Posturing for Progress

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cover story Posturing for Progress Formerly in a spine-tingling slump, today's borrowers are bent on keeping their homes—and are finding relief in federal programs and other initiatives designed to help them do just that. By Chuck Green B eleaguered homeowners are getting a boost, thanks to a recent decision by the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) to direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to extend two programs that help troubled borrowers remain in their homes. These borrowers are also seeing some relief in the form of tax reform that will help put money back into their pockets as the economy works to correct itself. The realm of housing politics isn't perfect, but it is lessening the burden on homeowners. The FHFA announced both the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the streamlined modification initiatives will be extended through year-end 2015. Eligibility for HAMP was scheduled to sunset at the end of this year, while the streamlined mod mandate was originally expected to run through August 2015. This follows an announcement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that they are extending HAMP for non-Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. FHFA's directives make the extension applicable to loans owned or guaranteed by the GSEs. "One of FHFA's priorities is to provide assistance to struggling borrowers who are at risk of losing their homes," said Ed DeMarco, acting FHFA director, in a statement. "These extensions keep two . . . foreclosure prevention programs available to those who need them. The extensions also align the end date for three key assistance programs that were developed in response to the housing crisis." The M Report | 17

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