Alex J. Pollock is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies and writes about housing finance; government-sponsored enterprises, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks; retirement finance; and banking and central banks. He also works on corporate governance and accounting standards issues.
Pollock has had a 35-year career in banking and was president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago for more than 12 years immediately before joining AEI. A prolific writer, he has written numerous articles on financial systems and is the author of the book “Boom and Bust: Financial Cycles and Human Prosperity” (AEI Press, 2011). He has also created a one-page mortgage form to help borrowers understand their mortgage obligations.
The lead director of CME Group, Pollock is also a director of the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and the chairman of the board of the Great Books Foundation. He is a past president of the International Union for Housing Finance.
He has an M.P.A. in international relations from Princeton University, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Williams College.
This event will examine the complicated institutional structure and politics of the Fed and the fundamental changes from its original design, and will consider where governance of the Fed may go from here.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, operating entirely as an arm of the government, entirely dependent on the credit of the government, and getting huge subsidies and favors from the government, have begun making large profits, all of which they are paying to the US Treasury. Speculators in the old, junior preferred stock and common stock of Fannie and Freddie are objecting that this is unjust.
Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig are not suggesting a freer market in banking in their new book The Banker's New Clothes. They believe in future regulation which will somehow be more successful than all the regulation of the past, which has so notably failed to prevent, and often enough has helped cause, recurring bubbles, busts and panics. How plausible is their belief?
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp is proposing to tax all assets over $500 billion of big banks and other “systemically important financial institutions” (SIFIs). Two giant, hyper-leveraged financial firms are remarkably absent from this proposal: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The February 11 testimony of Janet Yellen, the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, to the House Financial Services Committee, described the Fed as “transparent and accountable.” However dubious a description this may be, four transparent intentions of the Fed did come through.