Making Home Affordable program shows signs of life in California

The Sacramento BeeFebruary 18, 2010 

Mortgage lenders with large portfolios of distressed Sacramento loans say they're getting significantly better at rewriting them, and federal numbers released Wednesday suggest more homeowners are getting help.

Mortgage lenders permanently modified 116,297 home loans nationally in January, according to the U.S. Treasury. That far exceeded December's 66,465 permanent modifications and November's 31,382, the report showed.

Treasury Department officials called it a sign that the Obama administration's much-criticized Making Home Affordable program is gaining traction to help ease the foreclosure crisis in regions like Sacramento.

One in five permanent modifications in January was in California, the report stated. Alongside 24,242 permanent modifications, another 167,399 California households received trial modifications. The total was 19,353 higher than in December.

"That's the direction we want to continue to go in," said Alvina McHale, spokeswoman for the Treasury Department's Homeownership Preservation Office. She said the department "pulled out the stops" late last year to propel a program that some Sacramento-area borrowers viewed as unresponsive.

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