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Jan 29, 2009

HOPE NOW: Mortgage lending industry prevented nearly 240,000 foreclosures in DecemberMortgagePress.comHOPE NOW, foreclosures, workouts, loan modifications, Faith Schwartz HOPE NOW, the private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, counselors, and investors that has been working aggressively to prevent foreclosures and keep homeowners in their homes, today announced that its members and the larger mortgage lending industry completed a record-high 239,000 foreclosure prevention workouts in December 2008. This is the first time since HOPE NOW began to compile data in July 2007 that the number of workouts exceeded 200,000 in 4 consecutive months and is the latest indication that the mortgage lending industry is continuing to increase its foreclosure prevention efforts. The new monthly record number of workouts exceeds the previous high set in October 2008 by more than five percent. The 671,000 workouts completed in the last quarter of 2008 were the most in any three-month period since July 2007. Including the December results, almost 2.3 million foreclosure prevention workouts were completed by the mortgage lending industry in 2008. Almost 3.2 million were completed between July 2007 and December 31, 2008. The December 2008 results also show that the mortgage lending industry is continuing to shift its efforts to help homeowners from repayment plans to loan modifications. For the first time since July 2007, the number of loan modifications was more than half of all workouts completed in a single month. The 122,000 modifications completed in December 2008 are 19 percent higher than the previous record set in October 2008. HOPE NOW expects that the increasing reliance on loan modifications rather than payment plans will continue as economic conditions warrant. HOPE NOW defines workouts in its data as both modifications to the terms of existing mortgages and repayment plans. Barring a life event such as a job loss, death, or illness, repayment plans and loan modifications are intended to enable a homeowner who has the financial capacity to make monthly payments to remain in his or her home as long as he or she wishes to do so. According to Faith Schwartz, HOPE NOW's executive director, the December results show that the industry is continuing to focus on the pace of help for homeowners. "HOPE NOW members know they have to keep doing more to keep up with the growing needs of homeowners at risk of losing their homes," she said. "The December results demonstrate that HOPE NOW members are moving aggressively to do what's needed to avoid preventable foreclosures." According to Steve Bartlett, president and CEO of The Financial Services Roundtable, a HOPE NOW founding member, the December results are a ray of good news for homeowners. "When coupled with the report from the National Association of Realtors earlier this week that existing home sales in December were higher than expected, HOPE NOW's record-high number of foreclosure prevention workouts should provide some optimism for homeowners about the future." The HOPE NOW December data also shows: • 37 percent of homeowners with prime loans who received workouts in December received modifications. • 85 percent of homeowners with sub-prime loans who received workouts in December received modifications. • For the seventh consecutive month, the number of foreclosure starts for prime loans exceeded those for sub-prime. • The number of foreclosures started in December increased by 34,000 over the previous month. More than 75 percent of this increase was in prime loans. For more information, visit
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