Fannie Mae Finds More Accounting Errors

Fannie Mae, (FNM) whose accounting problems will likely lead to an $11 billion profit restatement, Monday said it has found more errors related to some investment securities, loans and mortgage-backed securities trusts.

Fannie Mae, which is the leading mortgage finance company in the United States, did not estimate how those errors might affect the magnitude of its expected earnings restatement. Some of the errors, Fannie said, may affect the timing of recorded losses.

Fannie Mae's accounting problems are still under investigation by its regulator and other federal agencies. A congressional panel is scheduled to hold a hearing on the results of Fannie's internal investigation on Tuesday.

The company said it would not file 2005 results on time. It also said it does not expect to post 2004 results before the second half of 2006.

Among the newly disclosed errors, Fannie Mae said it recorded some securities at the incorrect cost basis due to various accounting errors on the recognition of investment securities on the balance sheet.

The company said it was correcting those errors in the course of its restatement, changing the cost basis of securities. That will impact unrealized gains and losses recorded on securities classified as available for sale as well as realized gains and losses on securities sales and the amortization of premiums and discounts.

Fannie also said it failed to recognize some guaranty fees as retained interests and some recourse obligations related to its mortgage-backed securities trusts. Fixing that will boost the retained interests and recourse obligations on the balance sheet, the company said.

Fannie also disclosed errors related to some loans.

For example, the company said it made wrong determinations of the initial cost basis of real estate assets at foreclose and the amounts charged-off against the allowance for loan losses. It also did not expense costs related to foreclosure activities in the proper period.

Fixing that will change the timing of some losses, the company said.

Fannie Mae and a similar company, Freddie Mac, (FRE) are shareholder-owned companies charged by Congress with boosting homeownership by keeping the mortgage markets liquid. To do this, they buy mortgages from originators, which gives lenders money to make more mortgages.

Fannie and Freddie then repackage the loans into securities for sale to investors. They also keep some loans and securities in their portfolios.