November 18, 2011 / 2:03 AM / 7 years ago

California attorney general subpoenas Fannie, Freddie: report

(Reuters) - The California attorney general’s office has sent subpoenas to Fannie Ma FNMA.OBe and Freddie Mac in a wide-reaching probe into the government-backed mortgage giants’ lending and foreclosure practices, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The subpoenas are seeking information about how Fannie and Freddie are handling thousands of foreclosed properties, as well as details about their mortgage-servicing and home-repossession practices, the LA Times reported, citing sources families with the matter.

California regulators are also investigating how Fannie and Freddie bought and sponsored securities holding toxic mortgages, and how their activities might have contributed to the wave of foreclosures in California, the sources told the LA Times.

A spokesman for California Attorney General Kamla Harris, Shum Preston, said he could neither confirm nor deny the report. Representatives for Fannie and Freddie were not immediately available for comment.

Recently, Harris has called on Fannie and Freddie to cut mortgage debt on the loans they own, in an attempt to help beleaguered California homeowners keep their homes. Fannie and Freddie have long resisted such a move.

“It has become clear to me that the only way to keep distressed California homeowners in their homes is through meaningful principal reduction,” attorney general Kamala Harris said in a statement on November 3.

The two companies have been propped up with about $145 billion in taxpayer support since they were seized by the government and placed into conservatorship in September 2008.

California has faced some of the worst default rates in the country in the wake of the foreclosure crisis, with two million residents who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth.

Reporting by Jessica Dye, editing by Bernard Orr

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