In what amounted to a road show Wednesday, Fannie Mae chairman Franklin D. Raines told analysts to expect the government-sponsored enterprises strong growth to continue.
Speaking to the New York Society of Securities Analysts shortly after Fannie released record third-quarter earnings, Mr. Raines highlighted Fannies accomplishments over the past year and said the company was on target to reach his goal, set in May 1999, of doubling its earnings per share by 2003.
The speech was similar to others given recently by Mr. Raines in that he sought to downplay the years political turmoil in Washington by likening it to other risks the mortgage financier has weathered over the past decade.
Fannie and Freddie Mac had a rough spring and summer as competitors and congressional hearings over proposals to increase oversight of the two government-sponsored enterprises caused their share prices to drop and their borrowing costs to rise.
Despite all the Washington hoopla, Fannie reported Wednesday morning that its third-quarter earnings rose 16% from the year-earlier period, to $1.124 billion, or $1.09 per diluted share. Per-share earnings beat analysts consensus estimates by 1 cent.
The earnings were driven by 15.6% growth in Fannies balance sheet assets, 7% growth in the volume of mortgage-backed securities it guarantees, and buying back about 3% of its shares.
Mr. Raines said the company is on track to deliver our second consecutive year of 15% operating earnings per share growth and to meet our goal of doubling earnings per share by 2003.
What this tells you, he said, is that Fannie Mae continues to post record results, quarter after quarter, through a wide range of risk scenarios credit risk, interest rate risk or even so-called political risk.
To illustrate both where Fannie is on its path to meet its goals and how much more the company can grow, Mr. Raines said that in 1999, of the $136.3 billion of revenues collected for managing risk, his company had only a 4.7% share.
Mr. Raines said that if the company boosts that share to 5.7% by yearend 2003, it will have met that earnings goal.
Kenneth Posner, an analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, said Fannie basically had a very solid quarter on all of the metrics that are important.
Bruce Harting, an analyst at Lehman Brothers, said he is not worried about the perceived political risk to Fannie, because Congress thinks Fannie has successfully carried out its mission.
As long as they keep doing that, he said, the majority of Congress is going to move in favor of Fannie and Freddie.
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