California Leads Nation in Homeowners Trying to Avoid Foreclosure through HAMP

On a state-by-state basis, California posted the largest percentage of consumers trying to avoid foreclosure through a program from the federal government.

According to the April 2010 report for the Home Affordable Modification Program, mortgage modifications in California accounted for 21.3 percent of the national total. Through the fourth month of this year, 135,499 active trial modifications were tallied in the state, which also saw 62,883 permanent modifications.

Nationally, nearly 300,000 people have been granted permanent modifications through HAMP, which works to lower the amount consumers pay on their home loans to help avoid foreclosure.

"The number of homeowners receiving significant relief through a mortgage modification continues to rise," said Phyllis Caldwell, head of the Treasury Department's Homeownership Preservation Office.

Caldwell said the department's focus has shifted to making sure consumers going through the HAMP have favorable experiences by holding lenders more accountable. That includes requiring they report the average amount of time it takes a homeowner to go from a trial to a permanent loan modification.

In the months after HAMP started in 2009, critics of the program noted the government may not have been prepared to guide lenders and consumers through the process.

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