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Agency seeks homeowners who are current, but underwater


underwater

More than four years after the Federal Housing Finance Agency established a mortgage refinancing program, the effort has been losing steam.

Now the agency is looking for underwater but current borrowers, including almost 60,000 homeowners in the Chicago area, who are eligible to refinance their Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed mortgages to more affordable terms under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

With the unveiling Tuesday of a public service campaign featuring an HGTV personality, a new logo and website, and literature sent to participating mortgage lenders, the housing finance agency is trying to boost participation in a program that originally was scheduled to end this year but was extended until Dec. 31, 2015.

The government-backed refinancing program, unlike a companion program called the Home Affordable Modification Program, has not been as heavily marketed by the government, lenders, community groups and housing counselors because it is not for financially struggling borrowers at risk of losing their properties to foreclosure. Instead, HARP seeks to help frustrated homeowners stuck with higher interest rate mortgages who are unable to refinance because they have little or no equity in the properties as a result of declining home values…Please click here to read Mary Ellen Podmolik’s full story in the Tribune.

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