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Executive Perspectives Blog

This morning, Freddie Mac reported pre-tax net income of $6.5 billion for the third quarter of 2013, which is our eighth consecutive quarter of positive earnings and now the second largest in our company’s history. Our net income was $30.5 billion this quarter, while comprehensive income – which we believe to be the most important measurement of our results – was $30.4 billion. This includes a one-time federal income tax benefit of $23.9 billion.

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A fairly typical pattern for American households for decades has been much the same as my own experience. I grew up in an apartment (in New York City) and lived in apartments throughout college, graduate school, and my first few years in the workforce; my wife and I purchased our first house shortly before we had our first child. However, subtle signs indicate that a new pattern may be emerging.

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From a lender's point of view, one of the most critical needs for building a successful business in today’s mortgage market is certainty.

Lenders want greater certainty each loan file is complete before delivery. They want certainty borrower and collateral data are accurate. They want certainty the loan complies with the investor’s guidelines so, and most importantly, they have certainty the loans they sell will stay sold. Period! That’s why Freddie Mac’s Single-Family Business is focused on giving our customers greater certainty in every loan we buy or guarantee. We call it our Greater Purchase Certainty initiative.

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Remember last year when the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rate was an unbelievable bargain at just over 2.5 percent, the lowest in recorded history and about three-quarters of a percentage point below a 30-year fixed-rate loan? So everyone buying a house was getting a 15-year loan, right?  Nope. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages dominated – accounting for more than 85 percent of the home-purchase loan market in 2012.

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When it comes to mortgage credit risk, many policymakers today are searching for ways to shield the federal government from all risks short of a major economic catastrophe. They want to build a future system where private capital bears the risk of most residential mortgages, and have a federal backstop only in cases of emergency.

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Our Executive Perspectives feature insights from company leaders on key trends in housing finance and how Freddie Mac is supporting the nation's housing recovery.

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