In remarks before the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan urged lawmakers to curtail the portfolios of mortgage concerns Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, stating that stronger regulation may not be sufficient. "Without restrictions on the size of balance sheets, we put at risk our ability to preserve safe and sound financial markets in the United States, a key ingredient of support for home ownership,'' Greenspan said. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the first and second largest buyers and guarantors of home mortgages, respectively. However, both became embroiled in billion-dollar accounting scandals over the past year, prompting many to call for tighter regulation of the concerns. Fannie Mae, for example, said that it would need to restate earnings by at least $8.4 billion. And earlier this week, Armando Falcon -- director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, the agency that oversees both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- said that he would step down May 20. Falcon's resignation letter to President Bush comes as lawmakers have introduced legislation that would shutter OFHEO and create a stronger overseer for both.
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