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Sept 19 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The New York Times business pages on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Top officials at the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve began discussing with Congressional leaders a plan to buy up large numbers of distressed mortgages held by ailing financial institutions.
* As the credit crisis on Wall Street moves to Main Street, borrowers are finding that the nation's lenders are tightening up in numerous ways.
* Putnam Investments, one of the oldest names in the mutual fund industry, said it was liquidating a $12.3 billion money market fund.
* As the rest of the financial community was scrambling to get its money out, a government-owned German lender gave Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEHMQ.PK LEH.N 300 million euros on the same day it filed for bankruptcy. The $426 million payment made by KfW Bankengruppe [KFW.UL] provoked an outcry across the political spectrum.
* Instead of writing off an unpaid portion of a mortgage debt, banks want homeowners to sign a note promising to pay some or all of the balance due after the home is sold.
* Sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East are still investing money abroad, but they are diversifying out of the financial sector.
* Morgan Stanley (MS.N) is considering its options to shore up its finances and calm investors, including a complex merger with Wachovia Corp WB.N.
* Edward Liddy, who was named American International Group Inc's (AIG.N) chief executive on Tuesday night, told employees that turnaround time was limited, but that the company's core units were strong and it should survive.
* Oracle Corp ORCL.O, the world's No. 3 software maker, shrugged off concerns that an imploding financial sector and slowing global economy would hamper technology spending while reporting financial results that cheered Wall Street analysts.
* U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne told a House committee that he might fire employees involved in ethics abuses at the agency, which collects oil and gas royalties, a week after the department's inspector general reported extensive ethics abuses there.
* With Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Chrysler LLC both unveiling new pickups in one of the weakest truck markets in decades, their messages are all about higher fuel economy and gas-saving features.
* Russian President Dmitri Medvedev pledged to inject almost $20 billion into financial markets in an effort to halt the free fall of the Russian stock markets.