Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 15:25 UK
US rescues giant mortgage lenders



The US government has taken over mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae - the two companies which account for nearly half of the outstanding mortgages in the US, and have lost billions of dollars during the US housing crash.

Key figures have been reacting to the move, which some have estimated could cost US taxpayers as much as $200bn (113.6bn).

HENRY PAULSON, US TREASURY SECRETARY

Hank Paulson

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are so large and so interwoven in our financial system that a failure of either of them would cause great turmoil, here at home and around the globe.

These two institutions are unique. They operate solely in the mortgage market and are therefore more exposed than other financial institutions to the housing correction. Their statutory capital requirements are thin and poorly defined as compared to other institutions.

Nothing about our actions in any way reflects the changed view of the housing correction or the strength of other US financial institutions.

BARACK OBAMA, DEMOCRAT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

Given the substantial role that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play in our housing system, I believe that some form of intervention is necessary to prevent a larger and deeper crisis throughout our entire economy.

JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

The long-term reforms are to scale down Fannie and Freddie so their size is no longer a threat. And then privatize them. Get them off the taxpayer's books entirely.

GEORGE BUSH, US PRESIDENT
President Bush


Allowing the companies to fail or further deteriorate would damage our home mortgage market, and could weaken other credit markets that are unrelated directly to housing.

Americans should be confident that the actions taken today will strengthen our ability to weather the housing correction and are critical to returning the economy to stronger sustained growth.

JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET, HEAD, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

We took note of the decision to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; it was a very important decision and... a welcome decision taken on account of the circumstances


MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S

It is going to cost taxpayers it looks like somewhere between $25bn and $50bn which is a lot of money, but certainly not as much as it would have been if these institutions were allowed to fail.


PETER HAHN, UK BANKING ANALYST

It will probably remind investors in the UK that housing prices have more to fall.

Many investors will likely want to see hard evidence of home prices bottoming before they jump back into stocks wholeheartedly.

They're also going to be asking what the government will do next to help distressed homeowners pay their mortgages and get people to start buying houses again.




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