March 1, 2010 / 9:09 PM / 9 years ago

Fannie, Freddie special refinance program extended

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Obama administration program aimed at helping homeowners whose homes have declined in value get new loans has been extended another year, a key housing regulator said on Monday.

A couple listens as a representative from Freddie Mac talks to them about a loan modification for their home at the National Urban League's Economic Empowerment Tour in Dallas, Texas June 13, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, a sister program to President Barack Obama’s loan modification effort, will stay in effect through June 30, 2011, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a statement.

HARP, which was scheduled to expire June 10, is aimed at allowing refinance loans for mortgages between 80 percent and 125 percent of the home’s value.

The housing regulator said about 190,180 mortgages have been refinanced since HARP was launched in April of last year. Of those refinancings, just 1,923 mortgages were between 105 and 125 percent of the home’s value and 188,257 were for mortgages between 80 percent and 105 percent of the home’s value.

The program is administered by Fannie Mae FNM.N FNM.P and Freddie Mac FRE.N FRE.P, the two largest providers of U.S. home loan funding.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest providers of U.S. residential mortgage funds, have refinanced more than 4 million loans while HARP has been running.

The announcement comes just days after lawmakers in both parties sharply criticized the administration’s efforts to help struggling homeowners, particularly the higher profile Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

“HAMP is not working,” Rep. Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat, told Phyllis Caldwell, chief of the Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office last week.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Domestic Policy Subcommittee, told Caldwell he was giving her “a wake-up call” to do more to help homeowners.

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, called the administration’s efforts to help homeowners “failed” and “misguided.”

Additional reporting by Al Yoon, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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