As MortgageWire's deadline approached, the House Judiciary Committee was on track to approve a narrowly targeted bankruptcy bill that would give subprime and nontraditional mortgage borrowers facing foreclosure one last chance to get their mortgage restructured.Only homeowners who have received a foreclosure notice could seek Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief under a compromise worked out by committee Democrats and Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, who is the only Republican on the committee expected to vote for the bill (H.R. 3609). The Ohio congressman said, however, that he expects more Republicans to support the bill when it comes up for a vote on the House floor next year. Under the bill, bankruptcy judges could waive prepayment penalties and reduce the mortgage amount to the fair market value and reduce the interest rate to a conventional rate plus a risk premium. These restructurings would be limited to subprime and nontraditional mortgages originated from 2000 through 2007 and up to the date of enactment of the legislation. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Ohio, said the bill exempts prime loans and that he may offer an amendment to exempt prime interest-only mortgages. The Mortgage Bankers Association and American Bankers Association continue to oppose the bill.

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