In Letter to the President, Senators Call for Easy-to-Understand Advice for Homeowners on How They Can Refinance at a Lower Rate
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today praised the Administration’s announcement of new steps to help homeowners refinance and urged President Obama to make sure homeowners receive clear, easy-to-understand guidance so they can determine if the new rules will help them qualify to refinance at today’s historically low interest rates.
In a letter to President Obama, Senators Boxer and Isakson wrote, “We encourage your Administration to act swiftly to implement the refinancing plan, and to do so in a way that will make it simple for the millions of eligible homeowners to find out if they qualify and what they have to do to lower their payments.”
The reforms announced yesterday by President Obama and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) are aimed at helping the millions of borrowers with non-delinquent Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-backed mortgages. The changes include eliminating risk-based fees on loans for which Fannie and Freddie already bear the risk and removing refinancing limits on underwater properties.
Senators Boxer and Isakson have been urging the administration to take these steps, which they proposed as part of their bipartisan Helping Responsible Homeowners Act. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, has estimated that the changes could help an additional 1.6 million homeowners refinance by the end of 2013. By refinancing at today’s low rates, the average homeowner – with a $150,000 loan – could save $1,600 a year.
The full text of the letter follows:
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
We are very pleased that you have moved forward with efforts to expand refinancing opportunities for American homeowners with a policy that draws from our bipartisan Helping Responsible Homeowners Act.
Yesterday’s announcement means that responsible homeowners who have continued to pay their mortgages every month despite falling home values will be able to refinance at historically low rates. These changes not only will help homeowners and stabilize neighborhoods, they also will give a boost to the economy as homeowners will have more money to spend in their communities.
We encourage your Administration to act swiftly to implement the refinancing plan, and to do so in a way that will make it simple for the millions of eligible homeowners to find out if they qualify and what they have to do to lower their payments.
We will continue to work with your Administration to take further steps to stabilize the housing market, which is so critical to our nation’s economic recovery.
United States Senator
cc: Timothy Geithner, Secretary, United States Department of the Treasury
Shaun Donovan, Secretary, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Gene Sperling, Director, National Economic Council
Edward DeMarco, Acting Director, Federal Housing Finance Agency