"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in trouble. That much even the occasional reader of newspaper headlines knows. But who are they, exactly, and what have they done to prompt the federal government to announce it was standing by with a possible multibillion-dollar bailout?"
Non-traditional mortgage holdings by agency in 2008
"By 2008, the result of these government programs was an unprecedented number of subprime and other high risk mortgages in the U.S. financial system. Table 1 shows which agencies or firms were holding the credit risk of these mortgages- -or had distributed it to investors through mortgage-backed securities (MBS)-- immediately before the financial crisis began. As Table 1 makes clear, government agencies, or private institutions acting under government direction, either held or had guaranteed 19.2 million of the NTM [non-traditional mortgages] loans that were outstanding at this point. By contrast, about 7.8 million NTMs had been distributed to investors through the issuance of private mortgage-backed securities, or PMBS, primarily by private issuers such as Countrywide and other subprime lenders."