Mortgage agencies showdown

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s raison d’être is to boost home ownership, hopefully benefiting the wider US economy. But critics claim that an impotent regulator coupled with dubious risk management are creating systemic risk.

Though it has apparently now avoided having to restate its results and the concomitant embarrassment of top executives being required to return performance-related pay, the vultures are still hovering over US mortgage agency Fannie Mae.

Last month, Fannie’s regulator – the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (Ofheo) – chastised it for improper accounting of its aircraft lease and manufactured housing-related assets. Beyond this specific failure to reflect losses, Ofheo hired Deloitte

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