Our Business Is The American Dream. Slogan de Fannie Mae
Je suis heureux d’annoncer que le premier trimestre de 1998 a été un succès pour Fannie Mae. (…) En mars, nous avons célébré le quatrième anniversaire de notre engagement d’un trillard de dollars, par lequel nous fournirons mille milliards de dollars en fonds de financement ciblés pour aider dix millions de familles à acheter leurs propres maisons d’ici l’an 2000. Plus des deux-tiers de nos affaires en 1997 ont servi les groupes visés par l’Engagement du Trillard de dollars, dont les familles à bas et modestes revenus, les minorités, les primo-accédants, les résidants des communautés défavorisées, et les gens aux besoins de logements spéciaux. (…) Je suis ravi que le Conseil d’administration ait unanimement choisi un homme que j’admire et respecte profondément, Franklin D. Raines, comme mon successeur, à partir du 1er janvier 1999. Avant son service exceptionnel à la nation comme directeur du Bureau de la gestion et du budget, Frank était notre vice-président de 1991 à 1996. En tant que chef dont les talents et la connaissance de nos affaires sont inégalées, Frank est la personne parfaite pour mener notre compagnie remarquable à ce qui sera, je le sais, un avenir encore plus radieux. J’attends avec intérêt de travailler avec Frank étroitement au-dessus du reste de 1998 et en 1999, car je continuerai à servir Fannie Mae comme Président du comité de direction du conseil d’administration. James A. Johnson (président « remercié » de Fannie Mae, le 31 décembre 1998)
Monsieur le président, nous n’avons pas de crise à Freddie Mac et en particulier à Fannie Mae sous la direction exceptionnelle de Frank Raines. Maxine Waters (Représentante démocrate, Commission du Congrès, le 10 septembre 2004)
Les politiciens qui dénoncent aujourd’hui le manque d’intervention pour arrêter la prise de risques excessive des années 2005-2006 sont ceux-là même qui ont bloqué le seul effort législatif qui aurait pu alors l’arrêter. Charles W. Calomiris et Peter J. Wallison
Attention, un Franklin Delano peut en cacher un autre!
Présentation des comptes biaisée, constitution d’une cagnotte, lissage des résultats annuels pour maximiser les bonus des dirigeants, renvoi de l’auditeur venu enquêter sur les comptes, dette de près de 1 000 milliards de dollars …
A l’heure où, notre Sarkozy national en tête, la France des Crédits lyonnais et des Arcelor est repartie pour un tour des plus échevelées diatribes sur les dérives d’un « capitalisme devenu fou » …
Un monsieur curieusement absent des pages actuelles de nos journaux et pourtant aux initiales déjà mythiques, un certain Franklin Delano Raines, ex-directeur du Bureau de la gestion et du budget de l’Administration Clinton puis PDG de Fannie Mae et tout récent et de plus en plus discret ex-conseiller d’un certain Barack Obama.
A la tête de la seconde institution financière du pays (juste après Citigroup), comme le rappelait Le Monde, il laissait derrière lui une dette approchant alors celle de l’Etat français, soit quelque 1000 milliards de dollars (qui rappellent étrangement… les 700 milliards que l’actuel Congrès à majorité démocrate vient de voter pour éponger les comptes!).
Et ce, grâce au statut, tout à fait singulier au berceau du capitalisme mondial, d’une entreprise à mission de service public (créée en 1938 par l’originel FDR – Franklin Delano Roosevelt – au lendemain de la tristement fameuse Grande Dépression pour assurer la fluidité du marché secondaire des emprunts hypothécaires et la distribution de crédits immobiliers aux plus démunis) et disposant donc de la garantie étatique implicite d’un statut quasi fédéral (et les subventions qui allaient avec comme son homologue Freddie Mac créée en 1968 par Johnson au lendemain des émeutes de Watts, ou les trois autres Government Sponsored Enterprises destinées aux agriculteurs ou aux étudiants), tout en maintenant la propriété privée obtenue 30 ans plus tard.
Mais aussi, profitant des remous suscités par un énième épisode des émeutes de Los Angeles et au nom même du « Rêve américain », aux méthodes et techniques financières alors les plus pointues comme la fameuse titratisation (refinancement des crédits immobiliers via leur revente au marché financier sous forme d’obligations émises sous sa signature).
Ou, sans parler de son armée de lobbyistes et de politiciens qu’elle arrosait généreusement (dont un certain Obama – numéro 3 sur sa liste ! – mais aussi, parmi de nombreux autres mais dans une moindre mesure, un McCain) et pour maximiser les bonus de ses dirigeants (90 millions pour le seul FDR en six ans!), au trucage enronesque des comptes.
Au coeur d’un scandale de manipulation comptable, l’agence américaine de refinancement hypothécaire Federal Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) a annoncé, mardi 21 décembre, le départ de son PDG, Franklin D. Raines, et de son directeur financier, J. Timothy Howard. Officiellement, le premier prend sa retraite et est remplacé pour un intérim par le vice-président, Daniel Mudd, et le second démissionne.
Ce départ secoue d’autant plus l’Amérique que la société est un des acteurs de poids de la finance. Avec un total de bilan de 990 milliards de dollars (740 milliards d’euros) et un chiffre d’affaires de près de 54 milliards de dollars, Fannie Mae est la seconde institution financière américaine, après Citigroup, et se place au vingtième rang des entreprises américaines. Sa dette s’élève à 961,7 milliards de dollars, presque autant que la dette négociable de l’Etat français, qui était de 787 milliards d’euros fin 2003. Surtout, cette entreprise, qui refinance les crédits immobiliers en les revendant au marché financier sous forme d’obligations émises sous sa signature, est un des acteurs majeurs sur le marché des emprunts obligataires.
MISSION DE SERVICE PUBLIC
Longtemps considérée par les investisseurs comme une institution aussi solide que l’Etat, Fannie Mae, comme Freddie Mac et Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB), est une entreprise privée entrant dans la catégorie des Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE). Créées par une loi, elles bénéficient d’un statut quasi fédéral, à la différence de l’agence d’Etat, la Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae). Ces sociétés ont une mission de service public qui comprend la fluidité du marché secondaire des emprunts hypothécaires et la distribution de crédits immobiliers à toutes les catégories sociales (agriculteurs, étudiants…).
A la fin du mois de septembre, l’agence de supervision des entreprises de refinancement hypothécaire, l’Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (Ofheo), a publié un rapport révélant des dysfonctionnements dans la gestion de Fannie Mae.
L’Ofheo a montré que la présentation des comptes a été biaisée par l’utilisation de méthodes contestables en matière d’amortissement et de traitement des produits dérivés, et a mis en avant la constitution d’une cagnotte.
Selon ce rapport, ces opérations avaient pour but de lisser les résultats annuels de l’entreprise et d’atteindre les meilleurs chiffres possibles pour obtenir aux dirigeants des bonus maximaux. Le document révèle également des manquements dans les pratiques de gestion du risque et de gouvernance de l’entreprise.
Sur la base de ce rapport, le régulateur américain des marchés financiers, la Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a ouvert une enquête formelle le 20 octobre, dont les premières conclusions ont été rendues publiques le 15 décembre. Le gendarme des marchés financiers américains a confirmé que les comptes de Fannie Mae sur les exercices 2001 à 2004 n’étaient pas conformes à la réglementation et lui a ordonné de les corriger, ce qui devrait l’obliger à débourser environ 9 milliards de dollars.
Le régulateur devrait étendre son investigation aux comptes de 1998 et de 1999, et la Cour des comptes américaine a ouvert une enquête sur l’auditeur de la société KPMG, que Fannie Mae a congédié.
Ces événements sont similaires à ceux qu’avaient connus Freddie Mac, qui s’était séparé de trois de ses dirigeants en juin 2003, et qui a, depuis, vu son titre progresser de plus de 37 % en Bourse.
Mardi, l’action Fannie Mae, qui avait perdu 20 % de sa valeur en quinze jours à la fin du mois de septembre lors de la parution du rapport, a progressé de 1,34 %, à 70,35 dollars.
Blame Fannie Mae and Congress For the Credit Mess
CHARLES W. CALOMIRIS and PETER J. WALLISON
SEPTEMBER 23, 2008
Many monumental errors and misjudgments contributed to the acute financial turmoil in which we now find ourselves. Nevertheless, the vast accumulation of toxic mortgage debt that poisoned the global financial system was driven by the aggressive buying of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The poor choices of these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) — and their sponsors in Washington — are largely to blame for our current mess.
How did we get here? Let’s review: In order to curry congressional support after their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac committed to increased financing of « affordable housing. » They became the largest buyers of subprime and Alt-A mortgages between 2004 and 2007, with total GSE exposure eventually exceeding $1 trillion. In doing so, they stimulated the growth of the subpar mortgage market and substantially magnified the costs of its collapse.
It is important to understand that, as GSEs, Fannie and Freddie were viewed in the capital markets as government-backed buyers (a belief that has now been reduced to fact). Thus they were able to borrow as much as they wanted for the purpose of buying mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. Their buying patterns and interests were followed closely in the markets. If Fannie and Freddie wanted subprime or Alt-A loans, the mortgage markets would produce them. By late 2004, Fannie and Freddie very much wanted subprime and Alt-A loans. Their accounting had just been revealed as fraudulent, and they were under pressure from Congress to demonstrate that they deserved their considerable privileges. Among other problems, economists at the Federal Reserve and Congressional Budget Office had begun to study them in detail, and found that — despite their subsidized borrowing rates — they did not significantly reduce mortgage interest rates. In the wake of Freddie’s 2003 accounting scandal, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan became a powerful opponent, and began to call for stricter regulation of the GSEs and limitations on the growth of their highly profitable, but risky, retained portfolios.
If they were not making mortgages cheaper and were creating risks for the taxpayers and the economy, what value were they providing? The answer was their affordable-housing mission. So it was that, beginning in 2004, their portfolios of subprime and Alt-A loans and securities began to grow. Subprime and Alt-A originations in the U.S. rose from less than 8% of all mortgages in 2003 to over 20% in 2006. During this period the quality of subprime loans also declined, going from fixed rate, long-term amortizing loans to loans with low down payments and low (but adjustable) initial rates, indicating that originators were scraping the bottom of the barrel to find product for buyers like the GSEs.
The strategy of presenting themselves to Congress as the champions of affordable housing appears to have worked. Fannie and Freddie retained the support of many in Congress, particularly Democrats, and they were allowed to continue unrestrained. Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass), for example, now the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, openly described the « arrangement » with the GSEs at a committee hearing on GSE reform in 2003: « Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have played a very useful role in helping to make housing more affordable . . . a mission that this Congress has given them in return for some of the arrangements which are of some benefit to them to focus on affordable housing. » The hint to Fannie and Freddie was obvious: Concentrate on affordable housing and, despite your problems, your congressional support is secure.
In light of the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, both John McCain and Barack Obama now criticize the risk-tolerant regulatory regime that produced the current crisis. But Sen. McCain’s criticisms are at least credible, since he has been pointing to systemic risks in the mortgage market and trying to do something about them for years. In contrast, Sen. Obama’s conversion as a financial reformer marks a reversal from his actions in previous years, when he did nothing to disturb the status quo. The first head of Mr. Obama’s vice-presidential search committee, Jim Johnson, a former chairman of Fannie Mae, was the one who announced Fannie’s original affordable-housing program in 1991 — just as Congress was taking up the first GSE regulatory legislation.
In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted a strong reform bill, introduced by Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and Chuck Hagel, and supported by then chairman Richard Shelby. The bill prohibited the GSEs from holding portfolios, and gave their regulator prudential authority (such as setting capital requirements) roughly equivalent to a bank regulator. In light of the current financial crisis, this bill was probably the most important piece of financial regulation before Congress in 2005 and 2006. All the Republicans on the Committee supported the bill, and all the Democrats voted against it. Mr. McCain endorsed the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor. Mr. Obama, like all other Democrats, remained silent.
Now the Democrats are blaming the financial crisis on « deregulation. » This is a canard. There has indeed been deregulation in our economy — in long-distance telephone rates, airline fares, securities brokerage and trucking, to name just a few — and this has produced much innovation and lower consumer prices. But the primary « deregulation » in the financial world in the last 30 years permitted banks to diversify their risks geographically and across different products, which is one of the things that has kept banks relatively stable in this storm.
As a result, U.S. commercial banks have been able to attract more than $100 billion of new capital in the past year to replace most of their subprime-related write-downs. Deregulation of branching restrictions and limitations on bank product offerings also made possible bank acquisition of Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch, saving billions in likely resolution costs for taxpayers.
If the Democrats had let the 2005 legislation come to a vote, the huge growth in the subprime and Alt-A loan portfolios of Fannie and Freddie could not have occurred, and the scale of the financial meltdown would have been substantially less. The same politicians who today decry the lack of intervention to stop excess risk taking in 2005-2006 were the ones who blocked the only legislative effort that could have stopped it.
Mr. Calomiris is a professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Wallison, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was general counsel of the Treasury Department in the Reagan administration.
Voir enfin :
« Affordable housing goals of government sponsored enterprises : hearing before the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development of the Committee on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, November 19, 1993″
STATEMENT OF JAMES A. JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF
EXECUTIVE OFFICER, FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE AS-
SOCIATION, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. Johnson. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Let me say first, thank you again for having this hearing and giving me the opportunity to appear before you. We at Fannie Mae deeply appreciate the committee’s thoughtful leadership on housing and housing finance issues in America, and your own lifelong dedication to providing decent, safe, and affordable housing for every American family.
The last time we were here, Mr. Chairman, you gave us some challenges. You raised for us and asked us to consider, and asked us to rededicate our efforts to dealing with discrimination in the mortgage finance system, and to focusing on the lack of consumer information to deal with the complexities in the mortgage finance system, and also called attention again to the problem that high closing costs and high downpayment requirements make it impossible for many people who have steady incomes and good credit histories to obtain mortgage finance.
Fannie Mae has been extremely active over the last 2 years in trying to make our programs for low- and moderate-income home buyers more effective. And I know in the written statement there is some detail on a variety of different things that we have done. But I wanted to assure you that through our Community Homebuyers Program, Fannie Mae, I work with HUD on the home equity conversion mortgage, I work with the Farmers Home Administration, I work now in moving into rehabilitation lending dealingwith the developmentally disabled, and a variety of other programs, including the further enhancement of our Multifamily Program. We have made enormous progress in the last 2 years.
We began with a $10 billion commitment to do new affordable housing efforts with low- and moderate-income families, and we have been moving along now very aggressively as we completed that goal in September to expand our program, expand our outreach, and continue to work on our products to make them more and more effective.
One of the things that we have continued to do throughout this effort is to make elimination of discrimination in the mortgage finance system the highest priority for Fannie Mae. We have had seminars all over the country. We have published a new guide. We have reinforced our policies and stated them many, many times in the clearest possible way, putting our company very directly and very firmly on the side of eliminating discrimination throughout the mortgage finance system.
The hearing letter that you sent just a couple of days ago, Mr. Chairman, asks us particularly to respond to the goals the committee has established for Fannie Mae, for this year and next year and beyond. As you recall, that was quite a dynamic process in the legislation. The committee said there would be interim goals for 1993 and 1994, required the Secretary of HUD to work on those goals, to also work with us on establishing regulations affecting the special affordable housing goals, and then as we go toward 1995, in many respects there will be new additions and new formulas which will come into play since the central cities goal will be adjusted to affect also rural areas and other areas of need, the special affordable housing goal will go to a certain percent of business, so there will be a number of changes as we go along.
I want to give you a preliminary report now. Even though we have just gotten the final regulations in October of this year, I want to give you a preliminary report on what we will do in 1993 when the year is over.
On our low- and moderate-income goal, which we are expected by virtue of HUD regulations to do 30 percent this year, we expect that approximately 34 percent of our business will meet that goal. We have been working very hard, building on the foundation that we put in place, and we expect that we will fund this year approximately 1 million families who meet the definition for low- and moderate-income families.
This, incidentally, as compared with 1992, will be an increase of 220,000 low- and moderate-income families from 1992 to 1993. In the central cities area, through HUD regulations, our goal for 1993 is 28 percent. We believe that we are going to be very close to meeting that goal. There are a variety of reasons why I can’t tell you for sure whether we will or won’t, that I will go into in just a minute.
But once again, to give you some notion of the scale of what we are doing, in 1993, we anticipate that we will finance homes for 840,000 families living in the central city jurisdictions of the 544 central cities in the 0MB list. That is up from 1992 to 1993 for central cities, that is up 180,000 families from year to year.
We also expect — once again, this is up in the air because of the nature of the regulations and some further redefinition and discussion we are having with HUD — we also expect that we will meet the special affordable housing goal for 1993-1994, and we expect that we will be well positioned to continue to meet that goal even after it increases substantially in 1995.
One other report I would like to give of a statistical nature has to do with our service to minority families. One of the things that is not in the goals of the legislation but is very important to Fannie
Mae is to make sure our continued outreach to minority families
In 1993 we expect that of the mortgages that we do, 13 percent of those will go to minority families. That will be 320,000 minority famihes who will be financed in 1993, and that is up 73,000 families since 1992.
So we are moving along with this process, and with these goals, building on our program of opening doors to affordable housing and also building on the instructions and requirements of the legislation of last year.
This has taught us a number of things, and I will just run through some of them briefly, because it is quite interesting for me and all of our people as we pursue our low-income lending, central city lending more aggressively.
One of the things we have discovered is that there is an enormous hunger for information among people who are renting today and who would like to move into the status of being a home buyer. We have learned a lot about working with cities and other political subdivisions. We have a new central cities cooperation initiative where we think working to the priorities of the cities and working with the city governments more directly is paying handsome benefits.
The data processing and the data collection process has been useful for us. We now know, Mr. Chairman, as a result of the committee’s work, we know an enormous amount more about what is happening in the mortgage finance system. Up until this year, we didn’t really have the detailed data that allowed us to tell you what we were doing in various categories. And as a result, once again, of the legislation of last year, we have sent new instructions to our lenders, and we now have dramatically higher quality data and better information about how to proceed and about who is serving whom.
One of the difficulties that we have discovered in the course of this year, one of the things that I present to the committee for your consideration, is that any time you are dealing with percent of business goals, there are issues that relate both to the numerator and the denominator. And this has been a particularly difficult year in that regard because of the level of refinances.
Almost 60 percent of our business this year has been in the refinance category. And, therefore, when you look at the work that we are doing with special programs in central cities, we find it is our experience that there is less refinance on average in central cities than there is in suburban areas.
So one of the things that is happening as a result of the percent of business goals at this time is that the denominator is growing very rapidly but we are not in a position through our special programs to grow the numerator quite as rapidly. That is one of the things I think will happen fi-om time to time as we see the market changing.
We anticipate there will be substantially less refinancing next year, and therefore we may have a benefit in the other direction next year as we look at this percent of business process.
One of the things that we are discovering from the central city goals is that central city boundaries are drawn very differently depending on where in America you are. So that central city populations, for example, in New Jersey — I just saw Congressman Klein arrive, and this I am sure will be of interest to him — but in New Jersey only 6 percent of the people live in central cities by virtue of the 0MB definition. And so there are definitional questions, where if you go to North Dakota, you will find that 52 percent of the people live in central cities.
Now, by any reasonable measure no one would say North Dakota is more urbanized than New Jersey. One of the things we will have to work through here over a period of time, obviously, is how to refine the counting processes and the relationship between the percent of business goals and the political jurisdiction situation.
One other issue that has become increasingly clear to us is that there has been increasing focus on the FHA over the course of last year in that some of the areas where we have been asked to pay special attention, there is also special attention being paid by the FHA. That puts a higher premium on our having an appropriate partnership with them to make sure that as they increase their programs and we increase our programs, we work in a complementary and effective way together.
We have a number of things now that we have learned, a number of benefits that we have seen, a dramatic increase in our activity.
Let me sav in closing just one word about the new regulatory environment that the committee has designed as of a year ago. We have had an opportunity on a number of occasions to meet with Ms. Alvarez. We have read her statements very closely and listened very closely as she has talked about her safety and soundness oversight. We are encouraged by her approach, we very much appreciated that dialog, and we expect based on the first stages of this that this regulatory arrangement is going to be a very instructive one from the point of view of Fannie Mae.
Now, if I might, just for a moment in conclusion, let me respond briefly to the article that you placed in the record earlier from the San Antonio Mexico Business publication.
One of the things that we have highlighted with the committee from time to time in the past is that Fannie Mae has assumed the responsibility or at least has decided over a period of time as a matter of policy that we should make what we have done in the United States with the mortgage finance system, in particular with the secondary mortgage market system of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, available on an information basis to people in foreign countries who are trying to establish a history of private ownership and an approach to home ownership finance that they believe would be constructive for their country.
As a result, over the past few years, we have done substantial advisory work in Poland, in Hungary, in Israel, in Turkey, a variety of other places, and we are now also doing that in Mexico. And it is quite true, as the article says, that a number of people in the Mexican Government have been extremely eager to visit Fannie Mae and to look at what we have done from a financing point of view.
But in many respects, the most important line of this article is — I won’t count which paragraph it is in, but let me just read it to you, because it summarizes our position. And that is, Beth Marcus of our staff says, « Fannie Mae has no plans itself to buy and sell Mexican loans, nor is it considering a charter change. » And I think that is the essence of the response that I make to you this morning.
We, of course, would be very happy to receive whatever guidance from you, Mr. Chairman, and the committee that you feel would be appropriate for us in regard to making our people available to foreign governments or foreign private sector individuals about the experience that we have had in the United States, but it is not our intention to buy or sell loans in Mexico, it is not our intention to take any risk of any kind in Mexico with our financial status, and we have been continuing on the assumption that because of the success we have had, that we should continue to keep our doors open to foreign visitors as they come and to talk to them about what we have accomplished through the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mechanism.
As I say, I would be more than happy to go into that further if you feel it would be useful. But thank you, Mr. Chairman, for having me this morning. Thank you and the others for listening to my remarks. I am very grateful to you.
Voir enfin :
First Quarter Report – March 31, 1998
Fannie Mae’s superb financial performance helps us fulfill our mission to serve America’s home buyers. We continue to demonstrate an unparalleled ability to translate steady business growth into a consistent increase in earnings per share. We bought or securitized more than $86 billion in mortgage loans in the first quarter. Our net income was $824 million, or $0.77 per common share, up from earnings of $794 million, or $0.74 per common share, in the fourth quarter of 1997.
Our rise in earnings per share was due in part to an increase in miscellaneous income of $27 million over the fourth quarter of 1997, as well as a decline in credit costs. During the first quarter of 1998, our credit loss rate declined to 3.4 basis points, and credit losses—foreclosed property expenses and charge-offs— declined by $1.5 million to $77.6 million.
Our net mortgage portfolio grew at an annualized rate of 13.4 percent in the first quarter of 1998. Net commitments to purchase mortgages reached a record high of $14 billion in March, signaling strong momentum for the second quarter. Mortgage-Backed Security (MBS) issues also hit an all- time high in March of $25 billion, and MBS outstanding experienced exceptional growth during the quarter, increasing by $21 billion to $731 billion.
One element of Fannie Mae’s success is its technology products, which are helping to bring the housing finance industry into the information age. At the end of the first quarter, more than 500 lenders were using our automated underwriting system, Desktop Underwriter. They processed more than 14,000 loans a day. Desktop Underwriter is now handling three times the number of loans it was handling on an average day at the end of 1997, and we expect it to help process more than one million loans in 1998.
Another element of Fannie Mae’s success is our access to domestic and international debt markets. In January, we launched our new Benchmark Note issues, which are designed to meet investor demand for noncallable securities of superior liquidity and credit quality. We expect demand for these Notes to increase as the move toward a federal budget surplus continues to diminish the supply of Treasury securities.
We also have demonstrated success in fulfilling our Trillion Dollar Commitment. In fact, through the first quarter of 1998, we have helped more than six million families and have provided nearly $500 million in financing. The amount of financing we have provided to minority families has increased by 38 percent since we launched the Trillion Dollar Commitment in 1994. While we’ve always known that this commitment was a formidable challenge, we are confident we will reach our goal of serving ten million families on or ahead of schedule, and will reach our goal of providing $1 trillion in financing on time or shortly thereafter.
By any measure, the Trillion Dollar Commitment has already transformed Fannie Mae and the housing finance system we lead. We continue to increase our local presence through a growing network of Partnership Offices. In February, we opened an office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and after completing our HouseDenver initiative one year ahead of schedule, we expanded our effort to serve families and communities throughout the state of Colorado.
A commitment to develop new products is a key component of the Trillion Dollar Commitment. In January, we announced a major national initiative to increase homeownership by providing consumers with a full range of affordable home repair and renovation financing options. Our HomeStyle America products give families access to home improvement financing to upgrade the home they currently own or to purchase a home that may need rehabilitation. HomeStyle Remodeler is designed for homeowners with excellent credit but little equity who want to make repairs to their existing home or a second home, giving them the chance to finance upgrades through a single, low-cost mortgage. To help families decide what is best for them, we also publish consumer guides that outline home repair financing options, and, through our MORNETPlus HomeStyle Assistant, Fannie Mae provides software that makes it easier for lenders to originate rehabilitation mortgages.
The Fannie Mae Foundation continues to be a source of invaluable information for potential home buyers. As of the end of the first quarter, more than 4.6 million consumers had responded to the Foundation’s consumer outreach advertising and had received information about how to buy a home. We expect to reach our original goal of five million responses by July 1, 1998, two and one-half years ahead of schedule. The Foundation will continue its consumer outreach, with a special focus on increasing homeownership opportunities for minorities. We are tremendously excited about its newly forged partnerships with Black Entertainment Television and Univision, which will provide viewers of these networks with advertising and special programming showcasing homeownership opportunities.
In April 1998, I announced that I would complete my service as chairman and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae at the end of this year. It has been a tremendous pleasure to lead this great company during the 1990s, and I am grateful for the trust Fannie Mae’s shareholders have placed in my leadership.
I am delighted that the Board of Directors has unanimously designated a man I deeply admire and respect, Franklin D. Raines, as my successor, beginning on January 1, 1999. Prior to his outstanding service to the nation as director of the United States Office of Management and Budget, Frank was our vice chairman from 1991 to 1996. As a leader whose talents and knowledge of our business are unmatched, Frank is the perfect person to lead our remarkable company into what I know will be an even brighter future. I look forward to working with Frank closely over the remainder of 1998 and in 1999, as I continue to serve Fannie Mae as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.
As we welcome Frank back to Fannie Mae, we also say farewell to two board members who have made significant contributions to our company. Dick Parsons is leaving the Board of Directors after nine years of service, and Antonia Shusta, after four years of service. Their positions on the board will be filled by Frank Raines and Ken Duberstein. Ken has enjoyed an impressive career in both the public and private sectors, and we look forward to having the benefit of his counsel and expertise.