The Obama administration will require mortgage companies to extend more generous mortgage relief to help certain unemployed borrowers from losing their homes to foreclosure.

Under policy changes announced Thursday, mortgage companies that collect payments on loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration will be required to offer 12 months of forbearance for qualified unemployed borrowers. Currently, out-of-work borrowers with these loans can receive a minimum of four months without mortgage payments.

Firms that participate in the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program will also be pressed to offer up to 12 months of forbearance for unemployed borrowers, though that effort could be stymied by regulatory or contractual rules.

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