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HAMP: Permanent loan mods up 45%

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Permanent loan modifications increased by 45 percent in February, according to a report of the Obama Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said lenders had granted more than 170,000 permanent loan mods since the program began in May 2009 and servicers had approved 91,800 more that were awaiting borrower acceptance. Permanent loan mods have been increasing rapidly in the past six months. From December to January they increased 43 percent, from 66,938 to 117,302 -- there were fewer than 5,000 permanent loan mods started before October 2009. The permanent loan mods guarantee lower payments for five years, with a median savings of $518.88 a month, a median decrease of 36 percent off their monthly payment before modification, the report said. The median monthly payment fell to $837.86 from $1,430.96. Qualified homeowners were able to reduce their housing expenses from a ...