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Plan to spur refinancing activity stalls on bank fears

White House efforts to encourage widespread refinancing activity to help underwater homeowners are not picking up as much speed due to risk-shy banks, Bloomberg-BusinessWeek reported.

The report suggests 2.3 million borrowers with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are eligible for the government's expanded Home Affordable Refinance Program.

Yet, banks that are stretched to capacity may be reluctant to refinance due to fears that borrowers are too risky. By May, 78,000 homeowners with underwater mortgages underwent HARP refinancing. That is well under estimates of how many could qualify, the report says.

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