Audio: Let HARP cut years off your mortgage payments

If you qualify for HARP, you should consider refinancing into a shorter-term loan that will allow you to pay off your mortgage sooner.

We recently spoke with Karen Mayfield, the national sales manager for the mortgage banking division of Bank of the West, about changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program, the government refi program designed to help underwater homeowners.

If you qualify for HARP, Mayfield says you should consider refinancing into a shorter-term loan.

You'll pay off your mortgage sooner and keep a similar monthly payment with a better interest rate.

In the audio clip below, Mayfield explains why learning whether this program is right for you is worth your time. She also outlines what you should avoid when choosing a lender.

"A lot of people believe the new version of the program is too good to be true," Mayfield says. "It really is that good, and it's really worth having the dialogue.

"And I think (homeowners) should talk to multiple lenders to be able to make a good choice of who they want to work with."

California-based Bank of the West -- which has hundreds of branches in 19 Western and Midwestern states -- expects 20% of the mortgages it originates through the end of the year will be HARP refinance loans.

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