New York (CNNMoney.com) – President Obama's foreclosure prevention plan
has helped nearly 228,000 delinquent borrowers keep their homes, the administration said Wednesday.
That's up from a month ago, when roughly 168,000 people received long-term mortgage modifications.
Another 781,000 troubled homeowners were in trial modifications, through March, officials said. Of these, 108,000 have been approved for permanent modification by servicers and are awaiting borrowers' acceptance.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Lawmakers' efforts to spur job creation were delayed once again Thursday after the House amended a $15 billion Senate bill before passing it.
The amendments mean the Senate must again approve the four-prong measure, this time with no changes, if President Obama is to sign it into law. The Senate may not take up the legislation until next week.
The bill would exempt employers from Social Security payroll taxes on new hires who were unemployed; fund highway and transit programs through 2010; extend a tax break for business that spend money on capital investments, such as equipment purchases; and expand the use of the Build America Bonds program, which helps states and municipalities fund capital construction projects.
However, the House added two provisions to pay for the infrastructure spending and corporate tax breaks. Its amendments require foreign financial institutions to give the Internal Revenue Service more information to help it catch tax cheats, and delays a tax break for foreign interest payments. The measure passed by a 217-201 vote.
(CNN) – President Obama called on business leaders Thursday to help the administration kickstart hiring as policymakers contend with rising unemployment that’s weighing down the economy.
Some 130 executives, economists, small business owners and non-profit officials are gathering for the afternoon jobs summit at the White House on the eve of the government's November unemployment report. The nation is expected to have lost another 114,000 jobs, with unemployment remaining at 10.2%, the highest in 26 years, according to an economists' survey.
"I'm not interested in taking a wait and see approach when it comes to creating jobs," Obama said.
The employment picture is certainly grim. Nearly 16 million Americans are out of work, one-third of whom have been unemployed for more than six months. There are now six workers competing for every job vacancy.
President Obama and some lawmakers are searching for a way to stem this unrelenting loss of jobs, which is casting doubt on effectiveness of many of his economic programs, from his $787 billion stimulus plan to his $75 billion foreclosure prevention initiative.
Just how much Washington can do to boost hiring remains to be seen.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Loan servicers will "significantly" increase the pace of mortgage modifications under the Obama foreclosure prevention program, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.
The Obama administration wants to see 500,000 trial modifications in place by Nov. 1. Currently, 200,000 are underway.
Officials called executives from 25 servicers participating in the program to Washington Tuesday to discuss improving the 5-month-old plan's implementation.
Both the Obama administration and the industry are feeling mounting pressure from borrowers who say their servicers are not responding to their calls and applications, losing their paperwork or not making decisions.
"[T]oo many homeowners are at risk of foreclosure right now," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a statement Tuesday. "Today's meeting was an opportunity to identify ways to accelerate the program and bring relief faster."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Pennsylvania state workers' paychecks are a little light these days.
Struggling to resolve a 17-day-old budget impasse, Pennsylvania is withholding pay for 69,000 state employees for time worked after July 1. Workers Friday received only 70% of their salary, covering days worked in June. Starting two weeks from now, they'll get nothing on payday until a state budget is approved.
Related: California's budget mess
Pennsylvania is one of three states that have yet to pass budgets for fiscal 2010, which began July 1. The other two - Connecticut and North Carolina - are operating under temporary spending measures. Still two others, Illinois and Ohio approved their 2010 budgets this week.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – As complaints mount about President Obama's foreclosure prevention program, the administration is ratcheting up the pressure on mortgage servicers.
Financial executives will meet with Treasury and Housing officials on July 28 to discuss how the loan modification and refinancing plan has been implemented. The administration plans to grill servicers that have done few modifications or have had many complaints.
Officials also want financial institutions to hire more people and train them better, expand their call centers, and send more mailings to eligible borrowers, according to a letter sent to servicers last week. The government also said servicers need to establish a way for borrowers to contest their treatment or denial.
"There is a general need for servicers to devote substantially more resources to this program for it to fully succeed and achieve the objectives we all share," according to the letter, signed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We are asking all servicers expand their servicing capacity and improve the execution quality of loan modifications."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Fiscally-stressed states are using their stimulus dollars to satisfy immediate needs rather than undertake longer-term reforms, according to a government report released Wednesday.
For example, states are spending education funds to prevent layoffs and maintain programs, a Government Accountability Office report found.
Trying to survive one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, state and school district officials say they don't have the money to undertake projects such as building new schools and expanding early-childhood education.
Similarly, states are using nearly half their infrastructure funds for pavement improvements, which can be implemented quickly and don't require environmental clearances and in-depth design work.
The $787 billion recovery act walks a fine line between trying to get funds out quickly to stimulate the economy and spurring longer-term initiatives.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Here come the California IOUs.
Unable to meet its bills for the second time this year, the state started printing IOUs on Thursday. Some 28,750 IOUs worth $53.3 million will be issued initially, mainly for personal income tax refunds.
The IOUs helps the state controller stave off a deficit of nearly $3 billion for July. The state plans to send the IOUs to certain county agencies, small businesses and taxpayers owed billions of dollars.
The state's fiscal condition is disastrous. Officials passed a budget in February, but declining tax revenues have opened up a $26 billion deficit.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The Obama administration is widening its mortgage refinancing program to allow more borrowers hit hard by falling home prices to take part.
Borrowers whose loans are now worth up to 125% of their home's value are now eligible to refinance their homes under the Obama foreclosure prevention plan announced in February. Previously, the limit was 105%.
The move acknowledges that home prices in many areas have fallen so far that many people were shut out of the program. Some 67% of homeowners in Las Vegas - one of the hardest hit areas where Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the expansion Wednesday - owe more than their homes are worth.
"The president's Making Home Affordable plan is already helping far more than any previous foreclosure initiative and with today's announcement we will extend its reach still further," said Donovan.
Some 20,000 loans have been refinanced so far, according to the Treasury Department.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Loan servicers are overwhelmed by the flood of applications. Mortgage investors are angry about a congressional bill prohibiting them from suing servicers that modify loans. Foreclosures are rising as unemployment soars.
Nearly three months after President Obama first announced his $75 billion mortgage rescue effort, his administration is still refining the program in hopes of reaching its goal to save 9 million homeowners from foreclosure.
So far, more than 55,000 borrowers have been put into trial modifications, which become permanent if they keep up with payments for three months. Hundreds of thousands more have applied.
However, the initiative must still get over several hurdles before its chances for success can be determined.