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House Oversight Panel to Examine Foreclosure Prevention Efforts

A few weeks back, it was the House Oversight Committee’s domestic subpanel that examined the effectiveness of the White House programs designed to curb foreclosures. (They weren’t pleased.) Now, the full committee will have a crack.

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Oversight panel, just announced a March 25 hearing to appraise Obama’s anti-foreclosure efforts, particularly the Home Affordable Modification Program. That initiative was sold as a way to help 3 to 4 million struggling homeowners by offering lenders financial incentives to modify mortgages voluntarily. As of last month, only 116,000 permanent mods had been finalized — a number that’s left lawmakers on both sides of the aisle unhappy with HAMP’s progress.

Next week, they’ll have even more data to scrutinize. Neil Barofsky, lead watchdog over the Troubled Asset Relief Program, is scheduled will release his report on HAMP management.

Other witnesses will include Herbert Allison, Jr., the Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial stability, and Gene Dodaro, who heads the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The reasons behind the gathering are clear: While Wall Street is back to sipping champagne (literally), more than 308,000 homeowners suffered foreclosure last month alone, up 6 percent from the year before, according to RealtyTrac.

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