Morning Brief: Fannie, Freddie Costs Could Climb

There are lots of big local news stories today. First off, the seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is poised to get more expensive and some are cautioning that the takeover might cost the government more than suggested, reports staff writer Zachary A. Goldfarb.

The turmoil in the financial and housing markets has undermined the health of the two companies since the government seized them in September. It is now likely the Treasury will be required to pump billions of dollars into them, Goldfarb reports.

Then comes the story of Fairfax businessman Vijay K. Taneja. He was an icon in the local Indian community, reports staff writer Jerry Markon. He invested millions in Bollywood films and brought Indian musical acts to the Washington area.

"Taneja had an aura about him, a celebrity image that made people trust him, according to people who know the Fairfax County businessman," writes Markon.

The problem was, most of those ventures were financed by the largest mortgage fraud case in Virginia in almost 20 years, Taneja admitted in federal court on Thursday. Taneja pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to a fraud enterprise that cost banks at least $33 million, one of the largest nationally.

B.F. Saul II started Chevy Chase out of a trailer in 1969. It now has $11.4 billion in deposits. (By Rich Lipski -- The Washington Post)

And finally, our own Chevy Chase Bank, a longtime piece of the Washington business scene, is talking to possible suitors, people familiar with the situation said. The bank has attracted interest from the likes of Citigroup among others.

Chevy Chase is the area's fifth-largest bank and the largest headquartered in the region with branches here, with $11.4 billion in deposits and $15 billion in assets. The bank is part of the sprawling Saul companies, which operate out of a towering office building in Bethesda presided over by patriarch B.F. Saul II, 76.

Saul started Chevy Chase out of a trailer in 1969. Over the decades, the institution has made loans to millions of home buyers, businesses, real estate developers and automobile owners.

By Alejandro Lazo  |  November 14, 2008; 8:05 AM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch , Fannie Mae , Freddie Mac , Morning Brief
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