On January 27, the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 200, the Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act of 2009. This legislation, if passed, would allow bankruptcy judges to modify residential mortgage loans by, among other things, extending the term of the loan, reducing the interest rate or reducing the principal amount owed, a practice which the current Bankruptcy Code prohibits. Prior to passing the bill, the committee agreed to several changes, including limiting the bill's application to mortgages originated before the legislation's effective date and allowing lenders some ability to receive a sliding share of home appreciation. The committee also adopted an amendment which would not allow cram-downs in situations where debtors obtained the mortgage fraudulently.
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