WASHINGTON (AP) -- About 2.3 million homeowners could have refinanced their mortgages last year if they didn't owe more than their homes were worth or if lending standards weren't so strict, according to a Federal Reserve study.
Mortgage rates are near record lows. But lenders typically require homeowners to have equity in their homes to refinance. And many lenders are approving only borrowers with high credit scores.
The figures don't show how many of the homeowners obtained loans during the housing boom, when lending standards were often lax. Many lenders offered loans to people with poor credit, no employment checks and little or no money down.
The Fed says about 4.5 million refinancings were approved last year. In a healthy housing market, that figure would be nearly 34 percent higher, it said.