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Paul Kiesel
Paul Kiesel
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Need Money for a $6,000 Golf Outing? Just Ask the Government and Say You're Fannie Mae…

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…And then tell them that it’s in order to keep you from going insolvent and to keep your business doors open.

That was basically the ridiculous acknowledgment made by Fannie Mae on Tuesday (interesting that they would acknowledge this on a day when everyone’s attention was turned to the election, maybe hoping nobody would read about it…?), after a Dallas-Fort Worth-area television station KTVT reported on Monday that Fannie spent more than $6,000 on a golf outing after being seized by the government earlier this year. Of course, the now government owned Fannie went on to say that any similar company-sponsored events will be suspended immediately, but one has to think how much money would have been spent on vacation retreats, casino engagements, and other taxpayer-financed fun events.

The September 29 "outing" was attended by 20 golfers, including several company executives, at a Texas golf course. Fannie did not try disputing the report, but tried to excuse itself by describing the event as a "mortgage industry customer meeting," which, according to the company, is held twice annually.

"We do regret that the activities surrounding the customer meetings in Dallas may be perceived as excessive," company spokesman Brian Firth said in an e-mail message. "We have ceased all similar activities as those associated with this event, and we regret having not done so in this case."

$6,000 doesn’t seem like that much money compared to the billions that Fannie Mae has needed from the government in order to keep operating as a mortgage company, servicer, etc., however, for someone struggling with a mortgage payment or student loan bills or medical bills, $6,000 could make or break a person’s current financial situation, and I think this is another slap in the face to taxpayers, troubled homeowners, and everyone else who’s been affected negatively due to the ongoing mortgage crisis.

As AIG spent $440,000 on a California retreat for its executives, Fannie Mae shows it can be just as irreverent when it comes to spending government money. These companies’ actions, in situations like the golf outing or retreat, show how lenders who’ve taken financial bailouts from the Fed or Treasury, feel that they’re entitled enough and given a green light to go do whatever they feel like doing, when they want to do it.

Clearly, if other lenders like Fannie Mae, Countrywide, IndyMac, WaMu, etc., were myopic enough to flood the mortgage market with loans filled with TILA violations, then should we have expected otherwise when it came to Fannie applying its "best judgment" of choosing to play golf with taxpayer money, instead of working to modify loans?