In their search for ways to shift the credit risk of mortgages from taxpayers to the capital markets, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be overlooking important players: the lenders that make these loans in the first place.

The government-sponsored enterprises now share risk on about 90% of the balance of newly acquired 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, their core business. But so far, they are relying primarily on transactions that offload risk after they have acquired these loans, leaving taxpayers on the hook for a time. And the two biggest programs, Structured Agency Credit Risk (Freddie) and Connecticut Avenue Securities (Fannie), have a limited investor base.

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