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Dodd: How’s That Foreclosure Plan Working? « The Washington Independent

Herb Allison, President Obama’s nominee to become the Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial stability, appeared today before the Senate Banking Committee, where Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) met him with a question that’s increasingly on the minds of the nation’s struggling homeowners: Just how well is the administration’s foreclosure-prevention plan working out? Dodd said:

First, we need good data on how many loans are being modified or refinanced. … How many are being rejected for assistance in order to hold the receiver — servicers accountable for their promises, and we need that data made public on a servicer-by-servicer basis. … We don’t want to wait weeks or months to find out whether or not this is working or not. The concern is it’s not working as well as all of us up here would like it to work. And we need to know whether or not we need to do something, what can you do and what can the administration do to get this back on track again.

The White House anti-foreclosure plan, of course, relies largely on the voluntary participation of the nation’s lenders and servicers to modify loans to help struggling homeowners. The New York Times pointed out this week that 100,000 such modifications have been offered, but, as Dodd indicated, it remains unclear how many of those offers have prevented foreclosures.

Also of note, that 100,000 figure pales in comparison to the 5.4 million homeowners who were either delinquent or already in foreclosure in the first three months of the year. And it’s a drop in the bucket next to the estimated 15.4 million homeowners whose outstanding mortgage debts are larger than the values of their homes.

Allison responded that the administration will “have to be agile as we look at this program as well.” He continued:

Let’s see how it’s working. If it’s not working as effectively as it needs to, we’ll make every effort to make it more efficient and more effective and to reach more people.

A little late for Rita Gillam.

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