SOURCE: HomeStreet Bank

HomeStreet Bank

March 05, 2009 06:00 ET

HomeStreet Bank CEO Supports "Making Home Affordable" Plan

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - March 5, 2009) - HomeStreet Bank Chairman and CEO Bruce W. Williams today voiced support and encouragement for the "Making Home Affordable" plan, which expands refinance opportunities for homeowners in good standing and enables servicers to modify eligible mortgages under the Obama Administration's Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. The two-part program, which includes the Home Affordable Refinance Program and the Home Affordable Modification Program, is intended to provide assistance to as many as 7 to 9 million homeowners.

"The 'Making Home Affordable' program is a positive step that can provide relief to responsible homeowners as well as help prevent foreclosures," Williams said. "We support the administration's focus on affordability and its efforts to strengthen our communities by expanding these programs and providing much-needed resources. By making mortgages more affordable for those whom these programs have been designed to serve, we take an important step toward long-term mortgage sustainability for homeowners."

Home Affordable Refinance Program

The Home Affordable Refinance Program will benefit homeowners who have a reliable payment history and are current on their mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, but are unable to refinance because their homes have lost value, pushing their current loan-to-value ratios above the traditional limit of 80 percent. Under this program, the new modifications allow a maximum loan to value of 105 percent, not including home equity lines of credit or home equity loans.

"This is a significant benefit for many homeowners who would, under normal circumstances, be able to take advantage of the historically low rates we're seeing, but because of market-driven declines in their home values, they have been unable to do so up until now," said Williams. Approximately 50 percent of all home loans in the U.S. are held or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Home Affordable Modification Program

The Home Affordable Modification Program addresses borrowers that have experienced a serious hardship, such as a significant drop in income, a significant and unavoidable increase in expenses such as unanticipated healthcare costs, or other serious hardships. The program puts in place several mechanisms to prevent foreclosures, thereby avoiding the effects such actions have on families, communities and the national economy.

"This signifies an important step toward breaking the cycle of at-risk mortgages and foreclosures for families who are experiencing real and significant hardships," said Williams. "We hope that this effort, in tandem with an expanded and improved Hope for Homeowners program, will help at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure."

About HomeStreet Bank

Founded in 1921, family- and employee-owned HomeStreet Bank is one of the largest privately owned banks in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Headquartered in Seattle, the company has assets of $2.96 billion and a network of 30 branch and mortgage offices. HomeStreet Bank is one of the only banks in the country that has consistently received an "outstanding" rating under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

Contact Information