Fannie Mae Charter

Fannie Mae Early History

The FHA Administrator chartered Fannie Mae on February 10, 1938. The impetus for creation of Fannie Mae was twofold: the national commitment to housing and the inability or unwillingness of private lenders to ensure a reliable supply of mortgage credit throughout the country. The primary purpose of Fannie Mae was to purchase, hold, or sell FHA-insured mortgage loans that had been originated by private lenders. After World War II, Fannie Mae's authority was expanded to include VA-guaranteed home mortgages.

1954 Charter Act

The Charter Act of 1954 provided the basic framework under which Fannie Mae operates today but did not remove it from direct federal control. The act removed government backing for borrowings used to fund Fannie Mae's secondary market operations. It stipulated that Fannie Mae be exempt from all local taxes except property taxes, and provided for the Federal Reserve Banks to perform various services for Fannie Mae.

Also defined the path by which Fannie Mae's secondary market operations would be transferred to the private sector: proceeds from gradual sales of common stock were to be used to retire Treasury-owned preferred stock in Fannie Mae.

1968 Charter Act

The 1968 Charter Act split Fannie Mae into two parts: Ginnie Mae and a reconstituted Fannie Mae. Ginnie Mae would continue as a federal agency and be responsible for the then-existing special assistance programs, and Fannie Mae would be transformed into a "government-sponsored private corporation" responsible for the self-supporting secondary market operations. The reconstituted Fannie Mae was to be stockholder-owned and managed. Fannie Mae retired the last of its government stock on September 30, 1968, and transformation to a government-sponsored private corporation was completed in 1970.

The 1968 Act provided the authority to issue Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS).

The Act also established a regulatory structure to ensure Fannie Mae's adherence to its public purpose. It provided for continuing HUD oversight of Fannie Mae, granting "general regulatory power ... to insure that the purposes of this Title are accomplished."

Emergency Home Finance Act of 1970

The Emergency Home Finance Act of 1970 created Freddie Mac and authorized it to create a secondary market for conventional mortgages. Parallel authority and limitations to deal in conventional mortgages were given to Fannie Mae.

To alleviate credit concerns raised by acquisition of conventional mortgages (that lack federal backing), several eligibility restrictions and/or risk sharing requirements were imposed on the mortgages Fannie Mae could buy.

The new law also required the HUD Secretary to provide prior approval of Fannie Mae's "purchase" or "dealing in" conventional mortgages (later interpreted by HUD regulations in 1995 to require specific approval of new and different conventional "programs").

Secondary Mortgage Market Enhancement Act of 1984
The Secondary Mortgage Market Enhancement Act of 1984 ("SMMEA") clarified and modified several of HUD's regulatory powers over Fannie Mae. It required HUD to respond within 45 days to any request for new program approval made by Fannie Mae under the Charter Act (with a 15-day extension permitted) and authorized Fannie Mae to purchase and deal in subordinate lien mortgages.

Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989

The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act ("FIRREA") of 1989 made regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac consistent. Until 1989, Freddie Mac was owned by the Federal Home Loan Bank System and its member thrifts and governed by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (later reorganized into the Office of Thrift Supervision). FIRREA severed Freddie Mac's ties to the Federal Home Loan Bank System, created an 18-member board of directors to run Freddie Mac, and subjected it to HUD oversight.

Also, the GAO and Treasury were instructed to conduct studies of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. These studies laid the foundation for comprehensive regulatory modernization for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 1992.

The Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992

The Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act ("FHEFSSA") of 1992 modernized the regulatory oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It created the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight ("OFHEO") as a new regulatory office within HUD with the responsibility to "ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are adequately capitalized and operating safely." OFHEO is funded by assessments on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and is authorized to act without HUD oversight on a range of regulatory issues enumerated in the statute. FHEFSSA established risk-based and minimum capital standards for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And, it established HUD-imposed housing goals for financing of affordable housing and housing in central cities and other rural and under served areas.

 

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