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A bill for bankrupt mortgage holders

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Steve Chiotakis: There’s a controversial bill before the House Judiciary Committee today. It would allow judges to restructure the home mortgages of people in bankruptcy and essentially make the banks accept the terms. From Washington, Tamara Keith reports.


Tamara Keith: This legislation could help hundreds of thousands of people avoid foreclosure, or it could seriously damage the already distressed mortgage lending business. It all depends on who you ask. This idea has been floating for more than a year, but so far strong industry opposition tanked efforts to allow bankruptcy judges to force loan modifications on banks.

Now, though, Julia Gordon, with the Center for Responsible Lending, believes bankruptcy reform is going to pass.

Julia Gordon: We think more and more players are realizing how essential it is to stop the foreclosures and that all these efforts to try new or slightly tweaked voluntary plans just aren’t making the difference that we need to make.

Citigroup recently endorsed the legislation. But industry groups say the bill could lead to fewer mortgage loans and also raise future interest rates.

In Washington, I’m Tamara Keith for Marketplace.

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