“What most people don’t understand is that this program was designed to the detail by Congress,” Preston said. “Congress dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s for us, and unfortunately it has made this program tough to use.”
The criticism comes as Congress prepares to weigh in with further plans to help distressed borrowers facing foreclosures, which are at the root of the financial meltdown. This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) demanded that the Treasury Department use some of the money from the $700 billion emergency rescue package to help at-risk homeowners.
One of several federal and state foreclosure prevention initiatives facing difficulties, HUD‘s Hope for Homeowners program has been especially hamstrung. For instance, a program launched by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on behalf of IndyMac Bank customers has modified more than 3,500 mortgages in two months of operation.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who helped steer the HUD program through Congress, said some of the federal bailout money should be used to revamp it. Frank acknowledged the initiative has its problems, but he blamed them on the Bush administration.
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