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KAI RYSSDAL: The conference in Washington today was officially called the “National Housing Forum,” but it might as well have been the “What’ve you done for us lately Hank” gathering. We mentioned Friday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s trying to engineer some kind of fix, or at least a band-aid, for the continuing subprime mortgage mess. The topic du jour is the millions of mortgages still out there waiting for rates to reset, or foreclosure to begin. The White House is negotiating with the mortgage industry to somehow freeze rates on some of those loans. Paulson said today he hopes to have a plan in place by the end of the week, but that it’s not gonna be easy.
HENRY PAULSON: The company collecting your mortgage payment every month is most often doing that on behalf of those who own the mortgage, and they are limited in the decisions that they can make on behalf of those ultimate owners who are spread all over the world.
There are about 2 million mortgages at risk over the next couple of years. Paulson didn’t say how many this plan might help, but he did try to share the political pain.
PAULSON: The administration and the private sector are taking action. Congress needs to act now.