The term "yield curve"-as Wall Street and fixed-income investors know it-may be changing forever. At least that's the dream of Fannie Mae, which this year started to build its own yield curve when it launched a noncallable debt program.

The U.S. government budget surplus created a market opening for the quasi-governmental agency, which is the largest buyer of mortgages on the secondary market, and which dwarfs most private companies. With the Treasury reducing issuance, Fannie saw an opportunity to attract investors interested in a large, liquid substitute for government debt.

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