HELPING HAND

Banks Ease Loans for Homeowners

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Cutting mortgage balances is supposedly so rare that Federal Reserve economists said in March they couldn't find any evidence lenders were doing it. But now J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America are easing loans for tens of thousands of borrowers who aren't even in default. The unsolicited modified loans help homeowners deemed to be at special risk, and the banks hope reducing negative equity would spark a housing recovery.