Bills Aim to Stem Home Losses

Legislation intended to stem the continuing tide of home foreclosures was brought to both houses of Congress in January.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, re-introduced a bill that would make it easier for home owners to refinance existing mortgages to net more manageable monthly payments. He proposed this bill, called the HOME Act, in 2009.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

“Like the HOME Act, Sen. Boxer’s bill would lower interest rates for millions of struggling home owners, lowering their monthly mortgage payments and giving them a fair shot at keeping their homes,” Cardoza said.

Both bills would allow home owners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to take advantage of low interest rates, Cardoza said.

There are about 30 million mortgages backed through Fannie or Freddie, and the potential savings from such a program could amount to a $50 billion reduction in annual payments, according to an estimate from Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase cited in a news release from Cardoza’s office.

The economy is directly related to the housing crisis, and recovery requires action to stop the “domino effect of foreclosures,” Cardoza said.

The program outlined in the HOME Act would be funded through new mortgage-backed securities and would have littleto- no cost to taxpayers, according to the release.

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