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Regional Roundup – Helping Responsible Homeowners

Reactions from across the country to the President's plan to plan to help responsible borrowers and relieve some of the pain caused by the financial crisis

Last week in his State of the Union Address, the President laid out his blueprint for an economy built to last, where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. He believes this is a make or break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it. He knows what’s at stake: the very survival of the basic American promise that if you work hard, you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home, and put enough away for retirement.  

The fact is, economic security for the middle class has been eroding for decades. Millionaires and billionaires saw their wealth skyrocket while too many Americans were struggling to get by. And in 2008, the house of cards collapsed. Mortgages were sold to folks who couldn’t afford or understand them.  In addition to the nearly eight million jobs lost, it left responsible homeowners holding the bag and badly hurt from this irresponsible behavior.  

The President refuses to stand on the sidelines and let folks fend for themselves. That’s why he laid out a plan to help responsible borrowers and relieve some of the pain caused by the financial crisis. The President knows the government can’t fix the housing market on its own, and he believes that responsible homeowners should not have to sit and wait for the market to hit bottom to get relief when there are measures at hand that can make a meaningful difference. This includes allowing these homeowners the ability to save an average of $3,000 dollars a year by refinancing at today’s low interest rates. He also put forward a single set of standards, or a Homeowner Bill of Rights, to make sure borrowers and lenders play by the same rules. 

Additionally, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, with Treasury and Housing and Urban Development, announced a pilot sale of foreclosed properties to be transitioned into rental housing.  This will help stabilize neighborhoods and improve home prices. These are just a few of the steps that’ll strengthen the housing market and help folks who are underwater on their mortgage.  

While there’s more work to be done, the President’s plan will help the housing market and have an impact on communities all over the United States. Let’s take a look at the coverage from local media outlets across the country: 

Arizona Republic: Obama unveils plan on housing 
President Barack Obama is proposing new legislation that would change the way houses are bought, sold and refinanced as an effort to stabilize the nation's ailing housing system. One immediate goal of the so-called Homeowner Bill of Rights is to enable more borrowers to refinance, reduce their monthly payments or pay off their loans sooner, rebuilding equity lost in the housing crash. 

Philadelphia Inquirer: Obama details plan to throw a line to 'underwater' homeowners 
President Obama detailed plans Wednesday to help an estimated 3.5 million homeowners refinance into lower-rate mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration and to turn hundreds of thousands of houses repossessed by lenders into rentals. 

Des Moines Register: Obama plan aims to help borrowers refinance 
President Barack Obama called Wednesday for new efforts to help homeowners refinance their mortgages, adding a new series of proposals to a growing list of initiatives intended to stimulate the nation’s troubled housing market. 

Fort Meyers – NBC (FL): President launches plan to help homeowners 
President Obama is calling on Congress to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates.  The plan is called a ‘Blueprint for an America Built to Last.'  It focuses on a new type of broad based refinancing and introduces a homeowner bill of rights, but local mortgage brokers say the plan is still out of consumer's control. It's a situation that many can relate to. 

Las Vegas - CBS: President Obama Lays Out New Plan to Help Struggling Homeowners
President Obama laid out a plan Wednesday to help underwater homeowners. But the help may be too little to help a majority of Nevadans. The federal plan could save a homeowner thousands of dollars a year if they didn't buy their home during the housing peak. But many Las Vegas homeowners who've seen housing values cut in half, will not be eligible for the help. 

McClatchy/Miami Herald: Obama outlines homeowner relief plan, which faces uphill battle
 Putting meat on the bones of a State of the Union pledge, President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled a controversial plan to help homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments refinance their mortgages into federally insured loans at today’s extremely low rates. 

San Jose Mercury News: More mortgage relief from the White House -- but congressional OK doubtful 
President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a sweeping plan to help underwater homeowners refinance into lower-interest loans, but funding for the proposal must be approved by a combative Congress, lowering the possibility that it will help anyone soon. 

San Francisco Chronicle: Obama unveils details on refinancing proposal for underwater loans 
The White House today revealed details of its proposal to let homeowners with mortgages not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac refinance into a new loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration, even if they are underwater and have low credit scores. 

Boston Herald: Prez: New bank fees to aid homeowners 
President Obama wants banks to pay as much as $10 billion in “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fees” to help millions of homeowners refinance into cheaper mortgages. But don’t bet the house on the plan becoming law. 

Press-Enterprise (CA): HOUSING: Obama rolls out foreclosure relief plan 
Underwater homeowners who are up to date on their mortgage payments could refinance their loans and take advantage of today’s bargain basement interest rates if Congress approves a relief plan President Barack Obama unveiled Wednesday. 

Oregonian: (Editorial): Roused to action on housing 
The housing crisis that has so devastated Oregon and thousands of its families over the past three years is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves. Attorney General John Kroger announced Wednesday that Oregon would join an anticipated $25 billion, multistate settlement with five major financial institutions that would provide some relief to Oregon homeowners and establish strong new loan-servicing standards. Meanwhile, in a speech Wednesday in a hard-hit area of Virginia, President Obama promoted a new plan to help homeowners with underwater mortgages to refinance, obtain new mortgages and stay in their homes. 

Merced Sun-Star (CA): Cardoza applauds Obama’s new housing initiative, says will help Valley 
Today, rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) applauded President Obama’s new aggressive housing initiative.  

Lufkin Daily News (TX): (Editorial) Obama administration, Congress should quickly find a new way to help struggling homeowners 
President Barack Obama on Wednesday said his administration’s plan to help people refinance their mortgages “didn’t work at the scale we’d hoped.” That’s putting it mildly. The program has failed miserably.