Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Fateful History of Fannie Mae: New Deal Birth to Mortgage Crisis Fall

Quasi. Readers looking for a deeper understanding of the rise and fall of Fannie Mae will find a crisp account of the past seven decades of that organization’s highlights and lowlights in James R. Hagerty’s book, The Fateful History of Fannie Mae: New Deal Birth to Mortgage Crisis Fall. Bob Hagerty is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who has covered the mortgage business and the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) extensively. He relates how a public purpose was paired with private capital to create a quasi-governmental entity that became the largest holder of residential mortgage debt. Political machinations over many years led to inadequate capital and a weak regulatory framework. Investors took gains in the good years and taxpayers are now covering losses. I worked at Freddie Mac from the mid-1970s to the late-1990s, so I know the subject of this book from an inside perspective. Hagerty gets all the headlines right in this book. There is more to each story than what he presents, but those nuances may be meaningful only to those who were immersed in the business. General readers will find in this book a cogent presentation of how Fannie Mae came to be, to grow and to generate huge losses. Any reader with an interest in public policy, especially relating to housing, will enjoy reading this book. Rating: Three-star (Recommended) Click here to purchase The Fateful History of Fannie Mae from amazon.com.

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