Monday, November 9, 2009

Treasury Blocks the Sale of Tax Credits by Fannie (BRK.A; FNM; GS)

Climateer Investing IS NOT intended to be the all-Berkshire news channel.
It's just that the company is so reflective of the overall economy and with the huge utility subsidiary and the insurance and re-insurance operations is such a microcosm of the policy debates on climate change that regular readers end up seeing Berkshire's stock symbol in the headline more than any other company.

At one time BRK was one of the the largest shareholders in Fannie's little bro Freddie Mac and 80% owned Wesco Financial had almost half its portfolio invested in FRE.
From the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. Treasury blocked Fannie Mae's proposed sale of nearly $3 billion in low-income housing tax credits to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. on Friday after concluding that the deal was too costly for taxpayers.

The extraordinary move was the latest sign of tensions within the Obama administration over how to balance political and financial pressures resulting from the housing crisis.

Fannie Mae had agreed to sell roughly half of its $5.2 billion tax-credit portfolio and had received approval to proceed with the sale from its federal regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Those credits are virtually worthless to Fannie because the company doesn't have any taxable income to offset, and it is forced to write down the value of those credits every quarter as their value declines.

But Treasury Department officials blocked the deal after concluding that it would have resulted in a loss of tax revenues greater than the savings to the federal government had it allowed the sale. "In short, withholding approval of the proposed sale affords more protection of the taxpayers than does providing approval," an administration official said in a statement....MORE