Did Mortgage Modification Efforts Improve In August?

The Treasury released data (opens .pdf) today on its mortgage modification program's progress through August. In July, banks and mortgage servicers came under fire from Washington for not modifying loans quickly enough and preventing more foreclosures. Does political pressure work? Apparently not.

Here are two charts from the Treasury report:

modifications started 9-09.PNGmodifications extended 9-09.PNG

As I mentioned last month, don't get thrown off by the cumulative nature of these graphs. They can only go up. The question is whether or not we're seeing any improvement in modification efforts month-to-month. Based on that August post, I did some calculations. Below are approximate (based on the graphs above) modification numbers and month-to-month progress:

modifications 8-09 v2.PNG

As you can see, for both modifications started and extended, August was in line, if not slightly worse than July. This probably won't make Congress very happy. The good news, however, is that if these numbers continue, the Obama administration will hit its rather conservative goal of having 500,000 mortgage modifications started by November. At this rate, there will probably be around 600,000 modifications started by the end of October.

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Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.

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