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Senate panel to vote on housing finance reform bill on April 29

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee said on Friday it planned to hold a formal drafting session on April 29 for legislation to wind down government-controlled mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Sen. Tim Johnson, the Democrat who chairs the committee, and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Mike Crapo, announced an agreement earlier this month on a draft bill that would create a industry-financed government backstop for mortgages.

The new entity would supplant Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy mortgages from lenders and repackage them as securities for investors, which they offer with a guarantee.

A spokesman for the committee said it was not clear how quickly the committee might be able to move to a final vote on the bill. Analysts say the panel's efforts are simply a step on what is likely to be a multi-year process in remaking the U.S. housing finance system.

(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)