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Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

Announced in March 2009, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is a federal government program designed to help 5 million underwater or near-underwater homeowners refinance into a fixed loan with a lower monthly payment.

However, as of Aug. 31, only 894,000 borrowers have refinanced through HARP. On Oct. 24, 2011, President Obama announced an overhaul to the HARP program with the intent of reaching more underwater homeowners.

The expanded HARP program — also referred to as HARP 2.0 — took effect on December 1, 2011 for borrowers with a loan-to-value ratio of less than 125 percent and in the first quarter of 2012 for borrowers with a loan-to-value ratio of greater than 125 percent.