What is all the fuss about Fannie Mae?

How finance agency affects borrowers, taxpayers

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. See Part 2: New operating models proposed for Fannie Mae.) "The media has been full of stories recently about accounting scandals at Fannie Mae. Is this another Enron? What does it mean to John Q. Public?" It is an accounting scandal, and heads have rolled as a result, but it is not another Enron. The phony accounting at Enron concealed massive losses whereas the phony accounting at Fannie Mae concealed large fluctuations in income. Absent the phony accounting, Enron was insolvent, but Fannie remains solvent and very strong, if not quite as strong as it had appeared earlier. Yet there is more at stake in the Fannie case because Fannie Mae is a "government-sponsored enterprise." While Fannie and its smaller sister agency Freddie Mac have private shareholders and their employees are not under civil service, they enjoy important government supports. These include a line of credit with the Treasury Department and use of the facilities of the Federal ...