1999 New York Times on Fannie Mae

 Posted by on 2 October 2008 at 11:06 pm  Economics, Politics
Oct 022008

Here are some excerpts from an interesting article in the September 30, 1999 edition of the New York Times on Fannie Mae’s new policies:

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

…”Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990′s by reducing down payment requirements,” said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.”

…In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980′s. [Emphasis mine. -- PSH]

“From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”

…Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.

At least Fannie Mae’s directors had good intentions — shouldn’t that be what’s most important here?

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