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Inside Washington (11/04/2008)
* WASHINGTON (11/5/08)--Regulators are hoping to increase participation in Hope for Homeowners by easing its standards. The program, which was effective Oct. 1, helps borrowers refinance mortgages that are written down and worth less than their homes (American Banker Nov. 4). Few lenders have applied for the program, according to industry representatives. The government could drop the required writedown to 3% to 5% below market value. Currently, lenders are required to write down a mortgage to 13% below market value. Regulators also could lower borrower eligibility requirements. Currently borrowers’ payment-to-income ratio cannot be higher than 31%. Observers also suggest that annual premiums could be cut in half, to 75 basis points ...


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