President Obama’s announcement of yet another effort to allow homeowners to refinance their mortgages and yet another effort to investigate wrongdoing by lenders underscored how the nation’s housing market has become one of the most persistently difficult challenges facing the White House.
While the economy has recovered since Obama came to office, the housing market has been weak, leaving millions of people owing more than their properties were worth and facing foreclosure. Efforts by the Obama administration to address the issue have fallen short.
Obama said he would send legislation to Capitol Hill to make it easier for homeowners to pay a lower interest rate on their mortgages, saving people up to $3,000 per year.
Unlike earlier proposals, the new refinance measure will cover not only home loans guaranteed by federal mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but also those owned by private investors, according to senior administration officials.
The president also announced a new Financial Crimes Unit of federal prosecutors and state attorneys general to intensify investigations into improper lending practices that were at the heart of the financial crisis.
Obama formed a similar task force more than two years ago to accomplish the same objective.
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