Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced a bill into the Senate this week aimed at making refinancing more accessible to homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments. The Helping Responsible Homeowners Act of 2011 would remove barriers, such as loan-to-value requirements, in order for certain borrowers to qualify for a refinance. Risk-based fees on loans for which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac already account for the risk would be removed, and lenders would be prohibited from dismissing second mortgage borrowers. Underwater borrowers would also be eligible to refinance. “At a time when millions of Americans have been forced out of their homes, this legislation will ensure that homeowners who make their payments on time will be able to refinance their mortgages at current low rates so they can stay in their homes,” Boxer said. She added that consumer spending would indirectly increase because of the bill because homeowners would have more disposable income. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.

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