The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is making
another attempt to reach homeowners who might benefit from its Home Affordable
Refinance Program (HARP). FHFA feels
that there are hundreds of thousands of homeowners who may not be aware that
they are eligible for HARP or that they could save two to three thousand
dollars on mortgage payments each year by refinancing through the program.
A new campaign launched today will
attempt to reach borrowers considered "in-the-money" through local community
leaders, faith-based organizations, elected officials, and lenders. The first in a planned series of town-hall
style meetings with local representatives is scheduled for July 8 in Chicago where
it is thought there are approximately 36,000 Chicago residents who could
benefit from the program.
FHFA Director Mel Watt will attend
the Chicago event at which Sandra Thompson, FHFA's Deputy Director for Housing
Mission and Goals, will moderate a panel discussion featuring Director Watt,
officials from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wells Fargo and a community leader from
Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Inc. Event attendees will
receive a dedicated toolkit specific to Chicago describing in greater detail
the elements of HARP and how borrowers stand to benefit from the program and
will be asked to share the information with area residents.
FHFA will announce future HARP
events in the coming weeks. The agency
is targeting areas which have the highest numbers of "in-the-money"
borrowers who have yet to take advantage of a HARP refinance. Borrowers
are considered "in-the-money" if they meet the basic HARP eligibility
requirements, have a remaining balance of $50,000 or more on their mortgage and
a remaining term greater than 10 years, and their mortgage interest rate is at
least 1.5 percent higher than current market rates.
"We know that there are
hundreds of thousands of borrowers who can still benefit from HARP and are
essentially leaving money on the table by not taking advantage of the
program," said Watt. "By engaging directly with local community
leaders, faith-based organizations, local elected officials and lenders, our
goal is to leverage these trusted sources to reach as many 'in-the-money'
borrowers as we can."
Toolkit contains a selection of fact sheets about the program and
aids to assist borrowers determine if they are eligible for the program.