IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Listed author(s):
  • W. Scott Frame
  • Andreas Fuster
  • Joseph Tracy
  • James Vickery

The imposition of federal conservatorships on September 6, 2008, at the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation—commonly known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—was one of the most dramatic events of the financial crisis. These two government-sponsored enterprises play a central role in the US housing finance system, and at the start of their conservatorships held or guaranteed about $5.2 trillion of home mortgage debt. The two firms were often cited as shining examples of public-private partnerships—that is, the harnessing of private capital to advance the social goal of expanding homeownership. But in reality, the hybrid structures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were destined to fail at some point, owing to their singular exposure to residential real estate and moral hazard incentives emanating from the implicit guarantee of their liabilities. We describe the financial distress experienced by the two firms, the events that led the federal government to take dramatic action in an effort to stabilize housing and financial markets, and the various resolution options available to US policymakers at the time; and we evaluate the success of the choice of conservatorship in terms of its effects on financial markets and financial stability, on mortgage supply, and on the financial position of the two firms themselves. Conservatorship achieved its key short-run goals of stabilizing mortgage markets and promoting financial stability during a period of extreme stress. However, conservatorship was intended to be a temporary fix, not a long-term solution, and more than six years later, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still remain in conservatorship.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.29.2.25
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/data/2902/29020025_data.zip
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/jep/app/2902/29020025_app.pdf
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 29 (2015)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 25-52

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:29:y:2015:i:2:p:25-52
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.29.2.25
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Phillip Swagel, 2009. "The Financial Crisis: An Inside View," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 1-78.
  2. Benjamin J. Keys & Tomasz Piskorski & Amit Seru & Vincent Yao, 2014. "Mortgage Rates, Household Balance Sheets, and the Real Economy," NBER Working Papers 20561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ambrose, Brent W & Warga, Arthur, 2002. "Measuring Potential GSE Funding Advantages," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 129-150, Sept.-Dec.
  4. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2011. "The Effects of Quantitative Easing on Interest Rates: Channels and Implications for Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 43(2 (Fall)), pages 215-287.
  5. Rodney Ramcharan & Amir Kermani & Marco Di Maggio, 2015. "Monetary Policy Pass-Through: Household Consumption and Voluntary Deleveraging," 2015 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Janice Eberly & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2014. "Efficient Credit Policies in a Housing Debt Crisis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 49(2 (Fall)), pages 73-136.
  7. Alex Kaufman, 2014. "The Influence of Fannie and Freddie on Mortgage Loan Terms," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 42(2), pages 472-496, 06.
  8. Dwyer, Gerald P. & Tkac, Paula, 2009. "The financial crisis of 2008 in fixed-income markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1293-1316, December.
  9. Joseph Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian Sack, 2011. "The Financial Market Effects of the Federal Reserve's Large-Scale Asset Purchases," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 7(1), pages 3-43, March.
  10. Congressional Budget Office, 2010. "CBO's Budgetary Treatment of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Reports 41887, Congressional Budget Office.
  11. John Y. Campbell & Stefano Giglio & Parag Pathak, 2011. "Forced Sales and House Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2108-2131, August.
  12. Tim R. Birkhead, 2014. "Reflections," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 25(2), pages 239-241.
  13. Wayne Passmore, 2005. "The GSE Implicit Subsidy and the Value of Government Ambiguity," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 465-486, 09.
  14. Fuster, Andreas & Goodman, Laurie & Lucca, David O. & Madar, Laurel & Molloy, Linsey & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "The rising gap between primary and secondary mortgage rates," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 17-39.
  15. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-1366, September.
  16. James Vickery & Joshua Wright, 2013. "TBA trading and liquidity in the agency MBS market," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 1-18.
  17. Foote, Christopher L. & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: Theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 234-245, September.
  18. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-248, April.
  19. Robert Eisenbeis & W. Frame & Larry Wall, 2007. "An Analysis of the Systemic Risks Posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and An Evaluation of the Policy Options for Reducing Those Risks," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 75-99, June.
  20. Neil Bhutta, 2012. "GSE Activity and Mortgage Supply in Lower-Income and Minority Neighborhoods: The Effect of the Affordable Housing Goals," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 238-261, June.
  21. Hancock, Diana & Passmore, Wayne, 2011. "Did the Federal Reserve's MBS purchase program lower mortgage rates?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(5), pages 498-514.
  22. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Why don't Lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? Redefaults, self-cures and securitization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 835-853.
  23. W. Scott Frame & Lawrence J. White, 2005. "Fussing and Fuming over Fannie and Freddie: How Much Smoke, How Much Fire?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 159-184, Spring.
  24. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2011. "Fear of Fire Sales, Illiquidity Seeking, and Credit Freezes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 557-591.
  25. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2011. "The Effects of Quantitative Easing on Interest Rates: Channels and Implications for Policy," NBER Working Papers 17555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Anthony A. DeFusco & Andrew Paciorek, 2017. "The Interest Rate Elasticity of Mortgage Demand: Evidence from Bunching at the Conforming Loan Limit," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 210-240, February.
  27. Nothaft, Frank E & Pearce, James E & Stevanovic, Stevan, 2002. "Debt Spreads between GSEs and Other Corporations," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 151-172, Sept.-Dec.
  28. W. Scott Frame & Lawrence J. White, 2004. "Regulating housing GSEs: thoughts on institutional structure and authorities," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 2, pages 87-102.
  29. Paul Calem & Francisco Covas & Jason Wu, 2013. "The Impact of the 2007 Liquidity Shock on Bank Jumbo Mortgage Lending," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45, pages 59-91, 08.
  30. Janice Eberly & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2014. "Efficient Credit Policies in a Housing Debt Crisis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(2 (Fall)), pages 73-136.
  31. Thomas Philippon & Vasiliki Skreta, 2012. "Optimal Interventions in Markets with Adverse Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 1-28, February.
  32. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226081946 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2011. "The Effects of Quantitative Easing on Interest Rates: Channels and Implications for Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 215-287.
  34. Fuster, Andreas & Willen, Paul S., 2012. "Payment size, negative equity, and mortgage default," Staff Reports 582, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Jan 2015.
  35. Ashcraft, Adam B. & Schuermann, Til, 2008. "Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 191-309, June.
  36. Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2010. "How Debt Markets Have Malfunctioned in the Crisis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
  37. Andreas Fuster & James Vickery, 2015. "Securitization and the Fixed-Rate Mortgage," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 28(1), pages 176-211.
  38. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  39. Yaron Leitner, 2011. "Why do markets freeze?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q2, pages 12-19.
  40. Wall, Larry D. & Eisenbeis, Robert A. & Frame, W. Scott, 2005. "Resolving large financial intermediaries: Banks versus housing enterprises," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 386-425, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:29:y:2015:i:2:p:25-52. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.