WASHINGTON Officials at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac denied Friday that they are engaged in an attempt to win a 50% increase in the size of loans they are allowed to buy.
The denial was in response to a letter sent to Michael G. Oxley, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, from Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable, in which he expressed dismay over recent reports that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are seeking a 50% increase in their conforming loan limit.
Freddie spokesman Douglas Robinson said, We did not and do not deny that some communities would benefit from higher loan limits, but we are not lobbying anyone for them. Fannie spokeswoman Janice Daue said, There is no movement on Fannie Maes part to change the loan limits.
In an interview Mr. Bartlett said the letter was a preemptive strike and that he had heard about the effort from Capitol Hill committee staffers and analysts who follow the two government-sponsored enterprises.
Steve Wilson, chief of staff for Rep. Marge Roukema, R.-N.J., who chairs the housing subcommittee of the financial services panel, said that staff had heard about such an effort only in rumors. This has not been proposed and not been requested. We have heard that the request might be coming down the pipe, he said.
Calls to Rep. Oxleys office were not returned.
Several equity analysts who follow the GSEs said that they had not been notified of any attempt to raise loan limits.