Jeannine Aversa
Associated Press
July 14, 2008

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury announced steps Sunday to shore up mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose shares have plunged as losses from their mortgage holdings threatened their financial survival.

The steps are also intended to send a signal to nervous investors worldwide that the government is prepared to take all necessary steps to prevent the credit market troubles that started last year from engulfing financial markets and further weakening the economy and housing markets.

The Fed said it granted the Federal Reserve Bank of New York authority to lend to the two companies “should such lending prove necessary.” They would pay 2.25 percent for any borrowed funds — the same rate given to commercial banks and big Wall Street firms.

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