Fannie Mae is considering the head of a banking industry trade group and its own general counsel as possible replacements for departing CEO Michael Williams, according to published reports.

Citing sources familiar with the search, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Fannie's general counsel, Timothy Mayopoulos, has emerged as the leading internal candidate to replace Williams, who announced in January that he would step down as a successor is found.

A former Fannie Mae executive told ASR sister publication National Mortgage News that the White House has a list of acceptable candidates for the position.

Williams has been CEO since April 2009 and had previously served as chief operating officer for four years.

Recruiters have contacted a number of outside candidates, including David Stevens, the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, and Shekar Narasimhan, a mortgage industry consultant, the Journal reported.

Both Fannie and Freddie Mac are in the market for new CEOs. Freddie's CEO, Charles Haldeman, announced in October that he intends to step down some time this year. Fannie has hired the firm Heidrick & Struggles to head its search while Freddie has selected to Spencer Stuart to lead its recruitment efforts.

Mayopoulos has been general counsel at Fannie since 2009. He previously held the same post at Bank of America Corp., preceding Brian Moynihan, who later became the bank's CEO. With its 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial, BofA is now Fannie's largest customer.

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