Nicolas P. Retsinas, federal housing commissioner and HUD assistant secretary for housing, has emerged as the point man in the federal government's politically sensitive efforts to push Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their business to underserved borrowers.

He is the first agency regulator to have at his disposal a comprehensive regulatory framework that Congress passed almost two years ago. It requires the two government-sponsored agencies to meet specific loan targets for lower-income and inner-city borrowers.

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