Joseph A. Smith Jr., the banking commissioner for North Carolina who has been nominated as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's chief regulator, has pledged to maintain his independence if he is confirmed. Mr. Smith's comments came at a hearing held by the Senate banking committee on his nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Mr. Smith also said he would aim to end government control of the mortgage giants. "Conservatorship cannot be a long-term solution," Mr. Smith said. "Congress and the administration have important decisions to make regarding the future structure of the housing-finance system."
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