A move to allow Freddie Mac to insure itself against the credit risk of low-down-payment loans has drawn fire from the Treasury Department.

In an Oct. 6 letter to Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader in the Senate, and Trent Lott, the Republican leader, Assistant Treasury Secretary Richard S. Carnell said the plan, which is attached to the appropriations bill for the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, should be subject to public hearings.

Mr. Carnell expressed concern that the plan would increase the concentration of risk, previously shared with mortgage insurers, reduce market discipline now provided by private mortgage insurers, and threaten the long-term viability of mortgage insurers.

The Senate is expected to vote this week on the bill, which was approved Tuesday by the House. The provision in question was added as a "technical" amendment at the urging of Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, R-N.Y., the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

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