- The Washington Times - Friday, March 26, 2010

Homeowners will get help with their delinquent mortgages, according to a plan President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Friday.

The administration — which has faced criticism about failing to slow foreclosures — is expected to adjust the Home Affordable Modification Program and Federal Housing Administration programs.

The changes will give financial institutions more flexibility in helping unemployed homeowners and those who owe more than their home is worth.

Roughly 15 percent of mortgages, or 7.9 million loans, were delinquent in the fourth quarter, according to a recent survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The group said the figures are the highest since it started the survey 28 years ago. However, the number of borrowers who were 30 days past due on loans was 3.6 percent, compared to 3.8 percent in the third quarter.

The U.S. unemployment rate is now 9.7 percent.

The White House says the changes will help responsible homeowners and enable the administration to meet its goal of stabilizing housing markets.

Those who owe more on their mortgage than their property is worth get a new loan backed by the FHA — a government agency that insures home loans against default. The change would be funded by $14 billion from the administration’s $75 billion foreclosure-prevention program.

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