Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight

By
Real Estate Appraiser with TROESCHER & ASSOCIATES

OFHEO's Mission

OFHEO's mission is to promote housing and a strong national housing finance system by ensuring the safety and soundness of Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association)  and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation).  OFHEO works to ensure the capital adequacy and financial safety and soundness of two housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the nation's largest housing finance institutions. They buy mortgages from commercial banks, thrift institutions, mortgage banks, and other primary lenders, and either hold these mortgages in their own portfolios or package them into mortgage-backed securities for resale to investors. These secondary mortgage market operations play a major role in creating a ready supply of mortgage funds for American homebuyers. Combined assets and off-balance sheet obligations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were $4.2 trillion at year-end 2005.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are Congressionally-chartered, publicly-owned corporations whose shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Under terms of their GSE charters, they are exempt from state and local taxation and from registration requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Each firm has a back-up credit line with the U.S. Treasury.

OFHEO's oversight responsibilities include:

Conducting broad based examinations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; Developing a risk-based capital standard, using a "stress test" that simulates stressful interest rate and credit risk scenarios; Making quarterly findings of capital adequacy based on minimum capital standards and a risk-based standard; Prohibiting excessive executive compensation; Issuing regulations concerning capital and enforcement standards; and Taking necessary enforcement actions.

OFHEO is funded through assessments of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. OFHEO's operations represent no direct cost to the taxpayer. In its safety and soundness mission, OFHEO has regulatory authority similar to such other federal financial regulators as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The legislation that established OFHEO also requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to meet certain affordable housing goals set annually by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. These goals specify the share of mortgages that the two GSEs are required to purchase annually from low-income, moderate-income and central-city homebuyers.


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