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04/17/07--Sheila Bair, chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and Brian Montgomery, assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development for housing, testify during the House Financial Services on possible solutions to reduce the rising number of mortgage foreclosures. Lawmakers and regulators agreed Tuesday that Congress, local governments and private industry must act in concert to slow the record tide of foreclosures that continues to roil the economy. ÒThis is a problem that needs to be addressed at all levels of government,Ó Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said at a House Financial Services Committee hearing. The specter of millions of Americans losing their homes has made the mortgage market a hot-button issue for lawmakers. Homeownership boomed during the first half of this decade, as low-interest rates, rapid price appreciation and hundreds of new mortgage product options made obtaining a mortgage easy even for those with ÒsubprimeÓ or blemished credit records. As homeowners, communities and lawmakers are now realizing, however, millions of those mortgages may be impossible for borrowers to repay. That is because a large percentage of the loans sold during the run up in housing were adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that reset to a higher interest rate after an initial time period with lower monthly payments. Millions of those loans are in the process of resetting Ñ with some increasing by as 30 percent or more Ñ and a record number of borrowers are delinquent on their payments or facing foreclosure because of ballooning payments. The problem has been exacerbated by stagnating housing prices that mean some homeowners now owe more than their house is actually worth. Congressional Quarterly by Photo Scott J. Ferrell

04/17/07--Sheila Bair, chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and Brian Montgomery, assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development for housing, testify during the House Financial Services on possible solutions to reduce the rising number of mortgage foreclosures. Lawmakers and regulators agreed Tuesday that Congress, local governments and private industry must act in concert to slow the record tide of foreclosures that continues to roil the economy. ÒThis is a...
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