For investors looking to dun banks over poorly underwritten mortgage-backed securities, a flurry of government subpoenas may help guide the way.

On Monday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said that, as the conservator of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, it is subpoenaing loan-level underwriting and performance data from 64 security issuers and other entities. The agency said its goal is to "determine whether [private-label securities] issuers and others are liable" for losses on the two government-sponsored enterprises' investment portfolios.

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