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July 23, 2021, 10:17 a.m. EDT

Biden to introduce new aid for mortgage borrowers at risk of foreclosure

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By Andrew Ackerman

The Biden administration on Friday plans to expand assistance programs for borrowers who fell behind on their mortgages during the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to face economic hardship, a bid to prevent a sharp rise in foreclosures over the coming months.

New modification options will be offered for borrowers with Federal Housing Administration loans and other federally guaranteed mortgages, administration officials said. The changes would aim to extend the length of their mortgages and lock in lower monthly principal and interest payments to keep more borrowers in their homes.

At present, homeowners with federally guaranteed mortgages can skip monthly payments for up to 18 months without penalty and make them up later. That relief is set to begin to expire this fall for borrowers who entered into so-called forbearance plans early in the pandemic. Meanwhile, a national foreclosure ban is set to expire July 31.

The relief is meant for borrowers preparing to exit forbearance programs but who can’t resume their normal mortgage payments because they earn less now than before the pandemic.

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com.

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