Obama Wants to Ease Mortgage Credit, But He Can't Say How
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama renewed his push for easier refinancing options for borrowers and highlighted the need for easier access to mortgage credit in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
But he was vague on what policy measures will be used to ease credit conditions.
"The good news is, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years. Home purchases are up nearly 50%. And construction is expanding again," Obama said in his speech.
Still, he said tight mortgage credit conditions and the inability of many families who are current on their payments to refinance was holding back the economy.
"We need to fix it," he said. "Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. So what are we waiting for? Take a vote and send me that bill. Why would that be a partisan issue, helping folks refinance?"
It is not entirely clear what bill Obama was referring to as there is more than one refinancing plan currently in Congress awaiting approval.
Earlier this week, Senators Bob Menendez (D, N.J.) and Barbara Boxer (D, Calif.) reintroduced legislation aimed at removing barriers that prevent borrowers with government-backed loans from getting the lowest possible interest rates.
The Responsible Homeowners Act of 2013 aims at improving upon the government's current Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) by eliminating appraisal costs, reducing upfront fees on refinances, ensuring consistent standards for all lenders and providing equal access to refinancing options to all borrowers.