Freddie Mac late Friday announced a warehouse lending pilot program to supply participating companies with standby commitments to buy qualifying loans in the event sellers or servicers cannot meet funding obligations or fail.

A source close to the situation said Freddie has been operating a version of the program since June. The warehouse provider participating in this test is NattyMac LLC. Freddie said prefunding reviews are required. Fannie Mae is working on a similar program.

"The warehouse lending industry has nearly exited the market, making it increasingly difficult for lenders to fund loans," said Freddie's chief executive, Charles E. Haldeman.

"We're proud to help bring much-needed additional liquidity to the residential and apartment financing community."

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