The number of mortgages with permanently lowered monthly payments under the Obama administration’s foreclosure prevention program increased dramatically in January.
In all, the number went up to 116,297, with an additional 76,482 modifications approved and awaiting acceptance by the borrower, the Treasury Department reported this week.
Administration officials said that the program, which offers banks and other mortgage servicers cash incentives to reduce monthly payments, has saved homeowners a total of $2.2 billion. The median savings has been about $500 a month.
The data represent a major improvement over the 66,465 permanent modifications at the end of December under the $75 billion Home Affordable Modification Program, which was unveiled a year ago to try to ease the foreclosure crisis.
In addition, the number of three-month trial mortgage modifications started under the program topped 1 million out of the roughly 3.4 million mortgages eligible because they were at least 60 days delinquent.
But critics have said the program has yet to have a major effect on foreclosures, which Moody’s Economy.com projects will total 2.4 million this year.