The Mortgage Wars: Inside Fannie Mae, Big-Money Politics, and the Collapse of the American Dream

Timothy Howard. McGraw-Hill, $22 (304p) ISBN 978-0-07-182109-4
Former Fannie Mae CFO Howard, who was fired in 2004 following allegations of accounting fraud, and acquitted of all civil charges in 2012, overwhelms the lay reader with this jargon-filled response to his legal ordeal. Backed by the government to bundle mortgage loans into bonds that allowed more banks to issue home loans, Fannie Mae was squashed by a deregulated banking industry in the 1990's on grounds "of ideology, market power and money." With great attention to detail, Howard charts business decisions over a five-decade span and leading up to the company's downfall. The book reads more like a record of his court deposition, often obscuring the company's true problem: "Small[er]…banks did not like [Fannie's] portfolio business because it competed with theirs" and very large, deregulated banks viewed their dominance of the secondary mortgage market as "a major impediment." Howard's trouble is that he knows the company so well that he writes solely from an internal perspective, and the lack of research leaves the machinations of its Wall Street strategies feeling vague. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-07-182110-0
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