Michael Mortara, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, died suddenly in his Connecticut home last Sunday. He was 51 years old. Mortara was recently named head of a new venture capital unit at Goldman and was also a member of the risk, management and finance committees at the firm. He was a key figure in the creation of Goldman s mortgage bond market, which he joined in 1987 as head of mortgage bond trading. In 1994, he was named head of fixed-income.Prior to Goldman, Mortara worked at Salomon Brothers for seven years as head of mortgage bond trading. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

The House Banking Committee will hold hearings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's business activities next year no matter who chairs the committee, according to Rep. Ken Bentsen, D-Texas. Although the Democrats do not set the agenda for the committee, Rep. Bentsen told an Exchequer Club meeting that the issue of "mission creep" will be on the table. "Are the government-sponsored enterprises in other people s businesses," Mr. Bentsen said, "or have other people's businesses come up to the level to where maybe the GSEs are no longer necessary in their current form, which I always thought was the real question we should be looking at." He noted that Rep. Marge Roukema, R-N.J., has the edge in becoming the next chairman over Rep. Richard Baker, R-La, who has pushed the GSE issue very hard. "The safe money bet is probably on Marge, but not by much," he said. He stressed that Congress has a clear role in reviewing the issue of mission creep. "It will force those who question the GSEs in some respects to come out from behind the curtains and really talk about the issues they are concerned about," he said.

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