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Fannie and Freddie suspend foreclosures

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Thursday announced details of a plan to halt foreclosures and evictions from Thanksgiving until a week after New Year's.

The suspension will allow more homeowners to take advantage of a program to modify mortgage loans, The Washington Post reported. The mortgage giants said the plan, originally announced last week, will also be extended to those who have already been declared in default.

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The government seized the companies in September.

"With this suspension, seriously delinquent borrowers may have an opportunity to avoid foreclosure and work out terms to stay in their homes," said James B. Lockhart III, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The foreclosure suspension takes effect Nov. 26 and ends Jan. 9.

Steps that can be taken to prevent foreclosure include extending mortgages to as long as 40 years, reducing the interest rate and, in extreme cases, allowing homeowners to delay some payments. The goal is to reduce monthly payments to no more than 38 percent of income.

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