaign finance scandal.

In June 2008 Dodd proposed an aid package for subprime lenders, including Countrywide Financial.

As Dodd was pushing the bailout, reporter Daniel Golden of Portfolio magazine discovered that the banking committee chairman had saved about $75,000 on two loans because of preferential treatment he received from Countrywide's then-chief executive officer, Angelo Mozilo.

As the mortgage market continued to melt down, Dodd was scrambling to protect his biggest political benefactors -- mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Dodd had for years pushed rules to allow Fannie and Freddie to operate like private companies when it came to profits and like public companies when it came to losses.

It made him very popular in Washington.

Fannie and Freddie provided safe harbors for politicians between gigs -- like the $320,000 Rahm Emanuel pocketed for a no-show seat on Freddie's board. But more importantly, the firms funded campaigns.

Dodd was the top recipient of Fannie and Freddie funds ($165,400 through 2008), but the two government-sponsored entities, as they are benignly called, shrewdly spread the wealth around, including $120,349 in donations to the church plate of then-Sen. Barack Obama.

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#12 May 8, 2010
Jim Shorts wrote:
Why is Dodd having anything to do with this? Shouldnt he be brought up on corruption charges?
Congress Pushed Fed in Housing Bubble

In his testimony, an unflinching Alan Greenspan, the former fed chief, fended off a barrage of questions about the Fed’s failure to crack down on subprime mortgages and other abusive lending practices during his lengthy tenure.

He pointed out that the Fed had warned about subprime lending and low-down-payment mortgages in 1999, and again in 2001. And he argued that if the Fed had tried to damp the housing market amid a “fairly broad consensus” about encouraging homeownership,“the Congress would have clamped down on us.”

He added:“There is a lot of amnesia that’s emerging, apparently.”

Congress writes the rules for the Fed. Congress Not only encouraged the Housing Bubble but put Tax Payer Dollars at risk by telling Freddie and Fannie they had Tax payer funds to take if something went wrong.


“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#13 May 8, 2010
How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis:

Kevin Hassett

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg)-- The financial crisis of the past year has provided a number of surprising twists and turns, and from Bear Stearns Cos. to American International Group Inc., ambiguity has been a big part of the story.

Why did Bear Stearns fail, and how does that relate to AIG? It all seems so complex.

But really, it isn't. Enough cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear. The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.

Fannie and Freddie did this by becoming a key enabler of the mortgage crisis. They fueled Wall Street's efforts to securitize subprime loans by becoming the primary customer of all AAA-rated subprime-mortgage pools. In addition, they held an enormous portfolio of mortgages themselves.

In the times that Fannie and Freddie couldn't make the market, they became the market. Over the years, it added up to an enormous obligation. As of last June, Fannie alone owned or guaranteed more than $388 billion in high-risk mortgage investments. Their large presence created an environment within which even mortgage-backed securities assembled by others could find a ready home.

The problem was that the trillions of dollars in play were only low-risk investments if real estate prices continued to rise. Once they began to fall, the entire house of cards came down with them.

Turning Point

Take away Fannie and Freddie, or regulate them more wisely, and it's hard to imagine how these highly liquid markets would ever have emerged. This whole mess would never have happened.

In 2005, for the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

Different World

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different.

But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason:

Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue.

Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time:``It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit.

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#14 May 8, 2010
The Next Fannie Mae BAIL OUT

Ginnie Mae and FHA are becoming $1 trillion subprime guarantors with Staggering Debt to Capital Ratio of 33/1!


Much to their dismay, Americans learned last year that they “owned” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Well, meet their cousin, Ginnie Mae or the Government National Mortgage Association, which will soon join them as a trillion-dollar packager of subprime mortgages. Taxpayers own Ginnie too.

Only last week, Ginnie announced that it issued a monthly record of $43 billion in mortgage-backed securities in June. Ginnie Mae President Joseph Murin sounded almost giddy as he cheered this “phenomenal growth.” Ginnie Mae’s mortgage exposure is expected to top $1 trillion by the end of next year—or far more than double the dollar amount of 2007.(See the nearby table.) Earlier this summer, Reuters quoted Anthony Medici of the Housing Department’s Inspector General’s office as saying,“Who would have predicted that Ginnie Mae and Fannie Mae would have swapped positions” in loan volume?

Ginnie’s mission is to bundle, guarantee and then sell mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, which is Uncle Sam’s home mortgage shop. Ginnie’s growth is a by-product of the FHA’s spectacular growth. The FHA now insures $560 billion of mortgages—quadruple the amount in 2006. Among the FHA, Ginnie, Fannie and Freddie, nearly nine of every 10 new mortgages in America now carry a federal taxpayer guarantee.

Herein lies the problem:

The FHA’s standard insurance program today is notoriously lax. It backs low downpayment loans, to buyers who often have below-average to poor credit ratings, and with almost no oversight to protect against fraud.

Sound familiar?

This is called subprime lending—the same financial roulette that busted Fannie, Freddie and large mortgage houses like Countrywide Financial.

On June 18, HUD’s Inspector General issued a scathing report on the FHA’s lax insurance practices. It found that the FHA’s default rate has grown to 7%, which is about double the level considered safe and sound for lenders, and that 13% of these loans are delinquent by more than 30 days.

The FHA’s reserve fund was found to have fallen in half, to 3% from 6.4% in 2007—meaning it now has a 33 to 1 leverage ratio, which is into Bear Stearns territory.

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#15 May 8, 2010
Obama admin: A Lobbyist Haven

Sally Katzen, another member of the supervisory group who is also on teams for the office of the president and government operations, was registered last year to lobby for the pharmaceutical company Amgen on Medicare reimbursements.

Louisa Terrell, another member of the top working group, is on leave from the public policy office of the Internet company Yahoo! Tom Wheeler, another of the 12, is on leave from a firm that invests in technology companies and before 2004 lobbied for the cable television and wireless industries.

John L. White, a former Clinton official charged with overseeing the new Defense Department, is a partner in a firm that invests in defense contractors. Michael Warren, charged with overseeing Treasury, is chief operating officer of a firm that lobbies for clients including the U.S.-India Business Council.

Several of the officials have ties to Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage firm whose implosion this fall contributed to the financial meltdown. Thomas Donilon, overseeing the State Department, is a partner in the law and lobbying firm O’Melveny and Myers who until three years ago lobbied for Fannie Mae. Wendy R. Sherman, the other official charged with reviewing the State Department, once headed Fannie Mae’s charitable foundation.

Even Mr. Lu, the transition’s executive director charged with policing potential conflicts of interests, may have his own appearance problems. His wife, Kathryn Thomson, is a lawyer who represents corporate clients dealing with federal environmental regulations, while his older brother, Curtis Lu, is a top lawyer for Fannie Mae.(Such family connections may not be disqualifying conflicts depending on the nature of the transition job, ethics lawyers said.)

Even Obama's Chief of Staff worked at Fannie during the corrupt years leading up to the implosion and Bail Out.

Face it, Obama is a Lying crook.

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#16 May 8, 2010
Jim Shorts wrote:
Why is Dodd having anything to do with this? Shouldnt he be brought up on corruption charges?
Dodd Called The President's Suggestions For Regulations "Inane" And Recommended The President "Immediately Reconsider His Ill-Advised" Proposals.

"As recently as last summer, when housing prices had clearly peaked and the mortgage market had started to seize up, Dodd called on Bush to 'immediately reconsider his ill-advised' reform proposals. Frank, now chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said that the president's suggestion for a strong, independent regulator of Fannie and Freddie was 'inane.'"

(Al Hubbard and Noam Neusner, Op-Ed, "Where Was Sen. Dodd?" The Washington Post, 9/12/08)

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#17 May 8, 2010
Dodd Called On The Regulator For Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac To Lift Portfolio Caps.

"Both Schumer and Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, have called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's regulator to lift the portfolio caps. They argue that allowing the two firms to buy more mortgages, at least temporarily, would inject much needed liquidity into the market and calm the financial markets."

(Michael R. Crittenden, "Schumer Will Seek To Lift Cap On Mortgage Portfolios Of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac," Congressional Quarterly Today, 8/16/07)

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#19 May 8, 2010
In 2005, Sen. Schumer Said "Fannie And Freddie Over The Years Have Done A[n] Incredibly Good Job" And "Have Filled In Gaps That The Market Wouldn't Touch."

Schumer: "I'd like to make a couple of points here. First, I think Fannie and Freddie over the years have done a [sic] incredibly good job and are an intrinsic part of making America the best-housed people in the world.

I think they have filled in gaps that the market wouldn't touch. I think they have made the secondary market flow smoothly and well. And overall, I think, if you look over the last 20 or whatever years, they've done a very, very good job."

(Sen. Chuck Schumer, Subcommittee On Banking, U.S. Senate, He aring, 4/6/05)

• Schumer: "The bottom line is very simple: We have a great housing market here. Fannie and Freddie are intrinsically wrapped up in that market, and you've got to be careful before you do too much dramatic change."

(Sen. Chuck Schumer, Subcommittee On Banking, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 4/6/05)

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#20 May 8, 2010
(D) Bawney Fwank was screwing a fannie exec sexually while the exec was screwing us financially 10 years ago!

The exec was listed as Bawney's (gay) "spouse"!

He helped push through fannie friendly legislation and has continually blocked ALL Regulatory legislation since then.

“Truth to Power!”

Since: Apr 07

Winter Garden, FL

#18 May 8, 2010
Since 1989, Dodd Has Received At Least $165,400 From Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac:$48,500 From PACs And $116,900 From Individuals, Receiving More Than Any Other Politician.

(Lindsay Renick Mayer, "Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Invest In Lawmakers," Center For Responsive Politics' "Capital Eye" Blog, , 9/11/08)

Obama Ally Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Has Been A "Leading Voice For [Financial] Deregulation," And Led Efforts To Block Reform Of Fannie And Freddie:

Until The Current Financial Crisis, Sen. Schumer "Had Been A Leading Voice For Deregulation," And Opposed Reducing Taxpayer Risks Associated With Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac.

"Until the current credit crisis, Mr. Schumer had been a leading voice for deregulation: He has championed the repeal of a Great Depression-era law that prohibited commercial banks from underwriting securities; he has written an opinion piece calling for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to be 're-examined,' and he has opposed a bill that sought to reduce taxpayer risk in the event of a housing market slowdown by requiring Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to sell their entire investment portfolios of about $1.5 trillion worth of mortgage assets."

(Joseph Goldstein, "Pro-Deregula tion Schumer Scores Bush For Lack of Regulation," The New York Sun, 9/22/08)

Despite Reports Of Fraudulent Accounting, Schumer Opposed Creating A Strong Regulator For Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac In 2004.

"Even after Freddie Mac was shown to have manipulated earnings, Congress remained deadlocked over legislation to create a stronger regulator. Opposing one such bill in 2004, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) argued that a hostile regulator could use the proposed powers to choke the companies."

(David S. Hilzenrath, "Fannie, Freddie Deflected Risk Warnings," The Washington Post, 7/14/08)

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