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Faster loan modifications gets House panel look
WASHINGTON (12/3/07)—The House Financial Services Committee announced it will take an overall look at recent proposal to improve the pace and volume of subprime mortgage loan modifications that are meant to help troubled borrowers hang onto to their homes purchased with hybrid ARMs and other nontraditional loans. The committee intends to examine whether the current approach by mortgage servicers and lenders to look at loans on a case-by-case basis may be slowing the pace and limiting the number of loan workout agreements. The Dec. 6 hearing is entitled “Accelerating Loan Modifications, Improving Foreclosure Prevention and Enhancing Enforcement.” The hearing will also address specific issues arising from House consideration of H.R. 3915, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, which was Nov. 16. According to a committee release, the lawmakers will focus in particular on:
* A proposal to provide a safe harbor from legal liability for mortgage market participants who modify mortgage loans according to certain criteria; and * A proposal to add civil monetary penalties for a “pattern and practice” of violations of the bill’s basic lending standards.
The committee had not yet announced its scheduled witnesses.


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