Freddie Mac says it will purchase up to $1 billion in tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds so that housing finance agencies in Louisiana and Mississippi can provide below-market rate mortgages and home repair loans to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita."We are committed to buy these MRBs at below-market rates so that as many as 10,000 low-income families affected by the disasters can rebuild their homes at the lowest rates available," said Freddie chairman and chief executive Richard Syron. The government-sponsored enterprise has been an investor in mortgage revenue bonds for some time. Freddie held $9.1 billion in MRBs in its $652.9 billion investment portfolio at the end of 2004. Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., a long-time GSE critic, welcomed Freddie's initiative to facilitate low-cost housing loans for storm victims. "Freddie Mac's announcement will certainly help," the Louisiana congressman said. Freddie Mac can be found online at http://www.freddiemac.com.

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