Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have relaxed rules that would have kept banks from approving mortgages during the government shutdown.
Typically, Fannie and Freddie require lenders to verify a borrower's income with the Internal Revenue Service before closing on a mortgage. But last week, some lenders reported that they could not approve the mortgages because the shutdown had severely curtailed IRS operations.
The government-backed mortgage giants have since said lenders could continue to issue new loans even without the IRS's confirmation.
... and around the world
China and Japan, which hold a combined $2.4 trillion in U.S. debt, have called for a quick resolution to the crisis and expressed worries about the economic consequences of a default.
In the first official response by China, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said that a solution must be found quickly in order to "ensure the safety of Chinese investments" and provide stability for economies around the globe.
A senior Japanese official, speaking to the Financial Times, said that country's Ministry of Finance is "very worried," and cited the market turmoil and "chaos" brought on by the failed House vote to authorize bank bailout funds in 2008.