Fannie Mae

THE SCOOP

The American Dream

Fannie Mae's slogan proclaims, "Our Business is the American Dream," and its mission is to increase opportunities for home ownership among low- and middle-income Americans.  Short for Federal National Mortgage Association (or FNMA), Fannie Mae is the leading source of financing for home mortgages, and it owns or guarantees about 20 percent of the home mortgage market in the United States.  Since 1968, the company has provided more than $7 trillion in financing to some 73 million families.  The firm operates in what is known as the secondary mortgage market.  The primary market consists of institutions like mortgage companies, commercial banks, savings and loan associations or credit unions.  These groups are the ones that conduct transactions directly with borrowers.  The lending institution then has the option either to hold the mortgage in its portfolio or to sell the mortgage into the secondary market.  By selling the debt to another entity, the primary lender recoups its money and is able to extend another loan.

Fannie Mae was created as a government agency under Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal in 1938 to boost and replenish the supply of loan money for mortgages, thereby helping to stimulate the economy in the wake of the Great Depression.  The firm later became a private, shareholder-owned companyâ€"and a large one at that.  But recently, after the subprime mortgage market tanked and the firm booked billions of losses, it was forced to return to its roots: the palm of Uncle Sam.

The rescue operation

In July 2008, the firm's troubles as a result of the housing crisis came to a boil, and Fannie Mae's and sister firm Freddie Mac's stocks lost half their valueâ€"an event that some analysts said was worse for the financial markets than the collapse of Bear Stearns.  (Fannie had lost about $7.2 billion since mid-2007, following a flood of homeowner defaults.)  By September 2008, the U.S. government took drastic measures to attempt to stop the ongoing losses experienced by Fannie Mae (and its sister company Freddie Mac) by seizing control of both entities.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the government will take control of the firms and supplant each of the firm's CEOs with new heads.

Struggling efforts

With its stock down 90 percent since the beginning of 2008 due to the subprime mortgage crisis, Fannie Mae endured a few management changes, as the firm's chief financial officer, chief business officer and chief risk officer all stepped down.  Meanwhile, Vice President of Capital Markets Peter Niculescu took on even more duties.  He'll head up the firm's single-family mortgage security, capital markets and housing development groups.

In the second quarter of 2009, the firm reported a loss of $14.8 billion, owing to the credit-related expenses that is reflecting the housing crisis and rising unemployment in the United States.  Despite the losses, Fannie Mae continues to support the housing program by focusing more on foreclosure prevention efforts on the implementation of the “Making Home Affordable Program,†which was designed to significantly expand the number of borrowers who can refinance or modify their mortgages.

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Fannie Mae


3900 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016-2892
Phone: (202) 752-7000
Fax: (202) 752-6014
www.fanniemae.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: FNM
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • President and CEO: Michael J. Williams
  • 2008 Employees: 5,800

Key Financials

  • 2008 Revenue: $17,436 million

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