Rep. Richard H. Baker said Wednesday that the Treasury Department no longer opposes his legislation expanding the mission of the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

"Without saying there is a piece of paper that we have both signed off on, there is a meeting of the minds as to where we should go and how we should get it done, and I hope to have that confected within the next week or so," the Louisiana Republican said.

The Treasury Department had criticized the bill because it would allow Home Loan banks to push beyond residential lending to rural and inner-city development loans. House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach has said a full committee vote will occur only after the department's objections are quelled.

Rep. Baker said his new bill would give regulators the power to stop the system from taking on "broader responsibilities than is advisable." However, it would still allow Home Loan banks the flexibility to offer new products, he said.

Rep. Baker also said the House Banking capital markets subcommittee, which he heads, is investigating reports that the Federal National Mortgage Association and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. have convinced the Treasury Department to water down its findings in a forthcoming study of their future.

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