Democrats want you to believe that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had nothing to do with the financial crisis of 2008. It will be interesting to see how they spin the SEC lawsuit against the executives of the government sponsored enterprises. Not only did the mortgage companies play a role in the crisis, they were at the heart of it.
The Beltway story of the crisis claims that Congress’s affordable housing mandates had nothing to do with it. But the SEC’s lawsuit shows that Fannie degraded its underwriting standards to increase its market share in subprime loans. According to the SEC suit, for instance, in 2006 Fannie Mae adjusted its widely used automated underwriting system, “Desktop Underwriter.” Fannie did so as part of its “Say Yes” strategy to “provide more ‘approve’ messages . . . for larger volumes of loans with lower FICO [credit] scores and higher LTVs [loan-to-value] than previously permitted.”
The SEC also shows how Fannie led private lenders into the subprime market. In July 1999, Fannie and Angelo Mozilo’s Countrywide Home Loans entered “an alliance agreement” that included “a reduced documentation loan program called the ‘internet loan,’” later called the “Fast and Easy” loan. As the SEC notes, “by the mid-2000s, other mortgage lenders developed similar reduced documentation loan programs, such as Mortgage Express and PaperSaver—many of which Fannie Mae acquired in ever-increasing volumes.”
Mr. Mozilo and Fannie essentially were business partners in the subprime business. Countrywide found the customers, while Fannie provided the taxpayer-backed capital. And the rest of the industry followed.
Read the whole thing. They failed to disclose hundreds of billions of dollars they had invested in subprime loans.