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The nation’s top housing regulator on Tuesday signaled a willingness to reduce mortgage principal for some borrowers but stopped short of endorsing a plan that would attempt to do that.

Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), said his agency found in an updated examination that reducing mortgage principal for underwater borrowers who are current on their payments could save upward of $1.7 billion under a plan put forward by the Treasury Department.

But he emphasized during a speech at the Brookings Institution that more work is needed to determine the best course for helping struggling homeowners

House Democrats are pressuring DeMarco’s agency, which oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to consider reductions of mortgage principal to help bolster the housing market and boost the economic recovery.

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