Lenders slow to use Hope for Homeowners

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Only 42 lenders have applied for the federal government’s Hope for Homeowners program in the first two weeks after its launch October 1, according to the Federal Housing Administration. The program — which some estimate could help as many as 400,000 homeowners in the long run — allows lenders to refinance delinquent mortgages with government-backed loans, under the condition that they write down a portion of the loan balance. The new mortgage cannot exceed 90 percent of the value of the home. The program is most advantageous for homeowners expecting a further decrease in property value.