Government-sponsored mortgage purchasers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plan to delist their shares from the New York Stock Exchange.
The companies' regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said Wednesday that it expects Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares to trade on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, an electronic quotation service.
The move to delist the shares isn't a surprise. The crash in the housing market has pounded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with heavy loan losses since 2007. Fannie shares have been below the $1 average price level for 30 trading days. NYSE rules require a company to take action to boost its shares or delist.
The government took over the pair in September 2008 under the authority of a law passed by Congress. So far, taxpayers have poured $145 billion into Fannie and Freddie to keep them afloat and to buoy the overall housing market.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA and the Veterans Administration backed nearly 97 percent of home mortgages in the first quarter of this year, according to trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance.
Fannie and Freddie were created by Congress to buy mortgages from lenders and package them into bonds that are resold to investors. Together they own or guarantee almost 31 million home loans worth about $5.5 trillion. That's about half of all mortgages.
During the housing boom, the two loosened their lending standards for borrowers and are reeling from the housing bubble bust.