The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-to-4 ruling announced Monday said it is unconstitutional to limit the power of the president to dismiss without cause the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). At the same time, the Court ruled that past decisions by the CFPB are “severable.”
That means that the president’s authority does not extend to eliminating the CFPB. Senator Elizabeth Warren noted, in one of several tweets, that “the CFPB itself and the law that created it is constitutional. The CFPB is here to stay.”
The impact of the ruling may extend to include the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the two government-sponsored enterprises for which it currently acts as conservator: Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC).
Like the director of the CFPB, the FHFA director could now be fired by the president with or without cause.
With the current political winds indicating that Donald Trump’s re-election outlook may be dimming, that means that a presumed-President Joe Biden could replace current FHFA director Mark Calabria before the agency has a chance to launch a public offering of stock in Fannie and Freddie.
For some reason, investors appear to have put the possibility that the recapitalization of the two mortgage-securities firms will happen or that a public offering of stock can take place ahead of Inauguration Day in January 2021. Freddie Mac shares traded up more than 4% late Monday and Fannie Mae shares traded up around 5%.
Even if both those things should happen, both Houses of Congress have to agree–and sign into law–an explicit federal backstop for the loans that Fannie and Freddie purchase and repackage. The odds of that happening are essentially zero.
Fannie stock traded at $2.13 shortly before the closing bell in a 52-week range of $1.26 to $4.23.
Freddie Mac shares traded at $2.17 in a 52-week range of $1.20 to $4.04.