Private Lenders Triggered the Financial Crisis

December 16th, 2010
in Background

Washington (McClatchy):  (Article appeared October 8, 2008.)  There is a conservative campaign on talk radio, television and e-mail that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans.  Commentators say that's what triggered the financial crisis. They've specifically targeted the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, contending that lending to poor and minority Americans caused Fannie's and Freddie's financial problems.

Follow up:

Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis.  Subprime lending offered high-cost loans to the weakest borrowers during the housing boom that lasted from 2001 to 2007. Subprime lending was at its height from 2004 to 2006.

Federal Reserve Board data show that:

  • More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.
  • Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.
  • Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that's being lambasted by conservative critics.

Here is a table from the McClatchy article: 

Subprime Underwriters

Read the original article..... 

Hat tip to Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture.

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