The U.S. Treasury is expected to announce early Sunday afternoon details of a plan under which regulators will effectively take temporary control over government-sponsored mortgage investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie and Freddie's regulator, is to use its legal powers to put the companies under conservatorship. Those powers allow the FHFA to run the companies indefinitely, under certain conditions, such as when the regulator finds that they are likely to be unable to meet their financial obligations. Fannie and Freddie have run up combined losses totaling about $14 billion over the past four quarters and face heavy additional losses amid the worst surge in U.S. home-mortgage foreclosures since the 1930s.

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