Report: Consumer Protection

No More Excuses from the Banks:

Take the Lid Off Refinances
Released by: CALPIRG

Too often homeowners—even those who pay their mortgage on time every month —encounter unnecessary obstacles such as paperwork, high fees and restrictive requirements when they try to refinance into today’s lower interest rates. This results in a needless drain on family income and a continuing drag on the housing market. Senate bill S. 3085, introduced by Senators Menendez and Boxer, would expand and simplify the HARP program to help more homeowners refinance their mortgage by:

•    Eliminating loan-to-value restrictions and allowing all loans guaranteed or owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to be refinanced if the mortgage is current.
•    Waiving various refinancing fees.
•    Discouraging second lien holders from blocking refinances.
Two other proposed bills also would expand refinance opportunities: S. 2909 would cover closing costs for eligible borrowers who refinance into a shorter-term mortgage under HARP, and S. 3407 would allow more homeowners who have private mortgages the chance to refinance mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  

Corporations have acted quickly to refinance their debt. By moving quickly to pass these Senate bills, Congress would make refinances more accessible to ordinary families and reduce foreclosures. It’s time for homeowners to get a break.

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