The Role and Impact of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation


The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), commonly known as Freddie Mac, plays a pivotal role in the United States housing finance system. It provides liquidity, stability, and affordability to the mortgage market, ensuring that financial institutions have the funds to lend to homebuyers.

History and Background

Established in 1970 by the United States Congress, Freddie Mac was created to expand the secondary market for mortgages by buying loans from banks, thus allowing them to provide more loans to homebuyers. Over the years, Freddie Mac has evolved to become a key player in the housing market, alongside its sister organization, Fannie Mae.

Function and Role

Freddie Mac operates in the secondary mortgage market by purchasing, guaranteeing, and securitizing mortgages into mortgage-backed securities. This process provides lenders with the liquidity to make more home loans and helps stabilize mortgage rates and availability. While it shares many similarities with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac primarily focuses on buying mortgages from smaller banks.

Impact on the Housing Market

By providing liquidity to lenders, Freddie Mac plays a crucial role in influencing mortgage rates, availability, and home ownership rates in the U.S. Its activities have contributed to making home ownership accessible to more Americans. However, its involvement in the 2008 financial crisis, due to exposure to subprime mortgages, highlighted its significant impact on the housing market and the economy.

Regulations and Oversight

Freddie Mac operates under the oversight of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and is subject to regulations aimed at ensuring its activities contribute positively to the housing market. Post-2008 financial crisis, there have been significant changes in regulations to prevent future crises, including stricter lending standards and increased capital requirements.

Current Challenges and Future Outlook

Today, Freddie Mac faces challenges such as adapting to changing market demands, managing risks associated with loan defaults, and navigating regulatory changes. The future of Freddie Mac is subject to ongoing debate, with discussions around privatization, maintaining government sponsorship, or reforming its structure and role in the housing market.


Freddie Mac remains a cornerstone of the U.S. housing finance system, providing essential services that facilitate home ownership and market stability. Its evolution, impact, and the challenges it faces are indicative of its importance in not just the housing market but the broader financial landscape.