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President Obama's #MyRefi - A HARP 3 Campaign

President Obama's #MyRefi - A HARP 3 Campaign
Betsalel Cohen
UpdatedAug 14, 2012
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    4 min read
Key Takeaways:
  • #MyRefi is a White House initiated social media campaign.
  • The Refi program is a HARP 3 mass refinancing program.
  • The Refi Plan will allow underwater borrowers to refinance with limited credit requirements.

#MyRefi - HARP 3 Social Media Campaign

Editor's Update - March 2013: Thanks to a reader's comment (h/t Jay B.), it has been brought to our attention that the White House has updated its #MyRefi Page and Tool. The thrust of the program is now on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans only. When the #MyRefi campaign was launched in August 2012, it aimed to open up refinancing at the low rates available to distressed borrowers without a government backed mortgage, who were unable to qualify for a HARP mortgage or other existing program. Based on how the White House page is currently structured, apparently President Obama is focusing his efforts on trying to get the Boxer-Menendez plan passed through Congress.

The White House rolled out #MyRefi, a new social media program to promote the Obama Refinance Plan using Twitter, Google+, e-mail, and Facebook.

As explained in the official White House blog, underwater borrowers can save significant amounts of money if Congress acts and implements a broader refinance program, expanding beyond the current programs that exist for borrowers with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

#MyRefi aims to build public support for the President’s proposals and increase pressure on Congress to put the proposals into law.

HARP 2 Updates

Read the HARP 2 mortgage page for the latest updates about the HARP loan.

White House Refi Page and Tool

On their Refi page the White House offers you a tool that shows the type of loan program you could qualify for, if the #MyRefi program becomes law. The thrust of the program is on increasing refinances of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. It is not clear as to which law the White House is referring to, nor the eligibility requirements for the proposed refinance program. The number of overall potential borrowers is not clear, as the page does not address the issue of a cut-off date.

#MyRefi Proposal

Original Proposal: The basic criteria for the program as introduced in the original #MyRefi proposal are that:

  • You have a private loan (your loan is not backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, or USDA).
  • You are refinancing the mortgage for your primary residence.
  • Your mortgage is less than $750,000.
  • You made your payments on time the last 6 months and have no more than one 30-day late payment in the past 12 months.
  • Your Credit score is above 580.

President Obama’s refinance plan calls for a simplified application process, with no appraisals, no tax forms and less red tape. This plan is similar to the HARP 2.0 mortgage done through a manual underwriting process (which is available only to HARP borrowers through their original lenders), but extends the program to more underwater borrowers.

#MyRefi: Why a HARP 3 Mass Refinancing Program

There are varying estimates of the number underwater homeowners, ranging from 11 million to 17 million borrowers. The current HARP 2.0 plan is limited in scope, since it only addresses borrowers with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

The White House, on their #MyRefi page lists five important points about the Refi plan, as follows:

  1. Interest rates are at historic lows; currently less than 4%.
  2. Borrowers can save about $3,000 per year.
  3. The plan is simple to operate and even underwater borrowers can benefit.
  4. The economy will benefit by helping millions of borrowers save money; however, it will take Congressional action to enact the program.
  5. The cost to the taxpayers is zero.
Quick tip

get a mortgage quote for a harp, fha streamline or a conventional refinance loan from a mortgage provider.

#MyRefi — Will HARP 3 Happen?

Although the White House makes their Refi plan seem simple, the actual implementation of a wide ranging refinance plan is complicated. Some of the problems are:

  • Gaining enough political support for more government involvement in the housing and mortgage market. The program calls for a transfer of wealth to investors of private based mortgages to the current homeowners. (If the homeowner is not underwater, then they can refinance their loan).
  • Working out the technicalities relating to purchasing the loans. Who will fund the money? Who will guarantee the loans?
  • Working out the underwriting criteria and eligibility requirements.

We have watched as the HARP 1.0 program evolved into the HARP 2.0 program. More borrowers were eligible, due to less stringent credit and LTV requirements. Still, many underwater borrowers have been unable to qualify for HARP 2.0. They are waiting for various HARP 3.0 programs such as the Menendez-Boxer Responsible Homeowners Refinancing Act of 2012, which is scheduled for debate in September 2012.

While it is not a certainty that President Obama’s mass refinance plan will be implemented, in the meantime the #MyRefi campaign is looking to build mass support from the American public.


TTwila, Jun, 2013
My husband and I are remnants of WAMU debacle and now have been sloughed off to Chase. After numerous phone calls, letters and short but sweetly to the point messages written each month on my mortgage payment check (yes! I cling to paper as the message is better when a real person opens the envelope and reads negative comments about the company they are working for) we finally got someone to call us back and tell us why we do not qualify to refinance our home loan. Because we are upside down! No kidding...but in the small print of the HARP information, I reminded her, CHASE can choose to refinance by writing down the loan. We do not want to write off our loan as this is our responsibility but just want the lower rate you would offer a new customer. Not possible, she said. So. I am waiting, no, longing for the HARP 3 because if we can refinance our current home loan we will be purchasing a retirement home in Walla Walla Washington!
JJay, Mar, 2013
This article is incorrect. It states that the new program would be available to homeowners if "You have a private loan (your loan is not backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, or USDA)."However, when you click the link to #MyRefi (which is the official government outline of the program), it clearly states that the subject loan still needs to be backed by Fannie or Freddie in order to quilify for the refinance.This is a very important factual error in the article and should be corrected.
BBill, Mar, 2013
Thank you for your comment and pointing out the discrepancy between our article and the White House's #MyRefi page.

The White House has changed the information on their page, from the time their #MyRefi page was created. While our information needs to be updated, it was accurate when it was originally published. (A review on the Web of older articles on the subject from other sites will bear this out).

As you point out, the White House page now discusses an expanded refinance program in relation to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. This is also reflected in their new eligibility tool. Originally, Pres. Obama's plan was to expand the HARP mortgage plan, which is already open to Fannie and Freddie borrowers, so it would be open to all underwater borrowers. As the White House page currently stands, it is not clear as to which Congressional legislation the page refers.

One more important fact: The #MyRefi was never an actual program, rather a marketing strategy to garner public support to bring pressure on Congress to help more distressed borrowers.

Once again, thank you for your comment. We will update the page to reflect accurate information about #MyRefi.
RRebecca, Mar, 2013
We bought our home in 2006 put a lot down and planned on selling in two years. Market plunged. Owe way more then home is worth and don't want to just throw in the towel. We know at least 5 people who gave their homes back to the bank. We have previously owned 4 homes and just want to refi this one. No bank will touch our loan as we are so far underwater in it. Of course it isn't owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. I would love to get on the petition to get the HARP 3 program started if there is one. What can I do to help get this thing going? We need help.
BBill, Mar, 2013
The White House is in favor of a HARP 3 refinance plan. Unless Congress acts, there will be no HARP 3 law. Contact the offices of your federal congressperson and senators and let them know you support a HARP 3 plan.
mmanny, Apr, 2013
Will the Harp 3 will ever be pass? My wife and I are holding to our american dream though it is underwater I say lets hang on to it 'till they pass the Harp 3.
BBill, Apr, 2013
Although there has been much talk of the HARP 3 program, so far no program has passed through Congress. The current proposal, the Boxer-Menendez Bill, is an improvement on the HARP 2 program and also doesn't include non-Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan.

If property prices increase, then you may be able to refinance your loan without a HARP loan. Remember to keep making your payments on time, a high credit score and low DTI so that you will qualify for a refinance loan.
MMichael, Feb, 2013
I was told as a young man a house was your biggest investment now my house is my biggest bill and has my family financially strapped. I need relief or I can't stay after 10 years in this house and my wife loves it .
BBill, Feb, 2013
My suggestions are: 1. Try to work out a loan modification with your lender. 2. Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor for a free consultation about your options. 3. Contact your elected federal representatives and let them know that you want them to push for legislation that will help you.
oonuaku, Feb, 2013
BY the way, how are you going to get the banks to comply. The came up with the excuse that my mortgage was owned by private investor, refusing to refinance it.