The Federal Reserve bailed out Bear Stearns on March 14, nine years ago. What has the Fed learned from that mistake? Not enough, perhaps.
A little understood part of the Bear story is that in March 2008, the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, ignored critical facts concerning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Unfortunately, the Fed may be making the exact same mistake today.
Bear’s problems came from excessive investment in bonds based on subprime mortgages, which carry greater risk for one or more reasons, such as the borrower’s poor credit rating. Fannie and Freddie were the principal housing lenders, having been organized as “Government Sponsored Enterprises” or “GSEs,” and they were responsible for the creation of much of the subprime mortgages.