The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA; OTCBB: FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, was founded in 1938 during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. It is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), though it has been a publicly traded company since 1968. The corporation's purpose is to expand the secondary mortgage market by securitizing mortgages in the form of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), allowing lenders to reinvest their assets into more lending and in effect increasing the number of lenders in the mortgage market by reducing the reliance on thrifts.
The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), colloquially known as Fannie Mae, was established in 1938 by amendments to the National Housing Act after the Great Depression as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Fannie Mae was established to provide local banks with federal money to finance home mortgages in an attempt to raise levels of home ownership and the availability of affordable housing. Fannie Mae created a liquid secondary mortgage market and thereby made it possible for banks and other loan originators to issue more housing loans, primarily by buying Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgages. For the first thirty years following its inception, Fannie Mae held a monopoly over the secondary mortgage market.
It was acquired by the Housing and Home Finance Agency from the Federal Loan Agency as a constituent unit in 1950. In 1954, an amendment known as the Federal National Mortgage Association Charter Act made Fannie Mae into "mixed-ownership corporation" meaning that federal government held the preferred stock while private investors held the common stock; in 1968 it converted to a privately held corporation, to remove its activity and debt from the federal budget. In the 1968 change, arising from the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, Fannie Mae's predecessor (also called Fannie Mae) was split into the current Fannie Mae and the Government National Mortgage Association ("Ginnie Mae").
Ginnie Mae, which remained a government organization, supports FHA-insured mortgages as well as Veterans Administration (VA) and Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) insured mortgages. As such Ginnie Mae is the only home-loan agency explicitly backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
In 1970, the federal government authorized Fannie Mae to purchase private mortgages, i.e. those not insured by the FHA, VA, or FmHA, and created the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), colloquially known as Freddie Mac, to compete with Fannie Mae and thus facilitate a more robust and efficient secondary mortgage market.
In 1981, Fannie Mae issued its first mortgage passthrough and called it a mortgage-backed security. The Fannie Mae laws did not require the Banks to hand out subprime loans in any way. Ginnie Mae had guaranteed the first mortgage passthrough security of an approved lender in 1968 and in 1971 Freddie Mac issued its first mortgage passthrough, called a participation certificate, composed primarily of private mortgages