The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported today that serious mortgage delinquencies—those at least 90 days past due or in foreclosure—remained at record levels in the fourth quarter of 2009. These latest statistics show that one in 10 borrowers is seriously delinquent on their mortgage, up from one in 16 borrowers a year ago and one in 33 two years ago.
The Treasury Department this week issued figures showing that under the Home Affordable Modification Program the number of permanent loan modifications has increased to 116,000 total. Every additional homeowner who is saved from foreclosure is a step forward, but this number represents only a small fraction of the families who need and are eligible for help. The White House plan announced today to provide $1.5 billion to the five states hardest hit by foreclosures is also welcome. But it too fails to provide the comprehensive solution that's been lacking. Unless we address the foreclosure epidemic on a larger scale with mandatory modifications designed to be sustainable, millions of foreclosures ahead will continue to be a drag on the economy.
"The industry's own figures attest to the fact that the damage from the bad lending that's brought down the economy continues virtually unchecked," said Michael Calhoun, president of CRL. "We hope Congress will keep these figures in mind and agree that American families deserve a fair shake on their finances, including more aggressive foreclosure prevention and a strong watchdog to prevent another lending debacle in the future."
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