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May 8, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - Congress should quickly pass legislation to make it easier for more homeowners to refinance their mortgages, a move that could help households save money on their monthly payments and boost the housing market, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said Tuesday. It's imperative to act soon so homeowners can take advantage of record-low mortgage rates , Donovan told the Senate Banking Committee. "There's a real urgency here because interest rates today are at the lowest level they have ever been for a 30 - year mortgage," he said.
March 7, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
Still searching for a fix for the housing market, the Obama administration is trying to make refinancing more attractive to hundreds of thousands of homeowners by significantly reducing fees on many government-backed mortgages. The changes could lead to a savings of about $1,000 a year on a typical mortgage refinance on top of the reduction in monthly payments from a lower interest rate, President Obama said Tuesday. "That would make refinancing even more attractive to more families," Obama said in announcing the Federal Housing Administration plan during a White House news conference.
March 6, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
Up to 3 million homeowners could save about $1,000 a year because of a reduction in fees, announced Tuesday by President Obama ,  on refinancing their government-backed mortgages. In addition, the White House said it was taking new steps to help military members whose homes were improperly foreclosed by large mortgage servicers. Among the steps, the servicers have agreed to conduct a review overseen by the Justice Department of all foreclosures of military members since 2006 to determine if they violated a federal ban on such actions for active duty service members.  Any violations will result in the servicer paying the military member's lost equity, plus interest, plus $116,785.
March 4, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Harney
The most ambitious federal mortgage program to date aimed at millions of underwater homeowners is poised to take off in the coming two weeks, yet some key issues could hinder borrower participation. One of them involves something most owners know nothing about: Who was your mortgage insurer on your underwater loan? Though it was announced by the Obama administration late last year, "HARP 2.0" — the second version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program — will finally hit full stride around the middle of this month, when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac finish tweaking their automated underwriting systems to accept applications, and lenders and mortgage insurance companies start handling large volumes of requests.
February 12, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Harney
Though it was pronounced dead before arrival by opponents on Capitol Hill, President Obama's new mortgage refinancing package contained far more than legislative proposals. In fact, significant portions of it that have received little media coverage require no prior approval from a hyper-partisan Congress and could begin affecting consumers within weeks. Here's a quick rundown on key segments of the housing proposals with a handicapping of their likely impact this year: •Going nowhere: If you've got an underwater mortgage that isn't owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the president's marquee proposal to help you refinance into a 4% mortgage is not likely to be of assistance.
February 4, 2012 | By Don Lee
For some time now, many economists have been saying that the nation's depressed housing market is the Achilles' heel of the recovery. And many struggling homeowners have been holding out hope for government relief. President Obama//// seems to be listening. In his weekly address Saturday, Obama called the housing crisis the "single biggest drag" on the economy and said he would follow through on his state of the union pledge to help more people reeling from the housing collapse (see video below)
February 1, 2012 | By Kathleen Hennessey
As the GOP primary brawl turned to Nevada, President Obama seemed to want to in on the fight. While the Republican candidates were still heading west, fresh off the Florida primary, Obama took direct aim at GOP front-runner Mitt Romney on the issue most potent to Nevada voters - foreclosures and housing. While not uttering Romney's name, the president called him out on a remark Democrats have been itching to use against the former Massachusetts governor. In October, Romney told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the housing market needed to "hit the bottom" before it could recover.
February 1, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
Distancing himself from Republicans on housing issues, President Obama pitched a $5-billion to $10-billion plan to help a key segment of struggling homeowners — those still making monthly payments, but on underwater mortgages. Obama proposed Wednesday to help about 3.5 million people with good credit who are unable to refinance at historically low rates because their homes are worth less than their mortgages. He argued that those homeowners — and the country — couldn't afford to let the housing market bottom out, as many Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have advocated.
February 1, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Lisa Mascaro
The White House hopes to help millions of homeowners lower their monthly mortgage bill with a $5 billion to $10 billion plan to set up a streamlined refinancing program for people who are current on their payments. The Obama administration on Wednesday released details of the plan, which President Obama announced in last week's State of the Union address. The new proposal also includes a Homeowner Bill of Rights that would call for access to simple mortgage disclosure forms, and protection for homeowners from inappropriate foreclosures.
January 26, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
Two new initiatives from President Obama to address the foreclosure crisis — more help for struggling homeowners and aggressive investigations of financial firms — face significant hurdles as the nation's real estate troubles linger in a volatile election year. A new refinancing plan that expands on an existing initiative would allow homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments to retool their loans and save as much as $3,000 a year on payments. This expansion would be paid for by a new tax on large banks that Obama originally proposed in 2010 that has gone nowhere in Congress — and is unlikely to be approved by Republicans facing reelection in the fall.
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