Housing agencies to widen homeowner help: sources WASHINGTON (Reuters) â The regulator for Fannie Mae (FNM.N) and Freddie Mac (FRE.N) will on Tuesday announce fresh steps to mitigate foreclosures while a separate agency is preparing to ease terms on another homeowner-aid program, sources familiar with the plans said late on Monday. The chief regulator for Fannie Mae (FNM.P) and Freddie Mac (FRE.P) will announce its new measures at a news conference Tuesday afternoon alongside representatives from the industry-led group HOPE NOW, the sources said. Under the plan, the sources said, mortgage servicers will lower a homeowner's monthly payments to affordable levels if such a move will keep those borrowers in their homes. Payments that do not exceed 38 percent of a borrower's income will be considered affordable under the plan, the sources said. The plan is similar to one conceived by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp to better match a troubled borrower's income with his monthly payments. The FDIC turned IndyMac Bancorp Inc into a petri dish for such loan modifications when it seized the failed company in July. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair is not scheduled to take part in the Tuesday event that will take place at the offices of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. <b>In a separate development, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is seriously mulling an expansion of its own aid program - Hope for Homeowners - that gives the regulator a $300 billion kitty to underwrite failing loans, the sources said.</b> That program got a slow start in October and policymakers are eager to loosen the terms and cut some red tape so that it will be more appealing to mortgage companies. As the program is now written, a mortgage finance company must have a home reappraised and then erase 10 percent of its value before the loan can win a government guarantee. Policymakers are considering lowering that required write-off, sources said. A HUD spokesman said that the agency has no plans to announce a change to the Hope for Homeowners program on Tuesday. HOPE NOW is a coalition of lenders, mortgages services and investors brought together under the auspices of the Treasury Department to expand aid to homeowners. While the group has helped conceive plans to ease loan terms, many consumer groups have said such an industry-led effort to staunch foreclosures is not enough.