October 24, 2011

Whitehouse Applauds New Obama Administration Effort on Foreclosures

RI Senator Had Pushed for Action to Help Homeowners Refinance

Providence, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is applauding today’s announcement by the Obama Administration that the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) will be expanded to help more families avert foreclosure.  Earlier this month, Whitehouse joined a bipartisan group of Senators in writing to Administration officials to urge that they help more homeowners refinance their mortgages to reduce monthly payments and take advantage of record-low interest rates.  Whitehouse is also a cosponsor of the Helping Responsible Homeowners Act, which would have prompted similar action.

“I’ve heard from countless Rhode Islanders who have played by the rules and worked hard, but who are struggling to stay in homes that have seen their values decline sharply since the housing bubble burst,” said Whitehouse.  “Allowing more homeowners to take advantage of low interest rates and reduce their monthly mortgage payments will help more families keep their homes.”

Previously, the HARP was not available to homeowners whose mortgage exceeded 125% of the value of their homes.  In addition, related fees were preventing some homeowners from taking advantage of the program.  The Helping Responsible Homeowners Act, which Whitehouse supported along with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and others, would have removed the 125% cap, thus opening the HARP to a broader range of struggling homeowners, and would have eliminated or lowered certain fees – actions which were adopted in today’s announcement by the Administration.

According to Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi, these changes to the HARP could help as many as 1.6 million homeowners refinance their mortgages by the end of 2013.


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