Freddie Mac had its second-best purchase month of the year in September, but it also revealed why it has been gaining market share on its chief competitor, Fannie Mae: it has been adjusting the guarantee fee it charges lenders "up or down relative to the current level of security price spreads."Sources note that in recent months it has been doing more business with some large seller/servicers that normally send more of their conventional production to Fannie Mae. A few months back, Freddie said publicly that it would change the way it does business to improve the price performance of its participation certificates, which compete against comparable Fannie Mae securities. Freddie bought $90.8 billion in mortgages in September, a 9% decline from the total in August, which was its best month of the year. Freddie's retained portfolio grew by $26 billion in September. For the year to date its portfolio has grown by 13%, but the company warned that growth in the fourth quarter will be "low." Freddie Mac can be found online at http://www.fanniemae.com.

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