Softer compromise legislation passes after tougher bill was defeated 

(Source: Associated Press)

Congress on Tuesday sent the president legislation that encourages banks to spare homeowners from foreclosure, after the industry helped scuttle a tougher measure that would have forced lenders to reduce monthly payments of owners in bankruptcy. 

The House voted 367-54 to pass the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act. The Senate had voted 91-5 in favor of the bill and approved the final version by unanimous consent.

“In the last few weeks, we have cracked down on corporate and mortgage scams and helped more struggling homeowners keep their homes,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “And in the coming weeks, we will continue to protect people … who keep our economy moving, and we will restore their confidence.”

The bill would expand an existing $300 billion program that encourages lenders to write down an individual’s mortgage if the homeowner agrees to pay an insurance premium. The program, set to expire in 2011, would swap out a homeowner’s high-interest rate for a 30-year fixed loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

Read the full article “Congress passes anti-foreclosure bill” in MSNBC.com (May 19, 2009).

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