Mortgage Agency Gets $7.3Bln

The government will provide the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending with 200 billion rubles ($7.2 billion) to support the mortgage market, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Friday.

The funds will be distributed through government banks and will enable banks to continue to supply prospective homeowners with credit, he said, Prime-Tass reported.

The agency, also known as AIZhK, a state-owned company charged with the development of the home loan market, earlier said it plans to place its own mortgage-backed securities by swapping them for a pool of mortgages from commercial banks this year and next.

"We will give additional resources to banks that give out mortgages and, accordingly, mortgage lenders will be able to issue bonds backed by their mortgages, and the bonds will be guaranteed by AIZhK," Kudrin said.

From there, the bonds can be refinanced by the Central Bank, he said.

The government also plans to work out criteria by which people can get an extension of up to several years on their mortgage payments, Kudrin said, adding that this would likely be limited to people who have lost jobs or received a substantial cut in their salaries.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday echoed Kudrin's comments, saying banks should restructure homeowners' mortgage payments next year.