The Senate has approved legislation that’s intended to revive the little-used Hope for Homeowners FHA refinance program by providing incentive payments to loan servicers and originators.

S 896, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, would also create a legal "safe harbor" for loan servicers who modify loans, protecting them from lawsuits by investors in mortgage-backed securities.

Loan refinancings and modifications are at the heart of the Obama administration’s "Making Home Affordable" plan, which seeks to help 9 million distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.

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