A $16.3 Billion Hole, They Say


Following the sub-prime bubble's collapse, someone had to take over subsidized lending to people with not enough income to pay back their mortgage loans, or so the thinking among the political class seems to have gone.

To be underprivileged in today's society means two things: 1. you most likely enjoy amenities that would have been the envy of every king of 150 years and longer ago, and 2. you can't afford buying a house.

The latter is regarded as a defect in need of rectification, predominantly by the political left, but as some readers may recall, the 'ownership society' was propagated in this context by the right as well.

It was apparently not enough to drive the GSE's Fannie and Freddie into bankruptcy and conservatorship by a combination of reckless monetary policy and equally reckless political mandates regarding the provision of lending to the above mentioned 'underprivileged' class at conditions that can only be called insane.


No, the FHA had to be driven to the wall as well. Well, mission accomplished, as they say. With qualifying borrowers only needing 3.5% down payments, it was clear that the FHA would pick up precisely where a great many now broke subprime lenders left off. Thus 25.82% of its 2007 loans, 24.88% of its 2008 loans and 12.18% of its 2009 loans are now delinquent. The total insured FHA mortgages amount to $1.13 trillion, so there is a big tab coming down the pike for the tax cows.

Not surprisingly, a recent audit found the agency to be short a dollar or two, or more precisely, $16.4 billion (and presumably, counting). It appears in fact as though this number may be an artificially low-balled estimate.



According to press reports:

“The U.S. Federal Housing Administration is facing likely losses that will swamp its capital and fuel a $16.3 billion deficit, but the Obama administration plans to take steps to try to avoid the need for taxpayers to bail out the loan insurer.

An independent audit found a gauge of the agency's capital adequacy had dropped into negative territory, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said on Thursday.

The findings likely mean the agency, which insures about one-third of all U.S. mortgages, will need taxpayer funding for the first time in its 78-year history. They also appear certain to fuel a long-standing debate on the government's role in supporting the housing market.

The audit showed the FHA had exhausted the capital it would need to cover losses on the $1.1 trillion in loans it guarantees. It is legally required to maintain a 2 percent capital ratio, which is a gauge of its ability to withstand losses, but it has not met that target in almost four years.

The audit found that the ratio had dropped to negative 1.44 percent, representing a negative economic value of $16.3 billion, the department said.

"During this critical period in our nation's economic history, FHA has provided access to homeownership for millions of American families while helping bring the housing market back from the brink of collapse," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement.

An audit last year found the FHA, a primary source of funding for first-time home buyers and those with modest incomes, faced a nearly 50 percent chance of needing a bailout. Full details of the latest audit will be released on Friday. The FHA has never needed an infusion of funds from the U.S. Treasury because it has been able to take other actions, including raising insurance premiums, to stay solvent.”


(emphasis added)

Mr HUD secretary seems to be saying: “even if we eventually manage to lose so much money that the tax cows will have to bail us out (because other avenues to plug the holes in the balance sheet turn out to be insufficient), it is 'critical' that we continue to make loans a quarter of which appears to become delinquent in short order”.



The FHA's capital ratio over time (chart via CLSA); at the height of the bubble, it appeared to be in fine fettle. Since then it has become the major subprime lender, with results that are exactly similar to the experience of the previously extant subprime lenders – click for better resolution.



Actually, it's a $32.8 Billion Hole!

It turns out that if one digs a little deeper, the FHA's capital ratio deficit is actually twice as big as currently advertised.

According to the Investors Business Daily:

“Ed Pinto, a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, says the truth is even worse.

"Today's report is already obsolete and outlines a conservative estimate of the true losses incurred by the FHA," he said.

FHA's actuarial study, he notes, assumes 10-year Treasury yields will average 2.2% in Q3 2012, soaring to 4.59% in 2014. It also assumes mortgage rates will double to 6.58% by late 2014.

But a low-rate scenario is more realistic, Pinto claims. The 10-year Treasury yield is 1.58% now. In September the Federal Reserve said it would keep the federal funds rate near 0% likely through mid-2015, suggesting that mortgage rates are unlikely to rise soon.

Deep in the FHA's actuarial analyses, capital reserves would be -$32.8 billion in a low-rate scenario. Low rates would let good borrowers refinance, leaving the FHA with the bad loans.

That's a far cry from last year when the FHA projected its capital reserve would be $11.5 billion.

The FHA has vastly expanded its exposure to mortgages in recent years, picking up the slack — and risk — from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The FHA says it will take various steps to improve its finances, such as an uptick in insurance premiums. But it largely blames its capital woes on loans "insured prior to 2010." Over 30% of loans in much of 2008 and 2009 had FICO scores below 640. That's fallen to less than 10% in the most recent quarter.

The FHA claims that the loans "endorsed since 2010 continue to exhibit very strong performance" and the quality of those loans "is the best in FHA's history." But Pinto says that FHA is still making a lot of risky loans, many with with subprime attributes such as FICO scores below 660 and debt-ratios of 50% or more."

FHA data that IBD received bear that out. Of the 900,000 fully underwritten loans FHA insured in fiscal 2012, 39% had FICO scores below 660 and/or a debt ratio of at least 50%.

There are other trouble signs. The FHA paid out on 143,000 claims in fiscal 2012, much higher than the 118,500 it had predicted and above the roughly 118,100 paid in FY 2011.

FHA's delinquency rate has risen as well, going from 16.6% in September 2011 to 17.3% a year later. Some 1.3 million of its nearly 7.7 million outstanding loans are behind on payments.”


(emphasis added)

So in reality it's a $32.8 billion deficit and counting. Note also that the above strongly indicates that the FHA's own forecasts are worth exactly nothing, or perhaps about as much as Ben Bernanke's assessment of the soundness of the housing bubble between 2003 to 2007.  OK, we might as well stick with 'nothing'.



Emigrate While You Can... Learn More



Dear Readers!

It is that time of the year again – our semi-annual funding drive begins today. Give us a little hand in offsetting the costs of running this blog, as advertising revenue alone is insufficient. You can help us reach our modest funding goal by donating either via paypal or bitcoin. Those of you who have made a ton of money based on some of the things we have said in these pages (we actually made a few good calls lately!), please feel free to up your donations accordingly (we are sorry if you have followed one of our bad calls. This is of course your own fault). Other than that, we can only repeat that donations to this site are apt to secure many benefits. These range from sound sleep, to children including you in their songs, to the potential of obtaining privileges in the afterlife (the latter cannot be guaranteed, but it seems highly likely). As always, we are greatly honored by your readership and hope that our special mixture of entertainment and education is adding a little value to your life!


Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke


Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • 5-cotmmrangegc03Ganging Up on Gold
      So Far a Normal Correction In last week's update on the gold sector, we mentioned that there was a lot of negative sentiment detectable on an anecdotal basis. From a positioning perspective only the commitments of traders still appeared a bit stretched though, while from a technical perspective we felt that a pullback to the 200-day moving average in both gold and gold stocks shouldn't be regarded as anything but a normal - and in this case actually long overdue -...
  • gold_bullionGold Sector Correction – Where Do Things Stand?
      Sentiment and Positioning When we last discussed the gold sector correction (which had only just begun at the time), we mentioned we would update sentiment and positioning data on occasion. For a while, not much changed in these indicators, but as one would expect, last week's sharp sell-off did in fact move the needle a bit.   Gold - just as nice to look at as it always is, but slightly cheaper since last week. Photo via The Times Of India   The commitments of...
  • wryAustralian property bubble on a scale like no other
      Australian property bubble on a scale like no other Yesterday Citi produced a new index which pinned the Australian property bubble at 16 year highs:   Bubble trouble. Whether we label them bubbles, the Australian economy has experienced a series of developments that potentially could have the economy lurching from boom to bust and back. In recent years these have included:    the record run up in commodity prices and subsequent correction;  the associated...
  • andy-duncan-and-claudio-grassA Looming Banking Crisis – Is a Perfect Storm About to Hit?
      Andy Duncan Interviews Claudio Grass Andy Duncan of FinLingo.com has interviewed our friend Claudio Grass, managing director of Global Gold in Switzerland. Below is a transcript excerpting the main parts of the first section of the interview on the problems in the European banking system and what measures might be taken if push were to come to shove.   Andy Duncan of FinLingo.com (left) and Claudio Grass of Global Gold (right)   Andy Duncan: How do you see the...
  • urban_ii_croppedPope Francis: Traitor to Western Civilization
      Disqualified There has been no greater advocate of mass Muslim migration into Europe than the purported head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.  At a recent conference, he urged that “asylum seekers” be accepted, “through the acts of mercy that promote their integration into the European context and beyond.”*   Before we let Antonius continue with his refreshingly politically incorrect disquisition, we want to remind readers of two previous articles that have...
  • "What if we don't change at all ... and something magical just happens?"Prepare for the Unthinkable
      Red Ink Growth and profits mask a variety of problems.  They hide business inefficiencies and the money suck of corporate adminis-trivia.  They also conceal unproductive staff.   The final career leap   But most of all growth and profits obscure the extreme value subtracting forces of bloated management teams.  During good times it is unclear what these smug fellows do.  During bad times it is lucidly clear that most of them ain’t worth a darn. When the...
  • spankinggoodtimeUS Stock Market - a Spanking May be on its Way
      Iffy Looking Charts The stock market has held up quite well this year in the face of numerous developments that are usually regarded as negative (from declining earnings, to the Brexit, to a US presidential election that leaves a lot to be desired, to put it mildly). Of course, the market is never driven by the news – it is exactly the other way around. It is the market that actually writes the news. It may finally be time for a spanking though.   Time for some old-fashioned...
  • fischersDoomed to Failure
      Larded Up and Larded Over We’ve been waiting for the U.S. economy to reach escape velocity for the last six years.  What we mean is we’ve been waiting for the economy to finally become self-stimulating and no longer require monetary or fiscal stimulus to keep it from stalling out.  Unfortunately, this may not be possible the way things are going.   As Milton Jones once revealed: “A month before he died, my grandfather covered his back in lard. After that, he went...
  • larry-1Meet Your New Stimulus Allocation Czar
      March Towards Midnight The march towards midnight is both stirring and foreboding.  Like a death row inmate sitting down to savor his last meal, a grim excitement greets the reality of impending doom.  Thoughts of imminent mortality haunt each bite.   Tic-toc, tic-toc...   As far as the economy’s concerned, there’s no stopping its march towards midnight.  The witching hour’s rapidly approaching.  We intend to savor each moment and make the best of...
  • state_police_980_600_s_c1_t_c_0_0_1Are the Deep State’s Drones Coming for You?
      What’s Aleppo?   Look out kid Don’t matter what you did Walk on your tip toes Don’t try "No Doz" Better stay away from those That carry around a fire hose Keep a clean nose Watch the plain clothes You don’t need a weather man To know which way the wind blows – “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Bob Dylan   The entrance to Baghdad's “Green Zone”. Photo credit: Karim Kadim / AP   DELRAY BEACH, Florida – Biggest foreign policy blunder...
  • speculatorInterview with Doug Casey
      Natalie Vein of BFI speaks with Doug Casey   Our friend Natalie Vein recently had the opportunity to conduct an extensive interview with Doug Casey for BFI, the  parent company of Global Gold. Based on his decades-long experience in investing and his many travels, he shares his views on the state of the world economy, his outlook on critical political developments in the US and in Europe, as well as his investment insights and his approach to gold, as part of a viable strategy for...
  • where-to-goThe Bamboozled Middle Class
      Gassy and Bloated BALTIMORE – What a great time for an observer with a sense of mischief! This year’s presidential campaign is the most absurd and remarkable we have ever witnessed. After more than two centuries, Americans are finally getting the democracy they deserve – one that is grotesque... slimy... and immensely entertaining, albeit in the mud-wrasslin’ genre.   The mud-wrestlers – well, we did promise you in these pages it would be entertaining like never...

Austrian Theory and Investment

Support Acting Man

Own physical gold and silver outside a bank




Realtime Charts


Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]



Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]



Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]



Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]



USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]


THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Buy Silver Now!
Buy Gold Now!