Mortgages: Congress Acts, But It's Tardy

A bill on Capitol Hill could help some home buyers avoid foreclosure, but lenders are still facing loan writedowns due to the subprime mess

The House of Representatives passed a bill on Sept. 18 that would allow the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a government agency that insures mortgages for low- and middle-income borrowers, to back refinanced loans for borrowers who are delinquent on payments because their mortgages are resetting from low "teaser" rates. This is the first act of mortgage-related legislation since the subprime situation started earlier this year.

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