Democrats & Liberals Archives

84, 83, 24, or Why the Fannie Mae Charge is a lie.

84 is the percent of subprime mortgages privately originated in 2006. 83 is the percent of subprime loans originated for middle and low income homeowner by private lenders. 24 is the number out of 25 of the top subprime lenders that year that were not fully subject to the Community Reinvestment Act, the scapegoat thrown out there by Republicans who stil haven’t learned their lesson, and who misrepresent the true source of the Mortgage Meltdown: An overheated private mortgage market.

The Republicans won't tell you a number of things. These are among them:

Between 2004 and 2006, when subprime lending was exploding, Fannie and Freddie went from holding a high of 48 percent of the subprime loans that were sold into the secondary market to holding about 24 percent, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance, a specialty publication. One reason is that Fannie and Freddie were subject to tougher standards than many of the unregulated players in the private sector who weakened lending standards, most of whom have gone bankrupt or are now in deep trouble.

Funny, isn't? The company that is supposedly to blame found its share of the secondary market cut in half. And why? Well, one reason was tougher standards! In other words, because they wouldn't take the kind of loans that were dominating that sector.

Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac were down to a third of the total, and were being cut of even more by the Regulatory Agency over the GSEs, under Bush.

As for the Community Reinvestment Act?

In a book on the sub-prime lending collapse published in June 2007, the late Federal Reserve Governor Ed Gramlich wrote that only one-third of all CRA loans had interest rates high enough to be considered sub-prime and that to the pleasant surprise of commercial banks there were low default rates. Banks that participated in CRA lending had found, he wrote, "that this new lending is good business."

Got that? Only one third Subprime, and low default rates to boot.

So what the hell is going on? Well, on the surface and with your average person, the reason these canards are being spread is simply because it is easy and reflexive at this point for Republicans to blame liberals and overregulation for any problem that comes along. Liberals are their favorite scapegoats, and what's more, they have been taught to be very protective of their political dogmas, which means when deregulation becomes part of of the problem, that part gets ignored.

But on a deeper level, this is about Republican leaders stirring up resentments towards the poor and towards minorities, rehashing the old, sad, sordid, history of resentments and refreshing, in the minds of many people who trust their word, the prejudices that non-whites are either immoral, or incapable of responsiblity. At its core, that is the genesis of this approach to spinning financial crisis: blame the poor, blame those who are not like your targeted voters.

Better yet, blame government, stir up more resentment against them, against helping the average person. That this is the line of rhetoric from the Republicans, from the Right, demonstrates to us that for all the things that have changed during this campaign, one thing has not: the willingness of the GOP and its fellow travellers to tear down government protections, government regulations, and government help to the average person. The bitter irony of this, is that they are taking advantage of the fear and anxiety about this crisis, to further the agenda which could be substantively argued to have caused the crisis in the first place.

Do we need any more evidence here that Republicans are not to be trusted at this time in our nation's history to lead our government? They not only haven't learn, they don't want to learn, they just want to continue doing now what they have done for the last thirty years.

This can't go on any longer. This is governance by mental illness. This is members of government deliberately trying to destroy programs that work, that increase responsibility, that protect people from the abuse of unscrupulous lenders, so that they can turn around and then sell even more destruction of government, and more failure to live up to responsibilities.

There is no excuse for this. It is a fundamentally elitist approach to government, one where, without consent or consultation, the politicians and the officials demolish the very system they've been elected to be stewards of. Either these people think it is not important to factcheck what they say, or they know they are wrong and they are telling us these things to gain consent for an exercise of their power which is not in our interests.

The Republican Party is either too ill-informed or too ruthless and antagonistic to the interests of the average American to remain the political force it has been these past years. Their Morning in America must end, and a true dawn must follow for our country.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2008 6:26 PM
Comments
Comment #266597

Wow, great salient post.

Not that facts will matter to many Repulican zealots. It’s more a matter of faith with them.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 11, 2008 8:52 PM
Comment #266598

It’s not the zealots I’m interested in, but the reasonable people they’ve mislead.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2008 9:12 PM
Comment #266600

Um … so … reckless greed isn’t at fault here? Maybe I’m missing something, but no one regulated or de-regulated the financial industry into making stupid decisions - right? Meaning the big money companies that were stupid enough to buy debt packaged in such a way that no one could ever honestly or fairly estimate the value or risk are at fault. Not this party. Not that party. The companies that made bad decisions are at fault.

Posted by: EdB at October 11, 2008 9:15 PM
Comment #266604

>It’s not the zealots I’m interested in, but the reasonable people they’ve mislead.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2008 09:12 PM

Stephen,

Are there a number of these folks reading these blogs?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 11, 2008 9:40 PM
Comment #266605

EdB,

A zookeeper leaves a gate open to the lion’s den at the zoo. The lion runs out and eats a child. Do you blame the lion for doing what is in its nature, the child for visiting the zoo that day, or the zookeeper for leaving the gate open?

Posted by: pops mcgee at October 11, 2008 9:40 PM
Comment #266607

Edb-
Reckless Greed is like a nuclear chain reaction. The more you take the control out, the more it runs away with itself.

I’m identifying regulatory policy that did fail (in the previous article I addressed the roots of the Credit Crunch), and identifying those that did not, in this case those involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Republicans have tried to scapegoat them in order to make it appear like once again Liberals have brought misfortune upon America’s head. The evidence, though, shows that this assertion is just unfounded scapegoating on the GOP’s part.

Marysdude-
I believe there are. I can’t know for sure how many, but I think these people have been neglected and badly used by their party, and they want something different, even if all that would be is a better dialogue with the rest of us Americans.

Americans have paid the price for the culture wars with years worth of isolation and alienation. Most of us want that to end, want the country to relax from this adversarial situation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 11, 2008 10:07 PM
Comment #266610

What’s being completely ignored here (and in that article) is that whatever percentage of sub-prime mortgages Fannie held or backed, they were by far still the LARGEST entity holding such loans and the ones who initiated the practice of issuing such loans. Others followed suit, but private banks didn’t have the authority to generate, back, and then sell such loans with false guarantees into the market on anything close to the same scale. And no single private bank held anything close to one third (if that’s what it was) of such bad mortgages. The failure of a small player in a bad practice isn’t going to result in anything close to the same domino effect in the economy. Lehman, remember, was allowed to fail. Letting Fannie fail was simply not an option.

Think of it this way. If you plant a garden in your backyard and it fails to produce vegetables, that may be a problem for you but it doesn’t result in the collapse of the global food supply. If the crops all fail in California, however, then it may be a different story.

If Fannie Mae had NOT been involved in this practice—if they had not in fact initiated it when they began lowering the bar for mortgages as a result of federally-mandated programs, and then turned around and guaranteed all of this bad paper—then we simply would not be in this situation. It’s really pretty ridiculous to argue otherwise.

Posted by: Loyal Oppostion at October 12, 2008 1:58 AM
Comment #266618

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=did_liberals_cause_the_subprime_crisis

I recommend reading the above article. And thank you for the good article Stephen.

Posted by: kudos at October 12, 2008 5:42 AM
Comment #266622

LO-
I think you’re also confusing the category of the kind of loan many of the bad loans were in with the bad loans themselves. I believe most subprime loans are still good. The larger proportion of bad loans that got originated in 2005 and 2006 are the problem. That’s the importance of the relative high quality of the loans that were covered by the CRA and placed in the secondary market by the GSEs.

Yes, this might not be such a problem if there were no Fannie Mae. At the same time, the Mortgage market would have never grown so considerably and the shape of the American landscape, with so many owning their own homes would have never come to pass. Fannie Mae has been serving as a secondary market for loans for seventy years, as a GSE for forty. Only now, when a catastrophic failure in the secondary market, which started elsewhere and long before their own collapse, does the company fall on this hard of times.

It’s overheated, underregulated, often predatory mortgage lending that lead to this. But even that alone could not have caused it; the other companies would have just went bust and we’d be waving at them in the rear-view mirror if it weren’t for what happened in the private secondary market, the market that came to dominate home loan securitization.

And that? The bills that enable these non-bank banks to issue more credit than they realistically could back, and allowed others to ensure more credit extension than there was money in the world to cover came from your side of the aisle. They were your idea, presumable to free up the markets from the tyranny of regulation.

There was a reason Freddie Mac came into being: to make sure that one corporation did not monopolize the secondary market that was created. But Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not avoid the consequences of a frozen bond market, of a freeze in credit extension.

The real problem is, your lack of regulation has screwed up the entire credit system, and that system is the one that nearly all corporations in America are dependent on, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well.

The problem here is determining solvency. We don’t know who is over-extended and who’s not. We don’t know who is in for massive debt, and who have good assets that will keep them in good shape.

Additionally, we would not be faced with Wall Street giants that were too big to fail, and with their butts leveraged in those categories of business. Once upon a time you couldn’t do both investment banking (the extension of credit) and trade in securities at the same time. Now a company could do both. Once it was legal to regulate derivatives like the Credit Default Swaps. If it weren’t for the consolidation that the Gramm-Bliley-Leach act allowed, or the prohibitions made by Gramm’s 100 page+ rider, this crisis would have never occured.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 12, 2008 8:20 AM
Comment #266634

It’s time to declare martial law.

What?

The current moves by the Treasury and Fed and Congress are good. They are doing their best think outside the box. However, what they are doing amounts to re-arranging the proverbial deck chairs. Until the real problem is addressed nothing will solve the problem. There is still the attitude that this is a liquidity crisis, but plenty of liquidity has been provided. The real problem is a credfit freeze due to “toxic assets” on the financial sector balance sheets, namely CDS contracts. The trillions of dollars of CDS contracts cannot be traded. Without a mark to the market, they cannot be valued for financial sector balance sheets, and since they probably represent extremely large losses, no financial institutions will risk extending credit to one another.

Declare marital law on a Friday evening. Give the financial sector Saturday and Sunday to present a marked to the market fair value, and identify all such contracts being held. On Monday, close trading in financial sector stocks. At the conclusion of the business week, re-open the financial sectors for equity and debt trading.

In the meantime, the federal government will take possession of all CDS contracts and declare them null and void.

If, at some future date, institutions can demonstrate fair value for the contracts, and wish to re-assume them, that would be allowed.

A lot of steps already taken by the Treasury and Fed are probably illegal, but this would be flat out unconstitutional; hence martial law. Furthermore, it will require international cooperation, since foreign institutions also hold the CDS contracts.

During the week of martial law, the federal government would insure all finance sector deposits through the FDIC. Commercial paper would be underwritten by the Federal Reserve to jump start the credit markets. Resumption of trading in all derivative markets would come under the heavily regulated oversight of the CBE, Treasury, and Federal Reserve.

It’s going to take dramatic action to stop the bleeding. The G7 accomplished nothing this week other than symbolic statements of unity. If we don’t act, and act fast, and take dramatic steps, financial nuclear meltdown.

At the end of the week of martial law, many institutions will have to be temporarily nationalized.

Posted by: phx8 at October 12, 2008 1:33 PM
Comment #266640

There is plenty of blame to go around to all. President Carter to Bush Sr. to Clinton to W.
Plus no one in Congress took their oversight obligations seriously.
The Senate and the House did not protect us.
If you really want change and if you really want to get the attention of Washington then it will take voting action.
The only thing Washington understands, other then money, is being re-elected to office.
The answer is RE-ELECT NO ONE.
Replace the House this November and one third of the Senate.
All new is a real change. Not just talk.
Use your vote for action.


Posted by: Sean Hollahan at October 12, 2008 2:42 PM
Comment #266644

Hollahan
Good answer. Seems none of the Democrats want to take the blame for any of this, as usual they blame the other party.

Posted by: KAP at October 12, 2008 3:25 PM
Comment #266645

LOL, KAP, you think “he” is just talking to the dems???? Check the other columns….

Posted by: janedoe at October 12, 2008 3:28 PM
Comment #266646

jane
I KNOW.

Posted by: KAP at October 12, 2008 3:41 PM
Comment #266647

jane
It seems to me that some of the writers on the dem side don’t think their party has any part in the financial crisis. The fact is WE ALL HAVE A PART IN THIS MESS.

Posted by: KAP at October 12, 2008 3:45 PM
Comment #266648

KAP-
Yes. We all bear some responsibility. But equal responsibility? No.

Some led, some followed, some got out of the way. And some, bless them, opposed these measures.

The Republicans led on these policies, and by taking the particular tack have demonstrated that their prejudices at best, and their intentions at worst are set towards the same kind of policies that got us into this mess, even as the facts contradict their allegations.

We can spread all the blame we want to. But the real question we have to ask is “What are the choices at hand?”

If my choice is between somebody who caved in to this when Reagan politics and Bush politics were at their height, and another person who would be happy to actively push that same politics, I’ll take the person who caved in, because that person can be reasoned with, threatened politically if necessary.

If my choice is between somebody who thought the deregulation wasn’t a mistake, and somebody who helped deregulate, but has changed their mind, I’ll forgive the guy who acknowledges the mistake and vote against the person who thinks they did nothing wrong, or nothing wrong was done.

The key here is that you should vote the kind of politicans in who you believe will forward, or at least not interfere with the kind of policy you want enacted. If you want somebody better, the primaries are the time to make your selection, and sell that selection to your fellow party members. And if they, too fail?

My belief is that our votes constitute the political environment for these people, and we will get the kind of government, ultimately, that we encourage over the long term. Maybe we’ll be fooled a few times, but ultimately, even the most opportunistic folks will do what it takes to stay elected, and if we make it clear what it takes to remain in office over time, that will become the political reality that they bow down to. But we have to keep the pressure up. Nature does it simply by sitting around for a few million or hundreds of thousands of years, and forcing the creatures to get use to those conditions. We do it over the course of years, by making the satisfaction of certain interests the selective pressure of our votes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 12, 2008 4:23 PM
Comment #266651

S.D.
I agree in part of what you are saying. But the fact remains many of the Democrats were involved with both FM’s and the Democrats killed in committe regulations for the FM’s. Whoever gave the Ok to give loans to people who they knew couldn’t pay them and whoever the dumb SOB’s are that bought up all that worthless paper should be SHOT. And whoever was protecting both companys from being regulated should be held accountable. And I don’t give a rat’s behind what party they belong to.

Posted by: KAP at October 12, 2008 6:47 PM
Comment #266665

KAP-
I think you’ve missed the point of what I wrote. The GSE’s share of the securitized loans went down. The Private Sector dominated things more and more as the irresponsible behavior got worse and worse, and the GSE’s and banks subject to the CRA tended to have better quality mortgages than they did.

Or, put another way, the GSE’s and CRA-covered banks were making fewer bad loans than the private lenders.

What happened to the FM’s was that they get caught in the credit crunch that came after the failure of the private, poorly regulated mortgage lenders. They aren’t lenders themselves, but secondary markets for the mortgages. Their presence has long allowed US banks to write more mortgages. The Republicans are trying to blame them for this, because a move was made to encourage more and more loans for poor and lower middle class folks. As is typical, the GOP wanted to shift the blame to them. How dare they change the nature of the market.

But these facts more or less say that most of the time, this move had a positive effect, and they were the most active aggressive or reckless of those working in the secondary market. And whether they were or not, their share was declining during the critical period when the mortgage crisis began.

If the problem was too many bad loans being made, then the worst of the situation obviously wasn’t the FMs. the worst of the loans and the bulk of the loans was coming from the private sector.

I am not saying that bad regulation and poor oversight were the Republican’s fault for partisan reasons, I’m, saying this as a simple statement of fact. This is what the Republicans wanted, and fought for.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 12, 2008 11:02 PM
Comment #266672

To Stephen Daugherty:
(1)
“Predatory Lending” is used with abandon. The Democrats (mostly) say that bankers were/are just too bigoted and timid to loan to poorer people. That justified government interference in the market for home loans by Fannie and Freddie.

But, Predatory Lending is conveniently blamed for all of the defaulted mortgages that were made. We are told that these same bankers decided to make profits from lending to those poor people. They acted as predators, no longer bigoted or timid.

Then, we find that they didn’t make profits. In fact, most have lost billions.

Aren’t those contradictions in your presentation?

(2)
You say “They [Fannie and Freddie] aren’t lenders themselves, but secondary markets for the mortgages.”

In fact, Fan and Fred accumulated at least $520 billion in debt on their books for subprime and Alt-A mortgage bond and mortgage debt that they bought and held in their portfolio. They assumed the loans through these purchases. They were a a lender into the risky loan market, once or twice removed, and this supported that market.

Fan and Fred together owned 90% of the mortgage debt in the US, totalling $5.4 trillion, about the same as the total US funded debt of $5.5 trillion preceding the takeover by the Treasury.

Because Fan and Fred guaranteed the MBS bonds they sold, and had the implied guarantee of the Government, they were effectively the owners of all the debt they held or sold, the entire $5.4 trillion. They held all of the risk. They had to continue to pay off the full value of all of the MBS bonds they sold, when defaults increased. So, they weren’t just a middleman, they sold MBS bonds as a way of raising more money, which they then put at risk by buying more mortgage loans, both prime and subprime.

When Congress created Freddie to avoid “monopolization” of the secondary mortgage market, Congress only managed to create two parallel, sponsored, and equally powerful entities. They crowded out any private standards in the mortgage markets.

My more detailed review of the news and facts about Fannie and Freddie is at We Guarantee It

Posted by: Andrew Garland at October 13, 2008 12:53 AM
Comment #266674

Pops:
A zookeeper leaves a gate open to the lion’s den at the zoo. The lion runs out and eats a child. Do you blame the lion for doing what is in its nature, the child for visiting the zoo that day, or the zookeeper for leaving the gate open?

Being a ex repub since the only true republican the party won’t even give the time of day to. That is Ron Paul. Now That would have been CHANGE!!!!. Useing the new librial thinking, None of the above are to blame. The one at fault is Bush, Thats Right!! That is because he didn’t fund an oversight committe to over see the zoo keeper actions, and not funding a daycare center that the child would have been safe in, instead of wondering around a zoo, which according to PETA would let all the animals wonder around freely eating everyone.
Just the new reality of Life and the future to come.
Papioscar

Posted by: papioscarw at October 13, 2008 4:19 AM
Comment #266677

papioscar,

You are of course using Republican logic. You must blame an idealogical bent rather than the proximate cause. Stop listening to Rush.

Ron Paul would eliminate zoos, children and lions, since these things are not based on the gold standard, and are not mentioned in the Constitution.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 13, 2008 6:50 AM
Comment #266685

@papioscarw

You said: “The one at fault is Bush, Thats Right!! That is because he didn’t fund an oversight committe to over see the zoo keeper actions”

The Executive (Bush) doesn’t fund regulators, Congress does. Congress DID set up a regulator OFHEO to watch over Fannie and Freddie, which it did. Then, the House Financial Services Committee ignored warnings by OFHEO.

The Senate committee on banking voted out a bill to give greater regulatory authority to OFHEO. Bush supported this bill. All Democrats on the committee voted against, but it was passed by the Republican majority on the committee. It went on to die in the Senate; the Democrats joined with some Republicans to prevent a vote.

Posted by: Andrew Garland at October 13, 2008 9:46 AM
Comment #266723

Andrew
What you are saying is absolutely corect.
Some of these postings read like a schoolroom lecture.
True as their logic may be, the retelling of history, etc.,
They do not offer a solution of the problems at hand.
The members of Congress are not fools when it involves their own backsides.
They are interested first in re-election and money.
This is rather a shallow view however when looking back over many years since 1950 one would be hard pressed to see any difference.
The amount of earmarks combined with lobbyists, an absurd five-year-old war in the Middle East and the total disregard for any intelligent oversight in banking, finance and spending leads one to demand change.
Not change for its own sake but real change.
Washington Congress will continue status quo as long as the voters continue to send the same tired hacks back into office.
It will be business as usual.
Those in office will teach the new arrivals how business is done in D.C.
We may have a new President, but will have the same old House and Senate.
To have real meaningful change we not only need to elect a new President but a new House and a new one third of the Senate.
Re-elect on one.

Posted by: S. Hollahan at October 13, 2008 3:52 PM
Comment #266779

Ben:

Kind of a new take on Kris Kristofferson’s Jesus Was A Capricorn. Interesting.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 14, 2008 10:18 AM
Comment #266793

Andrew Garland-
1)Do I consider a contradiction for some lenders to ignore qualified minorities, and others to cheat the same people? No.

As for them not profiting? Again, there is no contradiction between making money hand over fist and then suddenly cratering. They had a nice racket going before the collapse of the real estate bubble caused the speculators to hit a brick wall, and the wave of foreclosures from their draconian deals caused their separate secondary markets to seize up.

2)Did you even read my source, read my article? Yes, they took billions worth of such mortgage debt on themselves. But that’s not what got them. You see, the trick is, as long as the vast majority of people are making payments on the mortgages, they’re contributing positively to the bottom line of both the banks who sold them the mortgages and their own.

So, let me make this clear: not all subprime lending was bad! More to the point, the liberal laws and GSEs you’re badmouthing did better with their loans and were required to keep higher standards on them than the private lenders.

And, the private lenders, according to the facts I offered in my original entry, simply came to dominate the market, squeezing out the GSEs that once led. Worse, though, they were not so picky about who they loaned to, because the deregulated environment of Bush-era finance allowed them to get away with so much.

Unfortunately for everybody involved, the regulatory situation not only allowed them to create bad debts, but to put them into the market in such a form that nobody could tell the bad debts from the good, the solvent institutions from the insolvent.

Without such problems, the GSE’s wouldn’t have failed, because folks would have recognized that most of the mortgages held were good, and gone right on buying the securities. But now they are in doubt because they’re bundled with other mortgages of questionable values in these securities.

You focus on the GSE’s, but they are casualty, not cause. Take a moment and ask yourselves why AIG, Lehman Brothers and so many others are going out of business, if it’s all about bad debt. What we have is not a liquidity crisis, but a crisis of confidence in the solvency of lenders and brokers alike.

The reasons for that lack of confidence have more to do with the way non-bank lenders are regulated, and the trading of credit derivatives, than who the GSE’s were lending to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 14, 2008 12:11 PM
Comment #266987

Ok, we now know you work for Fannie and Freddie. The facts reveal that ACORN under the oversight of the Democratic Congress to pressure Fannie and Freddie to make bad loans including those that did not have a job to pay thier loans. The facts reflect that Obama was given more money except Democratic Dobbs for Fannie and Freddie. The facts that the money rich Obama that takes vacations on a private jet to a private island paid ACORN $800,000 this year along to help him win his presidential race. Before then, Obama gave ACORN millions.

Posted by: Doc Rene at October 15, 2008 7:18 PM
Comment #267025

Doc Rene-

Ok, we now know you work for Fannie and Freddie.

What a damaging charge to make. I really must lie down. Or maybe not. Trust me, I got nothing to do with them.

I’m not going to accuse you of working for these people,, nor these people. Those who were following this situation from the beginning know that it was the private market where this started, back in Summer of 2007. The Private Secondary market was capable of taking on bad loans that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were forbidden from taking on by law.

The choice of the particular boogeymen seems aimed at doing one thing in particular: insulating the Republicans from Responsiblity for the policies that really are germane to this crisis, particularly those of the Republican Congress and the Bush Administration. If it’s government being a moral hazard, you don’t need to reform Wall Street. If it’s ACORN, which seems to have replaced MoveOn.Org as the evil organization that controls everything, then it’s not Phil Gramm and his free market fundamentalist friends, who specifically prohibited regulation of the credit default swaps and the mortgage bond market. They did the same song and dance about regulations back during Enron. Every time events try to teach the Republicans a lesson nowadays, the party has an excuse to stay home from school. Maybe why they’re being sent home.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 16, 2008 12:09 AM
Comment #267037

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Comment #267064


Oh great, another organization connected to the Democrats that claims to be working for Democracy.

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