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The Obama administration is trying to jump-start its sputtering attempts to tackle the foreclosure crisis with an effort to assist homeowners who owe more on their properties than their homes are worth.
Starting Tuesday, the Federal Housing Administration will permit lenders to give these borrowers refinanced loans backed by the government. The lenders will be required to forgive at least 10 percent of the original mortgage amount. Investors who have control over the mortgages as part of their large portfolios will select which borrowers are invited to participate.
The plan was first announced in March. Its rollout represents the latest of numerous efforts by the administration to address the housing bust. So far, the government has only nibbled around the edges of the crisis, as its programs have run into numerous problems.
The lending industry was ill-prepared for a crush of distressed homeowners, the economy worsened and millions of homeowners had taken on so much debt that their financial woes have been nearly impossible to resolve.