Senate Passes Safe Harbor And Expands H4H

ing its stripping last week of the [link=][u]bankruptcy cramdown[/u][/link] amendment, the Senate passed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act by a 91 to 5 vote. The legislation expands Hope for Homeowners (H4H), increases the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s line of credit with the Treasury to $100 billion, provides servicers with a safe harbor from investor lawsuits, increases funding for foreclosure prevention efforts and establishes protections for renters living in foreclosed homes. The act makes H4H, which now enjoys a larger role in the Obama administration's Making Home Affordable plan, more attractive by lower program fees and streamlining borrower certification requirements. Eligibility rules have eased, too. Whereas the program originally banned participation from borrowers who have intentionally defaulted on their mortgage in the past, the revamped H4H will only prohibit borrowers who have intentionally defaulted within the last five years. The increase in the FDIC's credit line, which was previously $30 billion, is the result of the many bank recent bank failures that have drained the agency. The act also permanently raises FDIC's insurance on individual bank accounts from $100,000 to $250,000. One of the Senate bill's sponsors, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said the legislation will help banks increase their lending to small businesses and American consumers while simultaneously making foreclosure prevention tools more accessible. "While this bill is not a cure-all for our nation's economic troubles, it makes important contributions towards the protection of American homeownership and a healthier banking system," Dodd says. SOURCE: Office of Sen. Chr


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