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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are a group of financial services corporations created by the United States Congress. Their function is to enhance the flow of credit to targeted sectors of the economy and to make those segments of the capital market more efficient and transparent. The desired effect of the GSEs is to enhance the availability and reduce the cost of credit to the targeted borrowing sectors: agriculture, home finance and education. Congress created the first GSE in 1916 with the creation of the Farm Credit System; it initiated GSEs in the home finance segment of the economy with the creation of the Federal Home Loan Banks in 1932; and it targeted education when it chartered Sallie Mae in 1972 (although Congress allowed Sallie Mae to relinquish its government sponsorship and become a fully private institution via legislation in 1995). The residential mortgage borrowing segment is by far the largest of the borrowing segments in which the GSEs operate. GSEs hold or pool approximately $5 trillion worth of mortgages. [1][2][3].



Congress established GSEs to improve the efficiency of capital markets and to overcome market imperfections which prevent funds from moving easily from suppliers of funds to areas of high loan demand. Presently, GSEs primarily act as financial intermediaries to assist lenders and borrowers in housing and agriculture.

In addition, the GSEs created a secondary market in loans through guarantees, bonding and securitization. This has allowed primary market debt issuers to increase loan volume and decrease the risks associated with individual loans. This also provides standardized instruments (securitized securities) for investors.

Ownership and implicit guarantee

Some of the GSEs (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until 2008) have been privately owned but publicly chartered; others, such as the Federal Home Loan Banks, are owned by the corporations that use their services. GSE securities carry no explicit government guarantee of creditworthiness,[4] but lenders grant them favorable interest rates, and the buyers of their securities offer them high prices. This is partly due to an "implicit guarantee" that the government would not allow such important institutions to fail or default on debt.[5] This perception has allowed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to save an estimated $2 billion per year in borrowing costs.[6] This implicit guarantee was tested by the subprime mortgage crisis, which forced the U.S. government to bail out and put into conservatorship Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac in September, 2008.

List of organizations





  1. ^ Federal Reserve Statistical Release
  2. ^ Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs): An Institutional Overview
  3. ^ Government-Sponsored Enterprises - Mercantilist Companies in the Modern World, Thomas H. Stanton
  4. ^ William Poole, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, GSE Risk, 13 January 2005
  5. ^ In 2001 the then-director of the Congressional Budget Office, Dan L. Crippen, testifed before Congress that the "debt and mortgage-backed securities of GSEs are more valuable to investors than similar private securities because of the perception of a government guarantee. . . ." CBO TESTIMONY Statement of Dan L. Crippen Director, Federal Subsidies for the Housing GSEs before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises Committee on Financial Services U.S. House of Representatives 23 May 2001
  6. ^ Congressional Budget Office and the Treasury Department estimate, quoted at: CATO Institute, November 17, 1997

See also

External links


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