Is Bank of America's loan modification program really helping homeowners?

Bank of America says it's working hard to help struggling borrowers keep their homes. It's gone door to door to reach distressed homeowners, hired thousands of staffers to work with those customers, and changed the repayment terms of more than 700,000 mortgages over the past two years.

The Charlotte bank's critics paint an entirely different picture, saying it isn't doing nearly enough. As proof, they point to a Treasury report from early December that said Bank of America had completed modifications for only 98 mortgages under a government program called HAMP, or the Home Affordable Modification Program.

So who's right, the bank or its critics? The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

"I don't think Bank of America is as bad as everybody says they are," said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.

"I think they're going to bend over backwards to try to fix this and get more loans through the system," he added.

Today, the bank is expected to announce that it has completed more than 3,200 HAMP modifications, a huge increase from the last tally of 98. It will also announce that it has another 20,000 that are about to be completed. In Treasury jargon, these completed modifications are referred to as "permanent modifications."

The bank's release will come one day ahead of the newest Treasury scorecard. Those monthly scorecards tally how many HAMP modifications Bank of America and the other big banks have under way.

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