Negotiators for the Treasury and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are nearing agreement on a plan to have the government guarantee the mortgages of millions of distressed homeowners in what would be a significant departure for the federal rescue program, which has so far directed relief exclusively to banks and other financial institutions.
The plan, which sources said could cover as many as 3 million homeowners in danger of foreclosure and cost $40 billion to $50 billion, would go well beyond previous government and private-sector initiatives. Critics say these have attracted too few lenders or offered too little aid to homeowners to stem the foreclosure crisis.
But with economic anxieties continuing to mount and political pressure growing for expanded help to homeowners, federal officials could announce a new program to cover as much as $600 billion in mortgage loans in the coming days, sources said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were ongoing.