Fannie - A Timeline

If you want to get deeper into the history of the mortgage meltdown, The Wall Street Journal has a page of links to its past articles. Here are a few titles and dates to give you an idea.

• Inside Fannie 03/19/02 - Fan and Fred don't function like other companies. They're allowed to pile up debt, implicitly guaranteed by taxpayers, without being held to even the minimum of corporate governance standards.

• Frantic Fannie 02/28/02 - Companies taking on so much risk and debt, and backed by taxpayers, ought to be more transparent in what they tell the world.

• Fannie Mae Enron? 02/20/02 - Fan and Fred look like poorly run hedge funds: lots of leverage and snarkily hedged risk. Does the word Enron ring any bells?
Go to the page for links.

Here is a relevant bit from the New York Times from 2003.

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt -- is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

Did the new oversight plan get passed by Congress? What do you think? I'll save you the trouble of looking it up. No.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 09.17.08 at 06:44 AM










Comments

More on the power and influence of the "Fannie Mae Gang" -

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121677050160675397.html

"Angelo Mozilo was in one of his Napoleonic moods. It was October 2003, and the CEO of Countrywide Financial was berating me for The Wall Street Journal's editorials raising doubts about the accounting of Fannie Mae. I had just been introduced to him by Franklin Raines, then the CEO of Fannie, whom I had run into by chance at a reception hosted by the Business Council, the CEO group that had invited me to moderate a couple of panels.
Mr. Mozilo loudly declared that I didn't know what I was talking about, that I didn't understand accounting or the mortgage markets, and that I was in the pocket of Fannie's competitors, among other insults. Mr. Raines, always smoother than Mr. Mozilo, politely intervened to avoid an extended argument, and Countrywide's bantam rooster strutted off.

AP
Clockwise from top left: Barney Frank, Franklin Raines, Mike Oxley, Angelo Mozilo and Paul Krugman.
I've thought about that episode more than once recently amid the meltdown and government rescue of Fannie and its sibling, Freddie Mac. Trying to defend the mortgage giants, Paul Krugman of the New York Times recently wrote, "What you need to know here is that the right -- the WSJ editorial page, Heritage, etc. -- hates, hates, hates Fannie and Freddie. Why? Because they don't want quasi-public entities competing with Angelo Mozilo."
That's a howler even by Mr. Krugman's standards. Fannie Mae and Mr. Mozilo weren't competitors; they were partners. Fannie helped to make Countrywide as profitable as it once was by buying its mortgages in bulk. Mr. Raines -- following predecessor Jim Johnson -- and Mr. Mozilo made each other rich. Which explains why Mr. Johnson could feel so comfortable asking Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) to discuss a sweetheart mortgage with Mr. Mozilo, and also explains the Mozilo-Raines tag team in 2003."

Pelosi is a compulsive liar. The Democrats are knee dip in this sludge (as are some Republicans) and the refusal to take ANY responsibility is criminal in my humble opinion.

william   ·  September 17, 2008 8:22 AM

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