The Senate has confirmed Herbert Allison by voice vote to be a Treasury assistant secretary and run the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which is providing loans and capital to stabilize banks, insurance companies and automakers.

The former Fannie Mae president and chief executive also will oversee the Obama administration's loan modification program. TARP is providing funds for incentive payments and to cover some of the costs of the modifications.

During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Allison told the Senate Banking Committee there is a "great deal of pressure on everyone" to get the Making Home Affordable program going. He stressed that efforts to reach out and contact troubled homeowners will be critical to its success. "People are fearful about losing their homes; fearful of contacting their bank or servicer to describe their problem — for fear that it is going cause a foreclosure on their house," he testified.

Prior to his brief stint at Fannie Mae, Mr. Allison was chairman, president and CEO at TIAA-CREF.

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