Financial Regulatory Forum

U.S. wants lenders to speed up mortgage aid

By Reuters Staff
July 28, 2009

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) – Senior U.S. housing officials and leading mortgage companies met on Tuesday to set explicit goals for preventing evictions and helping struggling borrowers with their home loans.

Officials from the Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development said they hope to see the terms of 500,000 borrowers eased by November.

About 200,000 borrowers have had their burdensome mortgages modified since President Barack Obama outlined a housing rescue plan in February. Officials hope the effort will reach up to 4 million borrowers who are using a large share of their income to keep up their mortgage payments.

Officials have warned the mortgage industry that it must do more to keep families in their homes and plans to identify firms that are not reaching enough troubled borrowers through progress reports to begin early next month.

Michael Barr, the Treasury assistant secretary for financial institutions, helped host a 90-minute meeting with representatives from 25 of the largest servicers.

“Today’s meeting was an opportunity to identify ways to accelerate the program and bring relief faster,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement.

(Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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