Oonagh McDonald is a former UK Member of Parliament, a board member of the Financial Services Authority, an international regulatory expert and the author of several books, including Retail Banking in Europe: a view from the top (2002). As a director of various companies and regulatory bodies, she has in-depth experience of financial regulation, and was awarded the CBE in 1998 for her contribution to financial regulation and business.
The purpose of this book is to examine the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the financial crisis. First of all, it will explain their role in public policy and in the provision of mortgage financing for housing, as envisaged originally and subsequently. The aim will not be to examine this throughout the decades since the establishment of Fannie Mae in the 30s, but to highlight their role in the 90s as a result of political decisions, focusing on mortgage lending. Politicians found it easier to encourage/oblige them to comply, partly as a result of political appointees in senior executive and board positions. It is worth looking at the experience and skills which the appointees brought to these roles and the effects of possible lack of relevant experience in running these institutions, as well as changes in the legislative framework and the ways in which this affected bank lending. The former may explain the accounting scandals at both organizations in 2004 and 2005. Despite such very public problems, these government sponsored enterprises were able to engage in extensive lobbying throughout most of this decade. The effects of all these factors, including the lack of oversight of these two institutions and the political drive to increase home ownership, whatever the costs, should be seen as the seeds of the subsequent financial crisis. e lobbying, which had an impact on the light touch oversight. The outcome for the banking sector, for the many individuals who took out mortgages, and especially for politicians and public policy will be spelt out and the lessons to be learnt, from following expedient and probably self-serving political aims.
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More Information can be found from Larry Parks HR1098 Congressional Testimony 9-13-11
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