Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Challenged In Rhyme

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Click book to watch video about the making of "Fannie and Freddie"

Click book to watch video about the making of "Fannie and Freddie"

Can you imagine mortgage providers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac gambling away homes in Las Vegas? Becky Dernbach can, so she wrote a book about it titled, “Fannie and Freddie.”

Dernbach, a Minneapolis teacher, wrote a book, in rhyme as in a child’s book, but with a very adult message. She follows the entry of banks into questionable home loans and the disastrous results that occurred. The national agencies Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac now hold 59% of home loans and they have been rigid and aloof about homeowner’s issues. In fact, they have refused to allow principal reduction as a way of recovering loans without foreclosure, even if the original lending bank wants to do it.

Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, is blamed for the intransigence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in dealing with problem home loans.

His stand triggered a reading of “Fannie and Freddy” by the author on DeMarco’s home front lawn on September 27, 2012. The police asked Dernbach and her fellow protesters to move off the street. Since there were no sidewalks, the reading and the protest were on DeMarco’s lawn.

As a member of Occupy Homes MN, Dernbach shared the frustration of foreclosed homeowners, particularly the Cruz family who were trapped by a bank error and found Freddie Mac impossible to deal with, in fact impossible to even reach for a conversation. One of many stories about the Cruz family carried by TheUpTake.

She said, “I was frustrated that when people talk a about the housing crisis they often talk about how it’s individual failures. ‘Oh, they should have paid their mortgage, they shouldn’t have taken out that loan if they couldn’t afford it.'”

She assembled a talented group of illustrators from Occupy Homes, including a choreographer, using cell animation techniques, a process popularized by Walt Disney and often used in movie production. The book was produced in two months! No small accomplishment.

They reused backgrounds with cutout figures moved around between pages to avoid having to draw an illustration for each page. Dernbach now has a box of Fannie and Freddie characters, Maggie McWhite, the story’s protaganist, bushes, money bags, playing cards, a bus and all the other elements they placed on the pages.

There will be an official book release party on Friday, October 19, 2012, 7:00 PM at Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minnesota.

For more information on the book, visit

Fifty percent of all sale income will be donated to Occupy Homes MN.

Becky Dernbach reading her book to Edward DeMarco

Becky Dernbach, Caylin Crawford, Connie Gretsch


Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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