Industry News

Fannie, Freddie fight for mortgage market share

Chastened, the GSEs insist they're relevant

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Time travelers from 2002 would have been shocked to hear public pleadings last week from the two pre-eminent government-sponsored housing agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The GSE pair, bedeviled by financial malfeasance (both alleged and admitted) the past couple of years, sounded like bloodied pugilists on the ropes, pleading forbearance and a second chance from their mortgage lender-customers. "In the past year, Fannie Mae has shut up and listened to you, our customers," said Tom Lund, the company's chief acquisitions officer. "We're going to work with lenders to expand markets especially with hard-to-do loans (and) we will participate more broadly in the product spectrum," he promised. Building up a head of near-evangelical steam, Lund said: "We will roll up our sleeves and tackle affordability issues; actively bidding on subprime (products)," he said, suggesting an advance into territory historically off-limits to the GSEs. It was a sight to behold, but no longer surprisin...