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Freddie Mac announced plans to build on the success of its Relief Refinance Mortgage Program, which includes the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0), by aligning requirements for mortgages with loan-to-value ratios that are equal to or less than 80 percent with those for mortgages with LTV ratios greater than 80 percent.

The alignment will eliminate many of the lender’s selling representation and warranty responsibilities on the original loans being refinanced, regardless of the borrower’s loan-to- value ratio. Details are scheduled to be announced to lenders by mid-September so lenders can start taking applications as soon as possible thereafter for loans to be delivered as early as January 1, 2013.

Freddie Mac also said it is further evaluating the Relief Refinance program by specifically focusing on their Open Access offering and determining the best approach to maximize the program’s reach to eligible borrowers and assist lenders in managing capacity. Freddie Mac’s Relief Refinance – Open Access option enables eligible borrowers with Freddie Mac mortgages to apply for Relief Refinance mortgages, including HARP 2.0, through lenders other than their current servicer.

The pending Relief Refinance Mortgage changes are intended to eliminate operational complexities and streamline the program so lenders can make refinancing more accessible to borrowers with Freddie Mac owned- or guaranteed mortgages.

The HARP 2.0 component of the Relief Refinance program is targeted to borrowers with LTVs above 80 percent.

The program changes are based on lender feedback on HARP 2.0, the enhanced version of the original HARP program announced by FHFA in November 2011.

“Once implemented the changes will give lenders a new measure of certainty and ease when they help borrowers with Freddie Mac owned- or guaranteed- mortgages take advantage of today’s historically low mortgage rates,” says Paul Mullings, Senior Vice President and Interim Head of Single Family at Freddie Mac. “This will help us build on the success of the HARP 2.0 and Relief Refinance Mortgage programs of helping more than 1.3 million Freddie Mac borrowers. Today’s announcement further underscores Freddie Mac’s vital role in making affordable mortgage financing available to America’s homeowners and future homebuyers.”

For more information visit www.FreddieMac.com.

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