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New housing leader expected to expand lending programs

Mel Watt was sworn in as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and many in the mortgage industry believe that Watts’ confirmation signals a new shift in U.S. housing policy with greater access to credit, Reuters reported.

“Today’s housing finance system is one of the keys to our economic recovery,” Watt said. “I hope to develop a strong foundation for moving this system forward for the benefit of all Americans at this critical point in our nation’s history.”

Those in the mortgage industry also say Watt is likely to expand federal programs that allow underwater borrowers with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lower their interest rates.

As the new FHFA head, Watt will oversee mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which back about 60 percent of U.S. home loans. Watt has already announced that he plans to delay several Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fee hikes.

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