published Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Business Briefs: Government eases mortgage rules

Government eases mortgage rules

A federal agency says it is easing rules for troubled borrowers to lower their monthly mortgage payments on loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the two government-controlled lenders, says borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgages won't have to submit financial documents to qualify for a permanent loan modification if they make three on-time payments. Borrowers may receive more favorable terms on their mortgages if they choose to provide the documents. The agency says the program should help borrowers lower their payments and avoid foreclosure. It takes effect July 1.


Class action status denied

The Supreme Court on Wednesday turned away a class action lawsuit against cable provider Comcast Corp., in a decision that could make it harder to file those types of lawsuits in federal court.

The high court overturned a lower court decision to certify as a class customers who say the company's monopoly in parts of the Philadelphia area allowed it to raise prices unfairly. Justice Antonin Scalia said in a 5-4 decision the customers need to be able to show that they can tie a single theory of how they were harmed to a specific calculation of damages for class certification. The Comcast subscribers had a model that they said showed $875 million of damages.

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