- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 18, 2009

Herbert M. Allison Jr., who has been chief executive of Fannie Mae since it was seized by the government last September, has been tapped to oversee the $700 billion financial rescue fund conceived to restore rattled financial markets, the White House said Friday.

Mr. Allison must be confirmed by the Senate before he can succeed Bush-appointee Neel Kashkari as Treasury assistant secretary for financial stability. In that role, he will be charged with overseeing several federal programs meant to improve the availability of credit, aid major automakers and boost the housing market.

Mr. Allison was named chief executive officer of mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae in September as the housing market soured and pushed the company and its sibling agency, Freddie Mac, to the brink of collapse.

He had spent more than 25 years with Merrill Lynch before becoming chairman and chief executive officer of the vast pension fund TIAA-CREF.

After six years as the head of TIAA-CREF, Mr. Allison retired in 2008 and was asked by former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. to become conservator of Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest source of housing finance.

In early April, Mr. Allison defended Fannie Mae’s bonus payments to several thousand employees as lawmakers on Capitol Hill were scrutinizing payments made to executives at failed insurance giant American International Group Inc. Both companies received billions of dollars in government bailout funds.

Mr. Allison has told Fannie Mae colleagues that his long experience and personal wealth have given him valuable independence when it comes to managing the nation’s largest source of mortgage finance.

He will also provide much-needed executive backup for Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who has struggled to fill top posts at the department as he deals with the financial crisis.

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