When the housing market began its epic and historic free-fall in 2008, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac faced imminent collapse.
Outstanding loan portfolios of approximately $5 trillion were in danger of default, and debate raged over whether to save the institutions that owned or guaranteed about 40 percent of all home loans and helped so many average Americans buy residences.
The Treasury Department stepped in with a major bailout that July. That turned out to be a vastly profitable move for Uncle Sam. And it has been paying off ever since.
"The most amazing thing is that the housing market not only survived, but thrived coming out of the crisis," said Jaret Seiberg, financial services and housing policy analyst for Cowen Washington Research Group. "What the government did actually worked."
But a decade later, the two are still under government control. Now the question is how to get them out.