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U.S. Senate panel postpones bank failure hearing

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A Senate Banking Committee hearing to discuss the U.S. takeover of Fannie Mae FNM.N and Freddie Mac FRE.N as well as bank failures, including mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc IDMC.PK, has been postponed, a committee aide said on Wednesday.

The heads of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision were scheduled to testify on Thursday morning at the hearing on regulatory responses to bank failures.

A new date has not been set, a committee aide said.

Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said he was also planning to have Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who has been at the center of government efforts to quell the financial crisis, and Fannie and Freddie’s regulator, James Lockhart, testify on Thursday.

But according to the aide, Paulson and Lockhart will join Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox at a hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 23, to explore the turmoil in U.S. credit markets involving government-sponsored entities, investment banks and other financial institutions.

Hearings have been rescheduled several times as regulators deal with one big financial institution after another faltering from the downturn in the economy and housing market.

U.S. insurer American International Group Inc AIG.N> became the latest victim of the financial turmoil after mortgage finance companies Fannie and Freddie were placed under U.S. custody. Investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEH.N filed for bankruptcy on Monday.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Washington Mutual Inc WM.N, the largest U.S. savings and loan beleaguered by mortgage losses, has put itself up for sale.

Investors are nervously watching the fate of other institutions. (Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Megan Davies in New York) (Reporting by John Poirier; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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