The government takeover of mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could mean lower interest rates for many borrowers, but is unlikely to solve one of the biggest problems of credit crunch: the shrinking number of people who can get a loan in the first place.

Fannie and Freddie will be permitted to expand their direct investments in mortgage-backed securities from $1.5 trillion to $1.7 trillion over the next year.

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