Freddie Mac is highlighting its role of providing liquidity to the conforming mortgage market on the company's Web site, characterizing its role as "shelter in a storm:"
Even when other lenders stop lending, we continue to provide a steady source of home funding. The benefits Freddie Mac provides are often taken for granted when times are good but are most apparent in times of crisis.
While also hinting at a lobby to raise its portfolio cap, Freddie provides a graphical history of rate spreads between conforming and jumbo that should raise a few eyebrows. While the current effective interest rate spread isn't as high on a basis-point level as, say, the 1999 currency crisis or the 2001 recession, the relative jump in spread from its previous baseline is clearly one of the largest jumps in two decades (if not the largest).