Refis double with expanded Obama plan: regulator
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The number of loans refinanced through an Obama administration program doubled in the first quarter of 2012 after the program was expanded in January, according to data released by a major housing regulator Friday. The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that more than 180,000 mortgages for borrowers who have no equity in their home were refinanced in the first quarter using the Home Affordable Refinance Program. The program seeks to help borrowers who have no equity in their homes refinance to current low interest rates, as long as their mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled housing giants. These borrowers can't refinance to current low rates using traditional means. Roughly 93,000 borrowers employed the program in fourth quarter of 2011 and 90,000 used it in the third quarter of 2011. The expanded program, known as HARP 2.0, allows a greater segment of underwater borrowers to participate.