Are record-low interest rates masking high-cost mortgage lending?

Are record-low interest rates masking high-cost mortgage lending?

Five leading economists weigh in and the answer may surprise you partners with Google to predict housing trends

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The New York Times rambles, and mangles mortgages along the way

Mortgage finance and mortgage regulation aren’t the paper’s strong suits

Citi launches mortgage assistance for disabled veterans

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Citigroup's (C) mortgage division will offer mortgage help to disabled veterans, including waiving outstanding late fees and forbearing past due amounts on monthly payments, the bank said Thursday. The new program will also offer to reduce the interest rate on a mortgage by 2.5% for a two-year period. Surviving spouses of military servicemembers who died during active duty can also qualify for the program. There are no fees to participate, and borrowers do not have to be delinquent or facing imminent default to be included in the program. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) launched a variety of programs to assist military servicemembers with their mortgage payments when it was discovered some of these families were being foreclosed upon improperly. CitiMortgage CEO Sanjiv Das said these borrowers may receive help from the new program if they do not qualify for other assistance. "We recognize that wounded or disabled veterans may be having financial difficulties in this challenging economic environment, and they warrant our heightened consideration," Das said. Applicants must provide discharge documents with a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs, but there is no requirement to prove financial hardship. Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, Veteran's Affairs or Rural Development offices and loans under Servicemembers Civil Relief Act will not qualify for the program. Citi will be sending notification to its clients through email in May. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff thanked Citi for developing the new program. "Foreclosure and unemployment have hit military families particularly hard in this economic crisis," Rieckoff said. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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