The fact they skip this little factoid makes you question the entire article.
A good example of that would be Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town - that was something that the agencies wouldn't issue a traditional mortgage for because it was underwritten with very little equity and at a relatively low debt service coverage ratio. That's really the prime example of where an apartment operator wouldn't go to Fannie and Freddie to get a mortgage at the peak of the market because they couldn't, because it didn't meet Fannie and Freddie underwriting standards. So they went to the CMBS market, and that's why, in my opinion, to some degree apartment CMBS has had weaker performance than non-apartment CMBS debt.
Uh, all the current problems aside, and even realizing that many (most) questioned the viability of the sub-1% cap rate trade of PCV/ST, the original LTV was something like 54% on the senior debt in question. That was not the issue. Further, guess who is exposed directly to the senior mortgage of PCV/ST, wait for it, wait for ... Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, of course. They bought up the A1A notes on the CMBS deals that contain the mortgage.
So, let's leave aside their multifamily "portfolio" lending for a second and focus on their CMBS-like exposure. Freddie has a multifamily shelf called FHLMC Multifamily Structured Pass Through Certificates, off which they've issued $7.7 billion since late 2006, with $6.6 billion of that done since the crisis began (they just closed a deal this week run by BankofAmerillwide). Fannie has their DUS program (Delegated Underwriting and Servicing) - I don't know how bit it is, but I'll take a guess it is $50 billion-ish, and I'd be surprised if I were off by more than 20% (sorry not more firm).
Finally, let's look at their actual exposure to pure CMBS Conduit deals. Since 2003, virtually every Conduit deal had an A1A tranche that was purposefully designed and pre-sold to one of the Agencies. Guess how many deals Freddie/Fannie bought virtually all of the multifamily exposure (approximately 16% of the total deal size) from? 221 deals worth $562 billion dollars!
The current outstanding balance of the A1A bonds on their balance sheets is approximately $75 billion (the factor is just 0.90838 because most of the underlying loans have not started to mature yet). In all fairness, the A1A does have a 30% subordination, giving them additional protection as well.
The Enterprises were part of the problem. They deserve no slack, and you especially can't congratulate them for "avoiding" the problems with the CMBS multifamily mortgages, when they were the only two companies investing in them!