More borrowers gain permanent mortgage relief in August
The number of borrowers who received permanent aid through the Obama administration's signature foreclosure relief program ticked up slightly in August.
A total of 690,969 borrowers had received active permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program by the end of August, up 2.3% from July, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.
Also in August, the number of troubled homeowners eligible for the program fell to below 1 million. A total of 992,968 borrowers potentially qualified for HAMP, the Treasury Department said.
A total of 1,902,606 borrowers were in extended temporary, trial modifications.
Launched in 2009, the initiative was aimed at helping 3 million to 4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure through 2012. Critics charge that the program is on track to fall below those goals.
Loss of income remains the overwhelming reason that people seek mortgage relief through the program, cited by 61.5% of those receiving a permanent modification.
That compared with 11.2% who said excessive obligation was the main reason for seeking help and 2.9% who said they were prompted by illness of the principal borrower.
The government did not report reasons given for the remaining 24.4% of borrowers.
Last month, the Treasury Department said that Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase Bank were in "substantial" need of improvement in helping troubled borrowers modify their mortgages and that those two banks have been denied financial incentives for completing modifications until their performance in the program improves.
Wells Fargo and Ocwen Loan Servicing, after previously being on the list of banks that needed "substantial" improvement, were categorized in last month's Treasury report as needing only "moderate" improvement, as were American Home Mortgage Servicing, CitiMortgage and Select Portfolio Servicing.
The banks that were in need of minor improvement included GMAC Mortgage, Litton Loan Servicing and OneWest Bank, the government said last month.
-- Alejandro Lazo
Photo: A San Antonio home facing foreclosure. Credit: Associated Press