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History of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Conservatorships

On September 6, 2008, with the consent of both Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's (the Enterprises) boards of directors, the Director of FHFA exercised statutory authority to place each Enterprise into conservatorship. This established the two conservatorships in response to a substantial deterioration in the housing markets that severely damaged each Enterprise's financial condition and left both of them unable to fulfill their missions without government intervention.

The Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992 as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, authorizes FHFA as conservator to “take such action as may be: (i) necessary to put the regulated entity in a sound and solvent condition; and (ii) appropriate to carry on the business of the regulated entity and preserve and conserve the assets and property of the regulated entity.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has made commitments of financial support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the form of Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements.  Those commitments ensure that the Treasury will provide investments in the Enterprises so that each remains solvent and can continue to provide liquidity and stability to the mortgage market, despite its lack of risk capital.  FHFA publishes information on both draws against the Treasury commitments and dividends the Enterprises pay to the Treasury for its investments.

As conservator, FHFA has the powers of the management, boards, and shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to operate as business corporations.

FHFA is responsible for the overall management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and has informed the Enterprises which decision-making functions should be performed by the Enterprises' boards of directors and/or management teams. The boards and management teams must consult with FHFA and obtain conservator approval as FHFA directs. Overall, the conservator has ultimate authority over all operations of the Enterprises.

Initially, the conservatorships focused on reducing the Enterprises' losses, reducing their operational and credit risk, and stabilizing the mortgage and housing markets. Once the Enterprises returned to profitability, FHFA turned its focus to more long-term issues.

​Each year, FHFA publishes a Conservatorship Scorecard, which sets priorities and expectations for Enterprise activities. To provide further transparency, FHFA documents those activities as part of its public reporting.

Historic Documents Related to the Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

FHFA Conservatorship Information

Questions and Answers on Conservatorship (9/7/2008)

FHFA News Releases and ​Statements

Statement of OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart in Support of Secretary Paulson, Administration, and the Federal Reserve in Their Efforts to Stabilize the Housing Financial System (7/13/2008)

Statement of FHFA Director James B. Lockhart at News Conference Announcing Conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (9/7/2008)

Statement of FHFA Regarding Contracts of Enterprises in Conservatorship (9/7/2008)

FHFA Statement of Support for Multifamily Housing Finance Activities of the Enterprises While in Conservatorship (9/12/2008)

​Corrected Statement of the Honorable James B. Lockhart III, Director, FHFA Before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on the Appointment of FHFA as Conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (9/23/2008)

Corrected Statement of the Honorable James B. Lockhart III, Director, FHFA, Before the House Committee on Financial Services on the Conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (9/25/2008)

Conservatorship Financing

Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements

U.S. Department of the Treasury News Releases, Statements, Fact Sheets and FAQs


Paulson Announces GSE Initiatives (7/13/2008)

Statement by Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (7/11/2008)

Fact Sheets and FAQs

Treasury Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement (9/7/2008)

GSE Mortgage Backed Securities Purchase Program (9/7/2008)

Government Sponsored Enterprise Credit Facility (9/7/2008)

Frequently Asked Questions: Treasury Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement (9/11/2008)

​​U.S. Department of Justice

Letter to Treasury Secretary Paulson Re: Amended and Restated Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements between the United States Department of the Treasury and the Federal National Mortgage Association and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (9/26/2008)


​Page last updated: October 17, 2022