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Economic Quarterly

Fourth Quarter 2016

Private Efforts for Affordable Mortgage Lending Before Fannie and Freddie

David A. Price and John R. Walter

Prior to government interventions in the U.S. mortgage market during the 1930s, private institutions arose to improve the efficiency of the market and produce more affordable mortgage products. These institutions included mortgage companies that made significant use of mortgage securitization, building and loan associations, and life insurance company mortgage operations. These developments allowed for the creation of geographically more diversified mortgage portfolios while working to address the difficulties of maintaining effective oversight of local lending agents. They may be suggestive of types of private arrangements that could develop if government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were to become a less significant part of the modern mortgage landscape.

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