WASHINGTON -- Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy 2d, D-Mass., thinks he has a solution to the problem faced by homeowners in New England who haven't been able to refinance their mortgages because of sliding property values.

The chairman of the House Banking subcommittee on consumer credit and insurance wants to create a new federal insurance program to cover the portion of the mortgage that exceeds the loan-to-value guidelines that banks and private mortgage insurers follow.

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