Foreclosures aren’t slowing

Published 9:51 am Friday, October 9, 2009

Our politicians told the American people that we had to bailout many of the nation’s banks last year, in part to help millions of citizens stay in their homes.

Either someone lied to the taxpayers or the entire program was flawed from the start. Maybe both.

The sad reality, and one to which many politicians on both sides of the aisle seem oblivious, is that these banks have received billions of dollars but that has done little to help stave off foreclosures.

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But the big problem isn’t really the banks. It is agencies called mortgage servicers. According to a recent McClatchy Newspapers report, “Mortgage servicers are the middlemen between homeowners and the investors that hold their mortgages, collecting homeowners’ checks and disbursing payments for the mortgages, property tax and insurance.”

Nationally, foreclosure percentages have remained fairly steady, currently averaging 2.86 percent, up from 1.65 percent in October 2008. But those numbers don’t really paint the whole picture.

The Center for Responsible Lending reports that 6,600 foreclosures are still happening every day.

According to the McClatchy report, since the Home Affordable Modification Program was created from the bailout, only 12 percent of a potential 3 million delinquent mortgages have been reworked or modified.

So what are these banks using the money for? That is a good question but one the federal government seems unable to answer because it did virtually nothing to clearly define the guidelines for how this money should be spent.

But it isn’t too late to fix this. The government should push any bank that received bailout dollars to show stronger effort toward helping Americans keep their homes and use this program.

It has always been the American dream to own a home. The government said it wanted to keep the dream alive but it now must work to wake up the millions who are experiencing a nightmare.