Fannie and Freddie to the Rescue?
Hoping to speed delivery of its $150 billion pick-me-up for the U.S. economy, the Bush Administration reluctantly agreed to temporarily increase the size of the mortgages Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) can purchase, from $417,000 to nearly double that. Proponents of the shift hope that Fannie and Freddie—which together own or guarantee about half of the $10 trillion in total home loans in the U.S.—can unfreeze the market for those "jumbo" loans and kick-start the housing market. But for a variety of reasons, Fannie and Freddie may not be in position to cure the subprime mortgage mess.
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