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Troubled mortgages hit record high

From cnnmoney.com:

Despite all the hand-wringing and attempts to contain the foreclosure plague, the problem still spread during the first three months of 2009, as the number of foreclosure actions started hit a record high, according to a quarterly report.

The National Delinquency Survey released Thursday by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), reported the largest quarter-over-quarter increase in foreclosure starts since it began keeping records in 1972. Lenders initiated foreclosures on 1.37% of all first mortgages during the quarter, a 27% increase from the 1.08% rate during the last three months of 2008 and a 36% rise from the first quarter of 2008. All told, more than 616,000 mortgages were hit with foreclosure actions.

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Lower mortgage terms pushed by Senate

WASHINGTON – Trying to curb home foreclosures, the Senate voted on Wednesday to make it easier for homeowners with risky credit to switch to a lower-cost mortgage backed by the government. The bill, passed 91-5, also would give banks a break by encouraging reduced fees they must pay for the government to insure deposits.

While both steps put taxpayer money on the line, lawmakers say the legislation is needed to prevent the economy from getting worse.
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Chase to Open an Additional 24 Counseling Centers

Chase is adding another 24 mortgage counseling centers within the next four months bringing the number of such centers that provide face-to-face assistance to distressed homeowners in 14 states up to 51. These centers are located in Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale in Florida, and Seattle. The addition, according to the head of retail financial services at Chase, Charlie Scharf, responds to the unusually high demand for loan modifications and follows the so far successful engagement of its initial 27 centers in providing a complete document packages looking for permanent payment relief. Borrowers can schedule appointments or walk in six days a week. Since they first opened 11 months ago, Chase centers have provided counseling for over 60,000 borrowers, the bank said. But Should I refinance home

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Thornburg Mortgage – Bankrupt!

Thornburg Mortgage Inc., the “jumbo” home lender racked by the collapse of U.S. mortgage markets, said it plans to file for bankruptcy protection and shut down.

Remaining assets will be sold or liquidated to pay bondholders and creditors, according to a statement today from the Santa Fe, New Mexico-based company.
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Mortgage help for 5 states

Five states hit hard by the mortgage crisis will soon share $1.5 billion in federal funds to help the unemployed and the underwater who owe more than their homes are worth.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday approved proposals by Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada. The states will use the money primarily to subsidize homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments and to reduce their principal. Some of the funds will also go to paying off second liens or facilitating short sales.

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