President Obama is set to make two announcements later this week regarding a series of action steps that will boost the economy by helping Americans who are struggling to repay student and home loans. Neither initiative requires Congressional approval, which is a good thing for the President, considering that Republicans have blocked his $447 million dollar jobs package.
A White House official tells Reuters that the Obama administration has been working with the Federal Housing Financing Agency to find ways to make it easier for borrowers to find less expensive loans even if they have little to no home equity. The agency will also “loosen” terms of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which assists borrowers who have been making mortgage payments on time but can’t refinance loans because their home values have dropped. Borrowers will have to have made their last six mortgage payments and have proof of income to qualify. There will also be a reduction on certain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan fees.
The home loan announcement will come during a campaign stop in Nevada, one of the states hardest hit by the housing crisis. On Wednesday, President Obama will discuss a new student loan initiative in Denver. Details about the latter have not been made public as of yet.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told The New York Times that the Obama administration is taking action to help Americans in financial need now, despite the refusal of Congress to pass his jobs plan: ”The president will continue to pressure Congressional Republicans to put country before party and pass the American Jobs Act, but he believes we cannot wait, so he will act where they won’t.”