Countrywide Financial Corp.'s controversial "VIP" mortgage program made 153 loans to employees of Fannie Mae, the federally backed financial institution that helped fuel Countrywide's growth, according to a letter released Monday by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Another 20 such VIP loans, which often provided mortgages on terms more favorable than those available to the general public, went to Freddie Mac employees, another big government-backed buyer of loans, the Issa letter said. The letter went to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the operation of Fannie and Freddie Mac. The letter is the latest salvo in a two-year-old investigation Issa has been spearheading into the Countrywide VIP program.

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