Nearly half of people in mortgage assistance program have failed to make payments 

Just got this in from the Associated Press. As is typical of most White Houses, this bad news is being released on a Friday:

Nearly half of the homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration’s flagship mortgage-relief program have fallen out.

A new report issued Friday by the Treasury Department said that approximately 630,000 people who had tried to get their monthly mortgage payments lowered through the effort have been cut loose through July. That’s about 48 percent of the 1.3 million homeowners who had enrolled since March 2009. That is up from more than 40 percent through June.

The report suggests foreclosures could rise in the second half of the year and weaken the ailing housing market, analysts say.

Another 421,804, or 32.3 percent of those who started the program, have received permanent loan modifications and are making their payments on time.

Many borrowers have complained that program is a bureaucratic nightmare. They say banks often lose their documents and then claim borrowers did not send back the necessary paperwork.

The banking industry said borrowers weren’t sending back their paperwork. They also have accused the Obama administration of initially pressuring them to sign up borrowers without insisting first on proof of their income. When banks later moved to collect the information, many troubled homeowners were disqualified or dropped out.

Obama officials dispute that they pressured banks. They have defended the program, saying lenders are making more significant cuts to borrowers’ monthly payments than before the program was launched. And some of the largest mortgage companies in the program have offered alternative programs to those who fell out.

Doing the math, this means that nearly 68% of the people who have signed up for the mortgage modification program are either still stuck in paperwork hell or have defaulted on their payments.

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Matthew Sheffield

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