Freddie Mac

THE SCOOP

Meet Freddie

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, a/k/a Freddie Mac, purchases conventional mortgages from mortgage banks, mortgage companies, credit unions, online lenders and thrifts (including savings banks and savings and loan associations) and then securitizes these mortgages.  By doing so, the firm transfers the financial risk from those lending institutions and, as a result, helps increase homeownership in the United States.  This, in turn, lowers mortgage rates across the board, increases the number of mortgage finance options to homebuyers and attracts investors to support America’s mortgage lending needs.

Freddie is born

In the late 1960s, the U.S. mortgage market was highly volatile due to a wide disparity in interest rates from city to city.  Also, due to the risky nature of mortgage loans, banks were conservative in their underwriting of properties, making mortgage loans harder for the average citizen to get.  Neither the government nor the private banking sector alone could address the nation’s housing finance needs.  In 1970, just two years after chartering the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), Congress chartered The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), both loosely named after their acronyms.  Freddie Mac, along with its sister company, was formed “to provide stability in the secondary market for residential mortgages; to respond appropriately to the private capital market; to provide ongoing assistance for the secondary market for residential mortgages; and to promote access to mortgage credit by increasing liquidity of mortgage investments.â€

In 1992, Congress, concerned about the dramatic growth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the massive effect the firms could have on the housing market, created the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) to regulate the two companies’ safety and soundness; the Department of Housing and Urban Development regulates their housing mission activities.  The Housing and Recovery Act of 2008 later combined OFHEO with the Federal Housing Finance Board to form the new Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Freddie’s flailing

While Freddie Mac’s strategy had been highly successful in the past, it hit its breakpoint in 2007 when credit rating agencies gave their triple A ratings to securities that later fell apart.  In February 2008, Freddie Mac released its 2007 results, which disappointed all around, mostly due to the ongoing chaos created by the industry’s subprime defaults.  For the full-year 2007, Freddie reported a $3.09 billion loss compared with a net income of $2.33 billion for 2006.  In July 2008, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s stocks lost half their valueâ€"an event that some analysts said was worse for the financial markets than the collapse of Bear Stearns.  (Freddie had lost about $4.6 billion since mid-2007, following a flood of homeowner defaults.)

Treasury to the rescue

In September 2008, the U.S. government officially seized control of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in an attempt to stop the ongoing losses experienced by the firms.  Following the stock nosedives, the U.S. Treasury finagled a few favors from Congress on behalf of the agencies, including a temporary increase in a credit line for Fannie and Freddie and temporary authority to purchase equity in one or both of the mortgage companies.  As far as the big funding picture goes for the future, the Treasury will also restrict the size of each firm’s mortgage portfolio to $850 billion.  President Barack Obama’s Home Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP), announced in February 2009, involves both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in stabilizing the U.S. housing market.  HASP accorded additional funding for both mortgage firms to help them purchase and refinance mortgages more easily and consequently maintaining mortgage affordability.  Freddie Mac continues to operate under the conservatorship of the FHFA and the support of the Treasury department through three segments: Investments, Single-family Guarantee and Multifamily.

▲ Show Less▼ Show Full Description


Freddie Mac


8200 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22102-3110
Phone: (703) 903-2000
www.freddiemac.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: FRE
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • CEO: Charles E. Haldeman, Jr.
  • 2008 Employees: 5,012

Major Office Locations

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • New York, NY
  • Dallas, TX
  • Mclean, VA

Key Financials

  • 2008 Income: $-50,119 million

Become a Vault Basic Member

Complete your Vault Profile and get seen by top employers