Obama signs mortgage, fraud bills

May 20, 2009 at 5:04 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Bills to reform the U.S. financial and housing market and to protect U.S. consumers from fraud were signed into law Wednesday by President Barack Obama.

The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act expands an existing $300 billion program that encourages lenders to write down an individual's mortgage if the homeowner agrees to pay an insurance premium. Among other things, the program, set to expire in 2011, would swap out a homeowner's high interest rate for a 30-year fixed loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act authorizes $490 million over two years to hire fraud prosecutors, increase enforcement actions and add funds to the Secret Service and Housing and Urban Development Inspector General.

"These landmark pieces of legislation will protect hardworking Americans, crack down on those who seek to take advantage of them, and ensure that the problems that led us into this crisis never happen again," Obama said during the signing ceremony.

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