The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has just instituted a final rule on the dollar size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's on-balance sheet holdings, also is seeking comment from the industry regarding what criteria should govern their holdings in the future once they return to health.

By law, Fannie and Freddie's portfolios cannot grow any larger than $850 billion, a cap that pertains to the last day of this year. After that, each must shrink its portfolio with the eventual goal of holding just $250 billion in mortgage-related assets. FHFA has published a list of 20 issues including "benefits and risks associated with mortgage portfolios" that it wants comments on.

Respondents have 120 days to send in their answers. Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the government in early September and continue to bleed red ink.

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