WASHINGTON -- The government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was necessitated in part by Congress' inaction, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said today.
Perino said they had been pushing Congress for several years to establish stronger regulatory oversight over the agencies, which Congress didn't do until the housing bill was enacted last month.
'"It is exactly the kind of event we warned about and tried to prevent over the years," she said during her daily media briefing, according to a White House transcript. "Remember that we have highlighted the systemic risk posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because of the very large role they play in housing markets and because of their business practices."
In an interview set to air on Fox News tomorrow, President Bush said the action will "stabilize the markets,'' and "I wouldn't call it a bailout, I'd call it a stabilization.''
On Sunday, the Treasury Department through its Federal Housing Finance Agency, placed Fannie and Freddie into conservatorship and agreed to pump additional capital into the government sponsored enterprises. The government also replaced the top officials of both Fannie and Freddie.
During the first half of 2008, credit unions sold about 25% of their mortgages on the secondary market, almost all through Fannie and Freddie, according to CUNA.
Last year, they sold 27% of their mortgages in that market and in 2006 they sold 30%.