Under the new policy, lenders must "allow unemployed homeowners to delay their monthly payments for up to a year without threat of foreclosure," reports Peter Wallsten and Brady Dennis of The Washington Post. This is an override of the existing policy that "required banks to allow FHA borrowers to put off their mortgage payments for a minimum of four months while lenders worked out options to keep people in their homes."
President Obama made the announcement a day after he acknowledged that his housing policy thus far has been ineffective.
Wallsten and Dennis explain, "Much of the criticism of the administration's housing policy has focused on the Treasury Department's foreclosure prevention initiative called the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, one of a series of measures that the administration has rolled out with mixed results. The program was funded by the financial bailout and carved out tens of billions of dollars to pay banks to modify the mortgages of distressed homeowners, or at least lower their monthly payments."