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Fannie Mae

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E-Trade Financial Corp’s former chief executive, Donald Layton, has come out as the front-runner for the top job at Freddie Mac, which is a government-controlled mortgage-finance giant. Donald Layton met with Freddie’s federal regulator last month and is one of three finalists being considered for the job. The regulator met two weeks ago with a second candidate, Shekar Narasimhan, who runs a housing-finance advisory firm.

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The most recent urge by Washington, to extend the payroll-tax cut, seems difficult to be accepted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Macs’ regulator and a few others. The firms’ regulator believes that the payroll-tax cut extension will further complicate the possibility of fixing the failed mortgage finance companies.

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