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More mortgage modifications result in lower payments

October 02, 2009|E. Scott Reckard

A report from federal regulators contains bits of encouragement for struggling homeowners seeking to have their mortgages modified.

In the second quarter, 78% of loan modifications involved actually reducing borrowers' payments, up from 54% in the first quarter, the report says.

The shift came as mortgage servicers became less likely to merely add missed payments to the balance of a reworked loan.

The joint report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks, and the Office of Thrift Supervision, the federal overseer for savings and loans, surveyed servicers of 64% of all U.S. home loans.

The agencies said they had seen "a significant shift from earlier practices, in which the vast majority of loan modifications either did not change or increased monthly payments."

Mortgages on which monthly payments were reduced were less likely to go back into default than were loans that were modified without any payment reductions, the agencies said.

-- E. Scott Reckard

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