The refinance branch of the Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable Program is currently limited to loans that are worth up to 105% of the property and that are owned or guaranteed by government-sponsored agencies Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE). As discussion circulated this week that the LTV limit might soon change to open eligibility to more borrowers, one mortgage company is looking at alternatives on its end to facilitate refinance programs. PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. today expanded its refinance-to-modification program, which can be used with all PMI-insured loans, not just Home Affordable Refinance Program-eligible loans owned or guaranteed by the GSEs. PMI’s coverage percentage and premium rate remain the same under the expanded program, and the existing insurance certificate is modified to cover the new refinanced loan. In an effort to minimize costs to the borrower, PMI said it will not charge fees to modify the existing insurance certificate for either of its new or same lender/servicer programs. By modifying the existing insurance, PMI allows the extension of coverage to the new refinanced loan, despite the possibility the property value may be lower than when the original loan was insured — even so low as to not qualify for coverage today. PMI believes the program will allow for even more homeowners to participate in refinance. Write to Diana Golobay.
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