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Fake press release announces Fannie Mae principal reduction program

Just to be clear: This is not happening.

A fake press release with Fannie Mae letterhead, links and contact information was sent to some media outlets, announcing a new principal reduction program.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency shut down the idea in August.

Outside of fully funded principal payments from fellow taxpayers as part of select state programs, no borrowers can receive write-downs from a GSE. Oddly enough, both GSEs did release legitimate announcements this week that they would participate in these Hardest Hit Fund programs as long as the servicers did not have to match what taxpayer dollars borrowers received to make payments toward their principal.

The fictional HomeRight Community Relief Program in the fake press release would force servicers to reduce principal “to reflect their current market value” through HAMP modifications. A phone number is even assigned to press contact Andrew Wilson, but the area code is from Georgia – not really close to Washington, D.C., where Fannie is based.

Groups protested at Fannie and Freddie Mac offices around the country this week, calling for the mortgage giants to reduce principal for borrowers who owe more on their loan their home is worth.

A Fannie legal team is tracking down who put out the release. A phone call to the number provided was not returned.

“Fannie Mae is focused every day on helping struggling borrowers avoid foreclosure,” the real Fannie Mae spokesman, Andrew Wilson, told HousingWire. “This fake news release does nothing to advance that goal.”

jprior@housingwire.com

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