The Rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

54 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2015

See all articles by W. Scott Frame

W. Scott Frame

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Andreas Fuster

Swiss National Bank - Financial Stability

Joseph S. Tracy

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

James I. Vickery

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2015

Abstract

We describe and evaluate the measures taken by the U.S. government to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September 2008. We begin by outlining the business model of these two firms and their role in the U.S. housing finance system. Our focus then turns to the sources of financial distress that the firms experienced and the events that ultimately led the government to take action in an effort to stabilize housing and financial markets. We describe the various resolution options available to policymakers at the time and evaluate the success of the choice of conservatorship, and other actions taken, in terms of five objectives that we argue an optimal intervention would have fulfilled. We conclude that the decision to take the firms into conservatorship and invest public funds achieved its short-run goals of stabilizing mortgage markets and promoting financial stability during a period of extreme stress. However, conservatorship led to tensions between maximizing the firms’ value and achieving broader macroeconomic objectives, and, most importantly, it has so far failed to produce reform of the U.S. housing finance system.

Keywords: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, housing finance, financial crisis, government intervention

JEL Classification: G01, G21, H12

Suggested Citation

Frame, W. Scott and Fuster, Andreas and Tracy, Joseph and Vickery, James Ian, The Rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (March 2015). FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2015-2, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2586067 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2586067

W. Scott Frame (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

2200 N Pearl Street
Dallas, TX 75201
United States
214-922-6984 (Phone)

Andreas Fuster

Swiss National Bank - Financial Stability ( email )

Boersenstrasse 15
Zurich, CH-8022
Switzerland

Joseph Tracy

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

2200 North Pearl Street
PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States

James Ian Vickery

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
87
Abstract Views
989
rank
176,306
PlumX Metrics