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U.S. plan to save Fannie and Freddie
Paulson and Bernanke proposal would give mortgage finance giants bigger line of credit with Treasury and open NY Federal Reserve lending window

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney.com senior writer
Last Updated: July 13, 2008: 8:54 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve on Sunday outlined a comprehensive government plan to prop up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - the two mortgage finance giants that play a crucial role in the U.S. economy.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the Bush administration plans to ask Congress to enact legislation to temporarily increase the line of credit that the companies have with the Treasury. It would also allow the Treasury to buy stock in the companies.

Paulson also said the Federal Reserve should be given a greater role supervising the finances of Fannie and Freddie.

In addition, the Federal Reserve announced Sunday that the mortgage finance companies can turn to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for funds. The move gives Fannie and Freddie the same access to the funds as commercial banks and Wall Street firms. The agency granted investment banks such access earlier this year in the wake of a similar crisis of confidence when investors lost faith in Bear Stearns.

The decision by the government to step in comes at a tumultuous time for the two shareholder-owned companies, which own or back $5 trillion in home mortgages and are counted on to play a central role in the recovery of the battered housing market.

U.S. plan to save Fannie and Freddie - Jul. 13, 2008