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Bush Bails Out Mortgage Foreclosures


President Bush sought to put the brakes on nation's growing number of mortgage foreclosures, relaxing the terms under which homeowners can refinance through the Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance program.

Offering federal aid for strapped mortgage holders, President Bush is proposing to help hundreds of thousands of borrowers hard hit by the housing slump.

The president on Friday was to talk about several initiatives and reforms to help homeowners with risky mortgages keep their homes, a senior administration official said Thursday. Bush also was to discuss efforts to prevent these kinds of problems from arising in the future.

Bush also planned to:

* Urge Congress to pass Federal Housing Administration overhaul legislation that would give the FHA more flexibility in assisting mortgage holders with subprime mortgages.

* Pledge to work with Congress to reform the tax code to help troubled borrowers rework their loans.

* Call for rigorously enforcing predatory lending laws and strengthening lending practices.

Mortgage foreclosures and late payments are expected to worsen. Some 2 million adjustable rate mortgages are to reset to higher rates this year and next. Steep penalties for prepaying mortgages have added to some homeowners' headaches.








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