March 30, 2009 / 4:58 AM / 11 years ago

Regulators see new role for Fannie, Freddie: report

The headquarters of mortgage lender Fannie Mae is shown in Washington September 8, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Reed

(Reuters) - The regulator of U.S. government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is looking at ways the two firms might help finance small mortgage banks hobbled by a dearth of credit, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The WSJ, quoting a Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) spokeswoman, said the regulator is exploring options through which the two mortgage finance companies might help revive the market for warehouse loans - a key source of funds to mortgage banks.

A detailed plan for Fannie and Freddie to help mortgage banks get credit should be ready to be presented to the FHFA within about a week, John Courson, chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told the paper in an interview.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized in September as losses at the companies mounted and a national foreclosure crisis deepened.

Reuters efforts to contact both companies out of regular office hours were unsuccessful.

Reporting by Vikram S Subhedar in Bangalore; Editing by Anshuman Daga

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