Lew to Announce New Efforts to Aid Struggling Homeowners

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew will announce expanded programs to help struggling mortgage borrowers on June 26, marking the fifth anniversary of government efforts to aid the real-estate market, the Treasury Department said.

The new aid will “build on previous administration initiatives that helped stabilize the housing market,” the Treasury said in a statement in Washington today.

Since 2009, about 1.4 million borrowers have received mortgage modifications lowering their monthly payments through Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program, which is funded through the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program. The modifications are designed to last for five years and many are set to expire.

Lew will announce additional policies designed to help low-income renters and make it easier for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit scores to obtain home loans, the Treasury said.

A Treasury official today said banks will likely loosen mortgage credit because regulators are easing their concerns about having to repurchase defaulted loans. The official requested anonymity as a condition for briefing reporters in Washington.

“Odds are against the announcement of anything that could materially improve credit availability or boost the home ownership rate,” Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities LLC, said in a market commentary. “Anything that could be a game changer would be coming from the president in a Rose Garden ceremony. It would not be delegated to the Treasury secretary to announce at a housing conference.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Clea Benson in Washington at cbenson20@bloomberg.net; Ian Katz in Washington at ikatz2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net Mark Rohner, Gail DeGeorge

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