Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, now practically owned by the federal government, are trying to jump start both retail mortgage lending and loan securitization. Many analysts blame the lack of retail lending on the nearly complete halt in securitizations, the practice of investors buying packages of loans from banks. In late November, the Federal Reserve announced plans to set up a $600 million lending facility to spur purchases of pools of mortgage and small business loans, essentially buying mortgages directly from Fannie and Freddie. Fannie and Freddie are said by Treasury to be considering a mortgage modification program, offering 30-year mortgages at 4.5 percent, a full point lower than current rates. The Fed's December 16 rate cut should further encourage lending.