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Marti Pattinson

Housing Plan is Bold

RISMEDIA, February 20, 2009-(MCT)-President Barack Obama’s new effort to use Wall Street rescue money to halt the soaring rate of mortgage foreclosures nationwide encourages refinancing of homes that are now worth less than their mortgages and provides incentives for lenders to lower the debt load on struggling homeowners.

Obama’s $275 billion plan-announced Wednesday-doesn’t compel banks and other lenders to modify troubled mortgages. Instead, it provides a menu of incentives that may or may not prove sufficient in reaching the goal of helping 9 million homeowners.

“It’s a bold plan, and that’s encouraging. But at this moment, we don’t have enough detail, and unfortunately with the foreclosure mitigation plans, the devil is in the details,” said Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard University law professor who heads the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with monitoring use of taxpayer bailout funds. “There have been big headlines in the past, and the details never caught up with the early promises.”

The Homeowner Stability Initiative, unveiled in a rowdy high school gym in Phoenix, seeks to address one of the triggers of the global financial crisis: the 2.3 million U.S. foreclosures last year that are protracting the housing crisis and helping to drive down home prices across the nation.

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© 2009, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Published Friday, February 20, 2009 12:53 PM by Marti Pattinson

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