Fannie and Freddie loans could pose conflicts for Kushner

February 17, 2017 10:10AM

FHFA’s Mel Watt and Jared Kushner

Kushner Companies has $568.8 million in loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac outstanding, creating the potential for conflicts of interest as White House and Congress debate the future of the two mortgage giants.

The real estate company owns around 20,000 apartments on the Eastern Seaboard, and has taken out Fannie and Freddie loans to finance 11 acquisitions and refinance 3 properties, mostly in Maryland, according to Real Capital Analytics.

Jared Kushner, who headed Kushner Companies until January, now works as a senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. He has vowed to sell his stakes in real estate assets and to recuse himself from decisions impacting the family business. A Kushner spokesperson declined to tell Bloomberg whether Jared still holds stakes in properties with Fannie or Freddie loans.

“The election has not changed Kushner Companies’ relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” the spokesperson said to Bloomberg. “And we will respond to policy changes like any other private company in the marketplace.”

If Kushner were to default on any of the loans in questions, it could put the two companies, which are currently in government conservatorship, in the uncomfortable position of having to foreclose on assets controlled by the president’s immediate family.

“It clearly represents a conflict-of-interest because the government or the president can take actions that would benefit his family,” Brooklyn Law School professor David Reiss told Bloomberg.

The White House has announced it plans to overhaul the housing finance system, in a move that would likely also impact multifamily lending. [Bloomberg]Konrad Putzier