The regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday proposed affordable-housing goals for the two mortgage finance companies, changing the way it judges their performance to better reflect market conditions.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said in its proposed rule that it expects Fannie and Freddie "to continue to fulfill their core statutory purposes, including their support for affordable housing." The fact that the companies have been under government control since September 2008 does not justify the companies' pulling out of low-income market segments, the regulator said, though officials warned that they expect the companies to assess risk carefully.

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