Housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could do an about-face in a renewed effort to nurture the U.S. housing market and better serve consumers seeking mortgage loans.

But this time the move appears to offer greater benefits to lenders and borrowers than it does to Fannie's and Freddie's shareholders and the mortgage giants' bottom lines.

Melvin Watt, the relatively new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, on Tuesday outlined a new three-part strategy designed to make more credit available to borrowers. Watt's approach, offered during his first public appearance since taking office in January, reversed the agencies' previous mandates to reduce their roles in the mortgage market.

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