Fannie Mae announced several additional steps Monday to prevent foreclosures, including a policy change under which it now lets servicers offer assistance to borrowers who have not yet defaulted.

The government-sponsored enterprise said the changes "build on and complement" the streamlined modification program that it and Freddie Mac agreed to adopt last month with their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Previously, Fannie said, it would let servicers extend breaks only to delinquent borrowers. Now, borrowers who are current "but whose default is reasonably foreseeable" are eligible for help, provided they demonstrate the need, the GSE said.

Fannie also said it had doubled to 12 months the maximum period for forbearances (suspensions or temporary reductions of payments) for most loans, "whenever allowed by our MBS Trust documents." The maximum length for repayment plans (which let borrowers get caught up on arrears by paying a little extra each month) was doubled to 36 months.

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