Bush administration officials outlined to lawmakers steps they are taking to help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure, responding to criticism that the government's response to the credit crisis favors banks and financial institutions. At a congressional hearing Thursday, the heads of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency detailed approaches the government, banks and mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are taking to negotiate workouts with troubled borrowers or refinance them into more affordable loans. The Treasury Department outlined plans to use its authority to issue up to $700 billion in new debt to purchase troubled assets from banks to begin buying mortgage-backed securities and whole mortgage loans. The Treasury has come under fire from some quarters for first embarking on a $250 billion "recapitalization" of banks through the purchase of preferred stock. Sen. Chris Dodd, D...
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