More on the Freddie Mac Risk Management Culture
By Arnold Kling
From the comments on my chapter.Chet Foster writes,
One thing that irks me is the requirement that Fannie And Freddie are required to make specified proportions of their purchases in lower income and minority areas. This more than anything else has created this mortgage market disaster. The mortgage market is one of the most competitive markets in the country. We have National Banks, commercial banks, S&Ls, finance companies, Credit Unions, mortgage bankers, and mortgage brokers (I am sure I have left some out) all competing for the last nickel on the table. I live in a small town in Texas (pop. 8,911) and we have 6 Banks, a credit union and a mortgage broker. In such a market everyone should be able to get a loan as long as the property and borrower are reasonable risks.
Bob Van Order writes,
I think the [home] price decline is most of the story, but not all, re defaults. They [Freddie Mac] also did a lot of Alt-A in the last few years (currently about 10% of book). These have high downpayments and high credit scores, but are performing lousy. They are tough to evaluate because some are in securities with subordination ahead of them and insurance. As far I I know all of the subprime is in senior pieces of securities, but the senior pieces are at risk. The problem there is more a liquidity one–no one wants to buy even senior pieces. These will take losses, but not as much as the market discount suggests. Unfortunately neither accounting equity or mark to market equity are very accurate.
That’s why I like the stress tests.
I cited Chet and Bob as the founding fathers of the risk management culture that was not appreciated by the new regime at Freddie Mac.