All those Maes and Macs

In doing some research about loans and savings accounts, I became confused about all the “Maes” and “Macs” floating around, so I compiled a list that succinctly states their origin, purpose, and current level of entanglement with the US federal government. I hope this proves useful to anyone else who was as confused as I was at first.


“Ginnie Mae” (Government National Mortgage Association)
– federal corporation within Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
– split from FNMA (“Fannie Mae”) in 1968
Provides the only mortgage-backed securities formally backed by federal government.

This corporation is formally part of the US federal government.


“Fannie Mae” (Federal National Mortgage Association)
– GSE & public company (OTCBB: FNMA)
– founded 1938 as public company (part of New Deal), became GSE in 1968
Provides mortgage-backed securities.

“Freddie Mac” (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)
– GSE & public company (OTCBB: FMCC)
– founded 1970 as competition for Fannie Mae
Provides mortgage-backed securities.

Originally traded on the NYSE, these enterprises now operate under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) as of September 2008. This change was made as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis, and these corporations are now widely viewed as being virtually part of the US federal government.


“Sallie Mae” (Student Loan Marketing Corporation)
– public company (NYSE: SLM)
– founded 1972 as GSE, privatized in 2004
Provides college savings accounts and student loans (formerly federal loans through Federal Family Education Loan Program, but now private loans).

“Farmer Mac” (Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation)
– public company (NYSE: AGM)
– founded 1988 by US government
Secondary market for agricultural loans (works with US Dept. of Agriculture).

These companies have (or have had in the past) formal ties to the US federal government, but currently operate as independent entities.

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