Fannie and Freddie: Jekyll and Hyde?


For many critics, watching the government pour more and more taxpayer money into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is like watching a slow motion horror flick. One critic likened the companies, which were seized by the government in 2008, to monsters like Godzilla, Frankenstein and Dracula.

The reality is a little more complicated -- but not by much. Fannie and Freddie are better summed up by another horror film cliche: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Like the dual-personality character in the Robert Louis Stevens thriller, Fannie and Freddie had two sides to their businesses. And, as the beleaguered companies come under increasing attack, it is useful to understand the differences.