The nearly 900,000 borrowers who already refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) will not get another chance to lower their mortgage rates under the White House's newly revised initiative.
Although the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) earlier this week removed several restrictions on the government's HARP, the agency kept in place a ban that prevents mortgagors from refinancing an already refinanced loan.
Some lenders are disappointed by the decision because ultimately it will mean less business for them – and lower rates for their customers.
"I have borrowers who could save another $200 a month," said one mortgage banker, requesting his name not be used.
The HARP program affects only underwater borrowers with loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Nearly 190,000 borrowers rushed to take advantage of HARP when it was first introduced in 2009 but those loans were refinanced at rates above 5%.
The Federal Reserve Board wants the expanded HARP initiative to succeed and several Fed governors are talking about stepping up the central bank's purchases of Fannie/Freddie MBS to push mortgage rates lower.