Friday, February 24, 2012

USDA secretary in Orlando to tout mortgage relief

USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visits Orlando today to promote a that would allow homeowners with USDA mortgages to refinance.

The Single Family Housing Guaranteed Rural Refinance Pilot Program for Kentucky Mortgage holders of USDA loans, much like others rolled out in recent months for Fannie Mae-backed loans, does not call for appraisals, home inspections or credit checks. And it includes mortgages that exceed the current value of the financed home.


To be eligible, borrowers must have made their mortgage payments on time for 12 consecutive months. Refinanced loans must be at rates below the original interest rate. Terms cannot exceed 30 years. And the borrower is not permitted to take any cash out of the property as part of the deal.

"It's a little bit late in the game, but not too late," said Rob Nunziata, chief executive officer of FBC Mortgage Inc.. "Rates are still super low. It would have been too late if they rolled it out and rates were 5 percent."

USDA Rural Development estimates that 235,000 homeowners nationwide will be eligible to refinance their loans, which is expected to save them considerable time and money.

Vilsack is expected to discuss the program during an 11:30 a.m. press conference at 301 N. Hillside Ave. in Orlando.

Launched Feb. 1, the two-year pilot is open to homeowners in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee. The performance of the pilot will be reviewed after two years to evaluate whether to continue it, terminate it or make it permanent.

mshanklin@tribune.com or 407-420-5538