Helping Families Save Their Homes
On Thursday, May 21, 2009, the House passed S. 896: the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act. This legislation is the culmination of efforts to craft initiatives that will help homeowners who are facing foreclosure to restructure or refinance their loans. As a Member of the Financial Services Committee, I have been working with my colleagues on this legislation for months. I received an invitation to attend the signing ceremony for this legislation at the White House Wednesday and was honored to join President Obama.
The bill recognizes that renters are also at risk by requiring 90 days notice before they have to leave a foreclosed home. I have long advocated that tenants need protections in this difficult market, and I am pleased that this measure is in the final bill.
Keeping people in their homes helps us all because it will stabilize the housing market and reduce foreclosures, which will help stabilize the value of all of our homes. This legislation makes several improvements to the Hope for Homeowner program which encourages mortgage refinancing for at-risk homeowners. S. 896 also provides liability protection for loan servicers, who work with struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages. Loan servicers have been vulnerable to lawsuits from investors if they modified mortgages to make them more affordable for homeowners.
S. 896 also increases the amount of money that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) can borrow from Treasury to help rebuild its reserve fund, which has already covered losses resulting from some recent bank failures. The FDIC insures consumer deposits up to a certain amount. The bill stipulates that these funds cannot be used to pay for any losses related to the government's purchase of toxic assets. I strongly advocated for this provision as a way to protect taxpayer dollars.
I voted YES. The entire House vote is recorded below:
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