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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle Suspends Dividend

by Calculated Risk on 1/13/2009 11:10:00 AM

The FHLBs are probably about to become a huge story.

From Bloomberg: Seattle FHLB Likely Short of Capital on Mortgage Debt (hat tip Brian)

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle joined its San Francisco counterpart in suspending dividends and “excess” stock repurchases, after the declining value of mortgage bonds likely led to a regulatory capital shortfall.

The shortfall is being caused by “unrealized market value losses” on home-loan securities without government backing, the Seattle bank cooperative said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today.
The FHLB system has $1.25 trillion of debt, making it the largest U.S. borrower after the federal government.
From Roubini's testimony to Congress on February 26th, 2008:
[T]he widespread use of the FHLB system to provide liquidity – but more clearly bail out insolvent mortgage lenders – has been outright reckless. ... A system that usually provides a lending stock of about $150 billion has forked out loans amounting to over $750 billion in the last year with very little oversight of such staggering lending. The risk that this stealth bailout of many insolvent mortgage lenders will end up costing massive amounts of public money is now rising.