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Fannie Mae Queries to Go Straight to Top

January 30, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Fannie Mae Chief Executive Franklin D. Raines said Wednesday that he will begin personally answering questions on the company's Web site in mid-February in an effort to help investors better understand its financials.

Raines has argued that some analysts and media outlets don't understand Fannie Mae's interest-rate risk, leading to erroneous assumptions about the company's financial health. Concern over increased interest risk has attracted the attention of critics in Congress and pushed the company's stock to a two-year low in September.

"We want to answer questions directly, not filtered through [the media] or anybody else," Raines said in an interview after addressing investors at Salomon Smith Barney's Financial Services Conference in New York.

A name for the page on the Fannie Mae Web site hasn't yet been decided, though it may be some variation on "Answers from the CEO," he said.

The page will feature Raines' voice answering some of the most common questions he has encountered, spokeswoman Janis Smith said.

Washington-based Fannie Mae is one of two companies, along with its smaller rival Freddie Mac, chartered by the government to promote homeownership by acquiring loans from lenders.

The companies own or guarantee about 41% of the U.S. mortgage market.

Fannie Mae stock rose 80 cents to $65.50 in New York Stock Exchange trading Wednesday.

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