Fannie Mae is a congressionally chartered corporation which buys mortgages on the secondary market from Banks, Savings & Loans, etc. and pools them and sells them as mortgage-backed securities to investors on the open market. Monthly principal and interest payments are guaranteed by FNMA but not by the U.S. Government.
Fannie Mae was created in 1938 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The collapse of the national housing market in the wake of the Great Depression discouraged private lenders from investing in home loans. Initially, Fannie Mae operated like a national savings and loan, allowing local banks to charge low interest rates on mortgages for the benefit of the home buyer, this lead to the development of what is now known as the secondary mortgage market. Within the secondary mortgage market, companies such as Fannie Mae are able to borrow money from foreign investors at low interest rates because of the financial support that they receive from the U.S. Government. It is this ability to borrow at low rates that allows Fannie Mae to provide fixed interest rate mortgages with low down payments to home buyers. Fannie Mae makes a profit from the difference between the interest rates homeowners pay and foreign lenders charge.