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The Obama administration said Friday that will expand its signature foreclosure-prevention program to try to help those with heavy debt loads avoid losing their homes.
The Home Affordable Modification Program will also be extended through 2013.
The government will triple the financial incentives for private lenders to reduce the principal amount of mortgages for homeowners at risk of losing their homes. And for the first time, the government will offer incentives for principal reductions to government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The three-year old program has strived to help those at risk of foreclosure lower their monthly payments. But it has failed to help more than half of those who have applied lower their payments on a permanent basis. Many have complained that the program is a bureaucratic nightmare.
The government has tried several different approaches to help struggling homeowners.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama said many Americans have suffered steep losses because of the housing crisis. And while he didn’t address the criticism of his administration’s efforts, Obama suggested the government could do a better job.
“While government can’t fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief,” Obama said in his speech.