Hope Now alliance members are close to agreeing on a systematic approach for dealing with resets on adjustable-rate mortgages, but they are still developing criteria for determining which borrowers will be eligible for streamlined refinancings and loan modifications."I am confident they will finalize these standards soon," Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told a housing forum sponsored by the Office of Thrift Supervision. Secretary Paulson also stressed that he expects the industry to implement the streamlined procedures "quickly" and create benchmarks for measuring their success in preventing foreclosures. One mortgage industry executive said he expects that an agreement on the criteria and for freezing the initial interest rate for borrowers facing an unaffordable reset will be worked out by the end of the week. Meanwhile, Secretary Paulson saluted the Hope Alliance members for expanding the capacity and hours of its 888-995-HOPE hotline so that struggling homeowners can talk with a mortgage counselor 24 hours a day.

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