Industry NewsMortgage

Some Democrats still hoping for mortgage-assistance program

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After nearly a decade of trying, Democrats will again push for legislation this year establishing an assistance program to help families on the verge of foreclosure make their mortgage payments for up to three years. The program, which would apply only to government-insured mortgages such as FHA- and VA-backed loans, would allow borrowers to keep their homes by making monthly payments not to exceed 35 percent of their incomes. The government would cover any additional amount owed to lenders for up to three years, at which time those receiving assistance would be expected to resume making full mortgage payments. Beneficiaries would be required to repay the program for the assistance they received, plus interest. Attempts to establish the program under the authority of the Department of Housing and Urban Development date back to 1998, when Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat representing parts of Chicago in Congress, introduced the Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Act, o...