Citi: Mortgage break to unemployed

The bank will lower mortgage payments for three months and waive fees for certain unemployed borrowers.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Unemployed homeowners whose houses are financed by CitiMortgage may be eligible to have their mortgages temporarily reduced to $500 a month, the company announced Tuesday.

"We're planning to help recently unemployed homeowners by giving them the ability to pay as little as $500 a month on their mortgage, which is effectively less than the price of an average one-bedroom rental nationally," Sanjiv Das, CitiMortgage's president and CEO, told CNN Radio.

Borrowers are covered by the program for 90 days when they submit documents proving they are recent recipients of state unemployment benefits, Das said. Some homeowners may be able to get extensions after the 90 days expire, depending on their situation.

"This is intended to keep the neediest borrowers in their homes," Das said.

It's unclear how many of the 1.4 million CitiMortgage customers will seek assistance, but Das noted that about 4 million people have lost jobs over the past year.

"We hope to help thousands of customers with this," he said.

The company is the housing lender arm of Citigroup, a beleaguered bank that has received $45 billion in federal bailout funds and recently lost 36% of its ownership to the government. To top of page

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