There have been lots of ideas about how to restructure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the twin government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that purchase the vast majority of residential mortgage loans originated in the U.S. But the one idea that I haven’t heard mentioned, which seems to make the most sense, is: Don’t do anything.
The two agencies used to be hybrid public-private entities, their stock owned by investors but with an “implied” government backing of the mortgage-backed securities they sell. Both of them failed during the global financial crisis, burdened with billions of dollars of bad subprime loans, and were taken over by the government in 2008. Although they remain in conservatorship to this day, they remain the backbone of the American residential mortgage banking system. [Read more...]