Those whose loans are owned or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which the government took control of three years ago. To qualify for refinancing, a loan must have been sold to Fannie and Freddie before June 2009. Mortgages that were refinanced over the past 2½ years aren’t eligible. Homeowners must also be current on their mortgage. One late payment within six months, or more than one in the past year, would mean disqualification. Perhaps the biggest limitation on the program: It’s voluntary for lenders. A bank remains free to reject a refinancing even if a homeowner meets all requirements.
Who will benefit most?
Underwater homeowners in the hard-hit states of Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada could be greatly helped. Many are stuck with high mortgage rates after they were approved for mortgages with little or no money as a down payment and few requirements. The average annual savings for a U.S. household would be $2,500, officials say.
When will it start?
Fannie and Freddie will issue the full details of the plan lenders and servicers on Nov. 15, officials say. The revamped program could be in place for some lenders as early as Dec. 1.