Freddie Mac this week combined several departments that work with lenders into a new division, the single family securitization group.

The group will handle all business dealing with the purchase and securitization of single-family mortgages. It also will contain the department that manages Freddie's automated underwriting system.

Freddie Mac is the second-largest mortgage investor in the nation, after Fannie Mae. Lenders either sell mortgages outright to Freddie and Fannie or pay the government-sponsored enterprises a fee to securitize the mortgages. The securities can be sold to investors.

Reflecting the growth of Freddie Mac's own portfolio and its importance to the bottom line, Freddie also elevated the corporate finance department, which manages the portfolio, to a line division.

"Our goals are to sharpen our focus on our customers, ensure the success of our ongoing efforts to bring innovation to the market, and better leverage the expertise and the tools we've developed to expand the reach of affordable mortgage credit," Freddie's president, David W. Glenn, said in a news release.

For now, the new unit is headed by John Fisk, who has been senior vice president of investor and dealer services at Freddie Mac. Mr. Fisk will work to establish the group's ultimate design and structure.

Freddie Mac is also searching externally for an executive to head the group permanently, a spokeswoman said.

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