News Release

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Celeste Meiffren,
Illinois PIRG

Common-Sense Refinancing Options Could Help Illinoisans and Stabilize Housing Market

For Immediate Release

Data released today by Illinois PIRG and the Center for Responsible Lending finds that making it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages could give consumers more options, save money, and stabilize Illinois’ housing market. In Illinois alone, 532,371 families would qualify, saving them $1.77 billion.

“Right now, mortgage rates are below 4%, but nearly half of homeowners are stuck paying 5% or higher because they can’t refinance,” said Celeste Meiffren, field director with Illinois PIRG. “That may benefit the Wall Street banks who hold mortgage-backed securities, but it makes no sense for homeowners to be stuck paying above-market rates at a time when housing debt is a drag on the economy.”

Congress is currently considering reforms that, for homeowners who are current on their mortgages, would lift unnecessary barriers to refinancing and allowing consumers to shop around when refinancing their loan.   

According to the data released today, adopting these reforms would help 532,371 Illinois families, allowing them each to save $3,337 on average each year. Nationwide, 13 million would qualify, for total savings of $35 billion to the country’s economy.

“Congress has an opportunity to bring struggling homeowners much-needed relief and stem the tide of foreclosures,” concluded  Meiffren. “Our representatives should come together on these common-sense solutions.”

The data can be downloaded here: http://illinoispirg.org/reports/ilp/urgent-remove-barriers-low-interest-rates

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