CNBC reported Thursday that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is trying to set up a government facility that would help banks and brokers clear bad mortgage-related paper from their books much like the Resolution Trust Corp. did in 1989. This is exactly the plan that Cramer’s been calling for on Mad Money.
The news came late in the trading day, but it was enough to send the Dow surging 410 points before the closing bell. The RTC-like facility would buy the very mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that have been at the epicenter of the housing and credit crises that struck in August 2007. This would free financial institutions from the enormous weight that’s been dragging them down, our report said, and most likely boost the housing sector because banks would be free to lend money again.
But this is only part of the solution, Cramer said. There are other important moves the federal government needs to take before we’re out of this mess. He laid out his plan during Thursday’s show.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson need to announce they’re buying actual mortgage bonds. Not those made up of home-equity loans, Cramer said, because he doesn’t trust them coming from the struggling brokers and banks, but pure mortgage bonds. Pay 30 cents on the dollar and then hold them until housing turns around.
Cramer said he’s confident homeowners will pay to stay in their homes, but he just thinks it’s going to take about 18 months to pan out. Once it does, these government-owned MBS will regain at least part of their value, probably more. Also, the 30 cents on the dollar figure offers a floor for other investors who want to follow Washington’s lead and start buying the mortgage-backs in hopes of eventually turning a profit.
If Hank Paulson can bailout Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG, then why not the American homeowner?