Policymakers are looking to revamp the nation's home loan system next year after the collapse of U.S. housing and mortgage markets spurred the current economic crisis.

Under one possible approach, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federally run companies that control half of the nation's $11 trillion mortgage market, would disappear, leaving lending primarily to private banks. Taxpayers would no longer be on the line for subsidizing home loans. But analysts say it could become much harder to get a mortgage -- at least one with a relatively low interest rate and a 30-year term.

Under another approach, Fannie and Freddie would remain. They could continue as private companies, trying to strike the difficult balance between the demands of profit-seeking shareholders and those of policy-oriented lawmakers. They could also be turned into government agencies. In either of these cases, taxpayers would remain potentially exposed to trillions of dollars in losses.

Washington Post