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What You Need to Know About Today's Housing Announcement

President Obama describes a set of measures aimed at helping homeowners -- particular those who have served in the Armed Forces.
President Barack Obama holds a press conference (March 6, 2012)

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, March 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

In the State of the Union, President Obama introduced a basic principle: Every homeowner who is current on his or her payments ought to have a chance to refinance their mortgage at today's historically low rates.

To make that idea a reality for everyone, Congress must take action.

But today, the President is taking another step to make refinancing easier for millions of Americans who have government-sponsored mortgages. He's cutting fees -- to help families save money and make refinancing more attractive.

And at a press conference that just wrapped up, President Obama announced a series of steps aimed at helping homeowners who have served in the Armed Forces.

When the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers reached a settlement with the federal government and 49 state attorneys general, they agreed to provide substantial relief to the nation's veterans who were victims of wrongful foreclosures or who were otherwise disadvantaged in the mortgage process because of the obligations of their service.

Here's how veterans and their families will benefit because of the settlement:

  • Any service member who saw their home wrongfully foreclosed will be substantially compensated for what the bank did;
  • Any member of Armed Forces who was wrongfully denied the chance to refinance and reduce their mortgage payments through lower interest rates will receive a refund from their bank equal to the money he or she would have saved;
  • Many service members who lost money because they were forced due to sell their homes due to Permanent Change of Station orders will also receive relief; and
  • Finally, under the settlement, the banks will also pay $10 million into the Veterans Housing Benefit Program Fund, which guarantees loans on favorable terms for service members.

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