WASHINGTON — Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James Lockhart took the rare step Monday of urging servicers to follow a modification program announced earlier this month aimed at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Under the program, the government-sponsored enterprises reduce a borrower's mortgage-debt-to-income ratio to 38% on loans with a loan-to-value ratio of at least 90%. Borrowers have to be at least three months past due to qualify.

In a letter, Mr. Lockhart asked more than 40 servicers to join suit.

"I am writing to request your prompt action to support the standards set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's new streamlined modification program for all mortgages," he wrote. "Trustees and servicers have an obligation to minimize losses to investors in, and guarantors of, mortgage-backed securities."

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