The Worlds' Largest Hedge Fund (yes, that one, the one owned by you and I, the U.S. taxpayer) may now be adding additional securities to its portfolio. According to a recent Bloomberg article, the Fed is considering expanding the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) to include loans for the purchase of Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS). As you may recall, the TALF was developed to provide low-cost Federal Reverse loans that would be used to buy securities backed by consumer debt - essentially using taxpayer money to provide debt to help other taxpayers purchase the debt of still other taxpayers that took out too much debt [Yes, I know, using debt to solve a problem caused by too much debt does not really make sense, but I digress]. Anyway, since the TALF has previously been used to purchase securities tied to automotive debt and credit cards by offering three-year loans, why not try it now using five-year loans for commercial real estate? After all, it has been so successful for the auto and credit card industries (GM, Chrysler, and a White House Presidential scolding of credit card executives, notwithstanding - tongue in cheek, of course).

All kidding aside, it is hoped that such loans will create buying pressure for CBMS, thereby decreasing yields - many of which are near junk levels, making it unprofitable for banks to make new loans at such high yields. The down fall, of course, is that with such loans having a five instead of three year maturity, it will be even harder for the Fed to timely withdraw money from the system in later years, just when inflation is likely to creep back with a vengeance as the economy begins to hopefully recover. While maybe too late, at some point we are going to have to ask, are we preventing collapse and saving entire industries, or are we simply, and needlessly, juicing the system in order to save a few select companies, all the while unnaturally speeding-up the recovery? If the later, we may want to start planning for the hangover now.

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