U.S. mortgage modifications rose in September

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 3, 2011 2:20pm EDT

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WASHINGTON Nov 3 (Reuters) - The Obama administration's main home foreclosure prevention program saw a substantial boost in permanent loan modifications in September, in part due to improved technology for reporting the status of cases.

U.S. housing authorities said on Thursday the Home Affordable Modification program helped 40,141 homeowners achieve a permanently lower mortgage payment in September, up from 25,434 homeowners in August.

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said 856,974 homeowners had been granted permanent loan modifications since the program was launched in 2009. But 136,362 of these reductions had been canceled -- an increase of 10,064 in September.

When it launched the program, which provides financial incentives to servicers who rework mortgages for struggling borrowers, the Obama administration had hoped it would reach as many as 5 million borrowers. So far, the program has started 1.71 million trial and permanent modifications.

In the September data, the agencies said that some permanent modifications were previously reported as "aged" trial modifications due to problems that prevented mortgage servicers from reporting them as permanent modifications. The technical changes allowed these loans to be put into the permanent category, the agencies said.

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