Two senators who have taken the lead on legislation aimed to help homeowners refinance at historically low interest rates were blunt this morning about how concerned they are by the news NPR reported earlier this week that Freddie Mac "has placed multibillion-dollar bets against American homeowners being able to refinance to cheaper mortgages."
Freddie Mac last month said it would stop making risky bets against homeowners after concerns were raised by its regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The statement by the FHFA was issued in response to an investigation by NPR and ProPublica that disclosed how Freddie Mac bought billions of dollars in securities that turned a profit if homeowners remained stuck in high rate mortgages. The White House said the Treasury Department is looking into Freddie Mac's investments. Steve Inskeep talks with NPR's Chris Arnold and Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica about their report.
As Italy and much of Europe struggle with their finances, the city of Florence has staged an art exhibition looking at the critical — and controversial — role that financial institutions have played for centuries.
The recent Money and Beauty exhibit, held in the majestic 15th-century Palazzo Strozzi, illustrated how Florentine merchants got around the Catholic Church's ban on money-lending and bankrolled the Renaissance.
Freddie Mac, a taxpayer-owned mortgage company, is supposed to make homeownership easier. One thing that makes owning a home more affordable is getting a cheaper mortgage.
But Freddie Mac has invested billions of dollars betting that U.S. homeowners won't be able to refinance their mortgages at today's lower rates, according to an investigation by NPR and ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom.