Homeowners underwater may find some limited help with the new Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP 2.0 started by the government. Ilyce Glink appeared on Seattle, Washington radio station KOMO Newsradio’s program Consumer Notebook to discuss HARP 2.0 program changes that could help homeowners underwater qualify to refinance their mortgage loan.

I appeared this week on Consumer Notebook with host Herb Weisbaum to talk about the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) plans to revamp the Homeowners Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

Changes to the program may now assist homeowners underwater in their mortgage loan by 50 percent or greater. Prior to the announcement of the changes, there was a limit to the amount a borrower could owe relative to the market value of their property.

Applicants to HARP 2.0 must be current with their mortgage payments for the last six months, but the changes could help homeowners underwater qualify to refinance mortgages that would have been considered untouchable just months ago.

But what about the banks? The problem with the former HARP was that not enough major lending institutions saw the incentive to participate. Well this time, financial giants like Chase Bank have issued press releases pledging unqualified support of the program. If other banks follow suit, that could make all the difference. It seems Wall Street is beginning to understand that it must do more to help us recover from the burst of the housing bubble – even if it means earning less in interest in the short term.

HARP 2.0 will be rolled out on December 1, 2011, however severely underwater homeowners may not have access until early next year.

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