Posted on June 14, 2022

Fannie Mae’s New Racial Bias

The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2022

It was probably inevitable that the Biden Administration would enlist housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to advance its woke agenda, and now it has. Last week the government-sponsored enterprises released plans to promote housing “equity” that are chock-full of race-based subsidies.


The plans released last week might have been written by California Rep. Maxine Waters. Central to Fannie’s plan are “Special Purpose Credit Programs” that increase access to credit and encourage “sustainable homeownership for Black consumers.”

One program would assist black borrowers with down payments. Most home-buyers are required to put down at least 20% of the cost of a new home to reduce the risks of default. Fannie’s plan would effectively require taxpayers to subsidize down payments for black borrowers. Revenue that Fannie earns on its mortgage portfolio is retained as capital to protect taxpayers during a downturn. Under Fannie’s plan, some of that revenue would go to reducing down payments.

Another new program would reduce “loan level price adjustments” for black home buyers. Lenders typically charge higher rates for borrowers with lower credit scores, and Fannie says reducing them can “reduce obstacles for prospective Black homeowners.”

Still another program would “support the reduction of borrower closing costs for Black homebuyers”—for instance, via appraisal reimbursements. Taxpayers would help finance this “support.” Fannie also wants to help black homeowners avoid foreclosure by helping them “deal with unexpected expenses and repairs, or temporary disruptions to income.” This suggests that Fannie may now push into funding home repairs and welfare.


Today the GSEs are in relatively good financial condition but that could change if underwriting standards loosen. That’s what happened in the 2000s as former Rep. Barney Frank famously said in 2003 he wanted to “roll the dice” on subsidies for housing. They came up snake eyes for taxpayers and owners who borrowed more than they could repay.

Freddie Mac’s equity plan also includes credit programs to address “systemic barriers” to housing for minorities but at least tries to camouflage its racial preferences. Fannie makes its subsidies for blacks explicit, but they don’t appear to extend to other racial groups such as Hispanics and Asians. Low-income white borrowers are also excluded.