Obama's housing plan draws praise from AG

Chris Rizo Feb. 23, 2009, 1:37pm

Terry Goddard (D)

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)-U.S. President Barack Obama's recently announced mortgage foreclosure prevention plan has drawn praise from Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

In an op-ed Monday, the Democratic attorney general, who has long called for more aggressive federal foreclosure prevention measures, called Obama's plan a "bold and overdue" step by the federal government.

"It should help stabilize the nation's housing market, keep millions of families in their homes and give a lift to America's troubled economy," Goddard wrote of the president's plan while taking a swipe at former President George W. Bush.

"The ambitiousness of the plan stands in stark contrast to the feeble efforts of the Bush Administration, which seemed more intent on helping banks than borrowers," he added.

Goddard noted that Arizona has one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation, and as such stands to benefit greatly from Obama's plan, which is aimed at helping as many as 9 million struggling homebuyers nationally.

The $275 billion Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan offers a mortgage refinancing program open to homeowners with loans owned or backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

The program is limited to struggling homebuyers who have less than 20 percent equity in their home or who owe more than the home is currently worth.

The second part of the Obama plan provides mortgage lenders financial incentives to lower borrowers' monthly payments to 31 percent of their monthly income.

"The President's plan specifically does not help people who are investors, speculators or have borrowed recklessly, Goddard said. "As he said, it focuses on rescuing 'families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly.'"

Officials say they hope to have the plan in place by March 4.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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