Fannie and Freddie – a look under the lid

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The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page seems to have it in for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the shareholder-owned, US government-sponsored mortgage finance agencies. It has criticised their leverage, use of derivatives and risk management, causing them “headline risk”, according to Fannie Mae’s chief executive officer Franklin Raines. A particularly critical Journal editorial in early February, entitled ‘Fannie Mae Enron’, caused the agencies’ shares to slip briefly, though debt markets

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