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.
Resident Scholar Paul Kupiec, Resident Fellow Alex Pollock, and Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies Peter Wallison speak on a panel for an American Enterprise Institute conference call about the four year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act.
The notorious Dodd-Frank Act set up the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), a committee of regulators, and tasked it with identifying and preventing the ill-defined threat of systemic risk. Join our keynote speakers and expert panelists as they address the fundamental problems created by these political constructs.
In the first world war, the US was “an enthusiastic provider of arms and a willing supplier of credit to the Allies”.Yes, it was. But the Allies then spent the 1920s trying to convince the US to forgive the debt. When it wasn’t forgiven, the Allies simply defaulted in the 1930s.
Viewing financial crises over several centuries, the great economic historian Charles Kindleberger concluded that they occur on average about once a decade. Similarly, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker wittily observed that "about every 10 years, we have the biggest crisis in 50 years."
In the housing shrivel inevitably following the great 21st century housing bubble, mortgage loans delinquent over 90 days shot up to their dizzying peak in the first quarter of 2010. More than four years have gone by since then; the housing and mortgage markets have recovered. But delinquencies are not back to normal yet.
What can we do to avoid a threatened restoration of the GSE ancien regime? Can the Fannie and Freddie situation be addressed before they arise from their near-death as dominating and pernicious as before? Yes, it can be.
The rising prices, in the cases of both housing and higher education, lead to cries that since the prices are now unaffordable, there has to be more credit. More (and more heavily subsidized) credit the politicians often enough deliver, and the escalation goes on.