How Obama's Mortgage Plan Helps Oklahomans

Wednesday, February 18th 2009, 6:41 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Help is on the way for millions of people struggling to make their house payments.

President Barack Obama unveiled his $75 billion plan Wednesday to help stop the current mortgage crisis.

The plan's goal is to prevent as many as 9 million homeowners from going into foreclosure. There are a lot of financial incentives so lenders will work out deals, and people can save their homes.

"We do housing counseling to help people prevent foreclosure right now," credit counselor Jennifer Wallis said.

The employees at Consumer Credit Counseling Service try to help people stay in their homes and pay off debt.

"It's frustrating when you have a homeowner in your office as a housing counsel for and they want to pay this back and they're willing to do whatever it takes to di that and the mortgage company just won't cooperate," Wallis said.

It is a problem that should improve under President Obama's housing plan, which would call for a change in rules so homeowners currently not eligible to refinance can refinance.

It creates incentives so lenders will lower mortgage payments so they're no more than 31 percent of a homeowner's income, and it will also keep rates low for new mortgages.

"I think that it's necessary to bail people out because it's such a mess that it's not going to right itself on its own," Wallis said.

In Oklahoma, one out of every 1,688 homes goes through foreclosure.

Mortgage Banker Kurt Swink agreed the plan comes at a crucial time.

"I think it's definitely a step in the right direction something certainly needed to be done," Swink said. "This is certainly a big step and I think it will work."

Swink said by keeping rates down, more people will refinance or buy new homes, giving a boost to the housing market.

"If people refinance they can save $200 or $300 a month," Swink said. "That's money in their pocket each month that will help them with things they need."

The housing plan may not be the end all be all for everyone.

"It isn't going to save every home if your can't pay your mortgage, you probably need to face the facts and there's probably other options for you," Wallis said.

In the end, President Obama believes the plan will reduce the number of foreclosures.

Republican leaders are coming out in opposition to the President's plan, which could cause problems when it goes before Congress.