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BUSINESS
December 11, 2009 | By Jim Puzzanghera
Federal data released Thursday showed just how poorly banks are doing at turning the growing number of temporary loan modifications into permanent ones under the Obama administration's effort to curtail foreclosures. Only 31,382 of more than 700,000 mortgage modifications under the federal program had been made permanent by the end of November. The numbers reinforced the bleak picture that Treasury Department officials painted last week when they said the number of permanent reductions was low. They unveiled new measures, including the threat of fines, to push mortgage servicers to improve their performance.
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BUSINESS
June 22, 2010 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
More borrowers dropped out of the Obama administration's foreclosure prevention program last month than were added, but many of those homeowners found private help from their mortgage companies, according to data released Monday. The number of mortgages with permanently reduced payments under the Home Affordable Modification Program increased 15% in May to 340,459. The pace of new temporary three-month modifications eased in May, with an increase of just 2.5% to 1,244,184. But cancellations of mortgage modifications continued to grow.
BUSINESS
May 10, 2013 | By Lew Sichelman
Financially strapped homeowners who are close to foreclosure may want to face the music now rather than continuing to struggle with their monthly payments. There's a high probability of losing the house anyway, even with the government's help. According to a new report, people who take advantage of a key federal program to modify their mortgages in an effort to save their homes are defaulting "at an alarming rate. " The report from the special inspector general for the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program doesn't say why an inordinately high percentage of owners who take part in the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, are unable to maintain their loan modifications.
BUSINESS
February 17, 2011 | By Ronald D. Orol
Major U.S. banks are about to get penalized for "critical deficiencies" and shortcomings in how they handled foreclosures, a top federal regulator said Thursday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing examining the Dodd-Frank Act six months after its congressional approval. "These deficiencies have resulted in violations of state and local foreclosure laws, regulations or rules," said John Walsh, acting comptroller of the currency. Banking regulators are preparing sanctions and "remedial requirements," he said.
BUSINESS
March 6, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
Up to 3 million homeowners could save about $1,000 a year because of a reduction in fees, announced Tuesday by President Obama ,  on refinancing their government-backed mortgages. In addition, the White House said it was taking new steps to help military members whose homes were improperly foreclosed by large mortgage servicers. Among the steps, the servicers have agreed to conduct a review overseen by the Justice Department of all foreclosures of military members since 2006 to determine if they violated a federal ban on such actions for active duty service members.  Any violations will result in the servicer paying the military member's lost equity, plus interest, plus $116,785.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2010 | By Jim Puzzanghera
The number of mortgages with permanently lowered monthly payments under the Obama administration's foreclosure prevention program increased dramatically in January. In all, the number went up to 116,297, with an additional 76,482 modifications approved and awaiting acceptance by the borrower, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday. Administration officials said that the program, which offers banks and other mortgage servicers cash incentives to reduce monthly payments, has saved homeowners a total of $2.2 billion.
BUSINESS
April 3, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Banks aren't living up to pledges they made as part of a $26-billion settlement of government investigations into mortgage servicing and foreclosure abuses, according to an advocacy group's survey of California housing counselors and lawyers. The survey, the ninth in a series conducted by the California Reinvestment Coalition, also found that providers of mortgage customer service are violating consumer-protection provisions in the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, the package of foreclosure-prevention laws sponsored last year by state Atty.
BUSINESS
October 2, 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.
BUSINESS
November 8, 2009 | By Lew Sichelman
For most of the growing legion of financially stretched families in danger of losing their homes, there is help available -- as long as they don't bury their heads in the sand. According to industry estimates, half of all owners who lose their homes to foreclosure have no contact with the "servicers" that mail out the statements and collect payments. That's a mind-numbing statistic given the government's efforts to keep people in their homes. "Never in history have more resources been devoted" to solving the foreclosure crisis, says Faith Schwartz, executive director of the HOPE Now Alliance, a collaboration of housing counselors and mortgage-industry participants created to reach out to owners who cannot pay their mortgages.
BUSINESS
June 28, 2009 | Lauren Beale
Even with the Obama administration's loan modification and refinancing programs moving forward, the end of the foreclosure glut is not around the corner, a panel of government officials and consumer advocates told attendees of the recent National Assn. of Real Estate Editors conference. Among the factors slowing progress are loan servicers still gearing up for the task, the recession, re-defaults and for-profit foreclosure prevention firms handing out misinformation.
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