Obama's refinance plan explainedBy Nick Timiraos

The Obama administration is revamping a program that's designed to let more homeowners refinance their mortgages even if they don't have any equity. This isn't a new program, but instead attempts to turbo-charge an existing federal initiative called the Home Affordable Refinance Program.

Here's a look at some frequently asked questions:

What is HARP? The Obama administration in 2009 rolled out HARP to refinance borrowers whose loans were backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and who were current on their payments. The idea was simple: If you were making your payments on time but didn't have enough equity to refinance, you would be able to lower your rate without having to pay down your mortgage balance or take out mortgage insurance.

Initially, the program was limited to borrowers who owed between 80% and 105% the value of their homes. In mid 2009, the program was opened to borrowers who owed up to 125% the value of their homes.

But a series of unforeseen "frictions" have led fewer borrowers to take up on the offer of lower rates. Fewer than 900,000 homeowners have refinanced under HARP over the past 2½ years, and just 72,000 of those borrowers have loan-to-value ratios between 105% and 125%.

Click here for the rest of the Q&A.

More from the Wall Street Journal:

A Look at Case-Shiller by Metro Area
Next Generation of Homeowners Are Freaked Out
World's Richest Man Attacks Wall Street Bailouts

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Home loan insurance enables you to insure your loan and repay your loan in cases of accident, death, sickness or loss of job. If your home loan is insured and in future if you are unable to repay your home loan due to sickness, loss of job or death, your insurance company will payoff your loan and avoid burden of home loan.


July 16 2013 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Messiah is going to need a pretty tall teleprompter to explain this Marxist posing as a socialist, insane thought he wants tomake the law of the land without congress voting on it again.

October 31 2011 at 1:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

So those of us who didn't buy a house because we felt that housing is too expensive and/or because we felt our jobs might not be secure, etc., and those people who paid cash for a house and those people who bought a house and scrimped and saved and paid it off early now have to pay to help other people lower their house payments?

I don't know, sounds wrong to me, sounds like a complete removal of financial responsibility.

On the other hand, next time I go to Vegas and lose my life savings, I'll be reimbursed by the government, so that's a good thing.

And, as a renter, when do I get a check from the government to help me pay rent?

October 29 2011 at 12:37 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Greg's comment

Just more liberal take from the productive and give to the lazy. That is how Dems keep control.

October 29 2011 at 10:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

why refinance when taxes and utility bills go up every year in illinois

October 29 2011 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Obama has nothing to worry about , nobody running looks any wiser , all the same ideas , what differance does it make anymore

October 28 2011 at 9:43 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to DAVE's comment

Obama turned out to be an all talk Jive Turkey and a Marxist posing as a Socialist - a real bad combination. that has destroyed the country since the left took over congress te purse strings and the economy in Nov 2006. Just look at what has happened since then - one big huge catastrophe. If you think no one can do better than this extreme crew of whack job, Jimmy Carter lefties you are sadly mistaken.

October 28 2011 at 11:36 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Anybody would be better than the Socialist, Obummer.

October 28 2011 at 8:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Just another wealth transfer scheme by the Marxists posing as socialsit, liberal, progressive democrats to steal from those that can to give to those that can't. Guess which ones vote for the Marxists and which ones don't.

October 27 2011 at 11:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Where is Obama getting the money to do this. we are Broke. we do not need to borrow More!! obama promises to reduce spending but nothing has happen.

Obama has never in his life run anything; who espouses socialist policies and programs which have failed in all Communist nations in the past; who advocates big government, big spending, big borrowing and expanded entitlement programs, all paid for by huge tax increases; who believes big government should decide for you what you need. If that's your ideal, then you certainly should vote for Barack Obama.

The Obama voters are the uninformed. They get their news from one source MSNBC or they believe that the John Stewart show is a news show. Obama is not qualified to be President yet we allow everyone a right to vote and the ignorant have a chance to out vote the intelligent and elect Obama.

Basically, for many years now, our government has been borrowing so much money (very often using shot-term loans), that very soon, we will no longer be able to afford even the interest on these loans.
Obamageddon. Never in the history of this country has one man done more to divide this nation than the current occupant of the White House. We have a president who has no regard for and circumvents the Constitution and the rule of law at every turn. He is totally disconnected from and cares not about the will of the people. His narcissism has endangered our republic and his agenda is collapsing our economy.


October 26 2011 at 6:17 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to COMMON SENSE's comment

Borrow, print, tax and spend. He doesn't care that there is no money. He is buying votes with play money.

October 26 2011 at 9:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Let's see, someone holding a performing loan, at say7%, gets bought out of that loan by one at say
4% backed by the taxpayers dime.

Whoever was holding that 6% loan, now gets nothing or much lower returns. Who is this whoever-----in most cases it is pension funds and the like.

The result------------lower returns to the pension fund-----therefor, few dollars in the pocket of the people getting money from the pension fund.

This is just a big money transfer, with the old people taking the loss.

October 26 2011 at 12:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mike edwards

these people with bigger houses than they can afford still have bigger cell and cable bills than my first mortgage bo hoo iom feeling sorry for them i guess notthey have to live according to there means sorry

October 26 2011 at 3:29 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I keep saying that all of the trillions that this government has wasted on bailouts and Obama vote buying sprees would have been divided up equally and given to the working and retired citizens of this country( who's money this was anyways) would have solved the housing problem, fixed the economy and did something of use instead of the waste we have now that is helping nothing but Obama's socialist agendas to bring our country down.

October 25 2011 at 10:06 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Bill's comment