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Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Expand Refi Opportunities

Lawmakers introduced a new bill on Monday with plans to once more revamp the Home Affordable Refinance Program for current borrowers with eligible loans with ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html and ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/.

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Sens. ""Barbara Boxer"":http://boxer.senate.gov/ and ""Robert Menendez"":http://www.menendez.senate.gov/, among others, drafted the Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act to increase lender competition, open up refinance opportunities to all current borrowers with government-backed mortgages, and strike through appraisal costs and upfront fees on home loans.

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Menendez said in a statement that passing the bill ""will get rid of the red tape that leaves millions of borrowers... trapped in higher interest loans, put money back into the pockets of middle class families and strengthen our economy. I'm asking Republicans to join us in putting families first.""

If the bill passes the House ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô an unlikely feat, given election-year partisanship and unyielding Republican opposition ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô lenders will begin to compete more often with other lenders that typically face tough underwriting standards.

Underwater borrowers would also benefit from expanded eligibility. The bill would do away with equity thresholds responsible for encumbering borrowers, giving those most affected by the financial crisis and sweeping losses in equity the opportunity to refinance their home loans.

Borrowers with less than 20 percent equity on their homes would face lower upfront fees, and the bill would get rid of manual appraisal fees for those trapped in underwater neighborhoods.

This bill is a win-win-win: homeowners will have more money in their pockets, Fannie and Freddie will see fewer foreclosures, and the housing market and economy will be strengthened. That's why the Menendez-Boxer bill has such broad support from industry and consumer groups,"" Boxer added.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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