Wednesday

Federal Housing Administration Expands Mortgage Insurance

Borrowers who are as much as three months behind on their mortgages, have damaged credit histories and owe more than their homes are worth will now be eligible to refinance with a federally insured loan. The Bush administration will expand a program designed to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages into government-backed loans, but congressional Democrats want to go further. The expansion of an existing mortgage insurance program, called F.H.A. Secure, would help as many as 500,000 additional homeowners by the end of 2008. Under the program, FHA will insure loans with negative equity if lenders are willing to write down the loan balance so there is at least 3 percent equity for borrowers with two months of delinquencies and 10 percent for borrowers with three months of late payments within the previous year.

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