After pouring vast amounts of money into financial institutions of almost every type, and having little to show for it, the Bush administration and the Federal Reserve are suddenly taking a new look at ordinary homeowners.

Some banks oppose an administration idea to offer buyers 30-year loans at rates of 4.5%.

Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, warned on Thursday that the soaring number of foreclosures threatened the economy. He then proposed some ideas — government-engineered loan modifications, and more taxpayer money to help people refinance — to keep people in their homes.

'The public policy case for reducing preventable foreclosures does not rely solely on the desire to help people who are in trouble,' Bernanke said. 'More needs to be done.'

New York Times, Washington Post