Joseph Murin, the president of the Government National Mortgage Association, said he is interested in exploring rent-to-own arrangements to clear a glut of foreclosures.

Murin said last week that he suggested the idea to former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steven Preston and would take it up with the current secretary, Shaun Donovan, in a meeting this week. (Ginnie is part of HUD. So is the Federal Housing Administration, which insures most of the loans underlying Ginnie's securitizations.)

Some servicers have been exploring the possibility and want to test it, Murin said.

"Right now we're probably more inclined to look at other alternatives than we ever have before," he said. "I'm all in favor of finding ways to create revenue-generating assets, rather than let those assets pile up," because disposals of seized properties are slow.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are becoming large landlords under policies through which they continue to rent to tenants in foreclosed properties.

This month Fannie told American Banker that it would consider going a step further through rent-to-own agreements, which give tenants the option of buying the home at a preset price.

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