David Moffett's departure from Freddie Mac only six months after being installed as its chief executive could reflect frustration with an increasing lack of autonomy for the government-sponsored enterprise, observers said.

Freddie and Fannie Mae, which were put in conservatorship in September, "are just increasingly arms of the federal government," said Bert Ely, an industry analyst in Alexandria, Va. The position may have been unappealing, because "he and the board also just don't have that much managerial latitude and strategy latitude, because of the very prominent role" of the GSEs in housing policy, he said.

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