Loan program's failure rate at 25%
WASHINGTON — About 25 percent of homeowners who received trial loan modifications through President Obama's main foreclosure prevention plan are failing to keep up with their new reduced payments, the Treasury Department said.
At least 196,000 borrowers have missed some or all of their required payments, according to comments Treasury officials made on a conference call yesterday and calculations from government data. An additional 115,000 homeowners who started trial repayment plans last year have either dropped out or been kicked out of Obama's Home Affordable Modification Program, the officials said.
"None of these programs have really been a success," said Vivek Sriram, a mortgage strategist for RBC Capital Markets in New York. "With the high unemployment rate, it's tough to solve the problem because these people will redefault even if their loan terms are fixed."
WORKERS' SPENDING POWER DECREASES
WASHINGTON — The notion that consumers will help lead the economic rebound received a stark rebuttal yesterday: The spending power of American families is being squeezed.
Workers saw their inflation-adjusted weekly wages fall 1.6 percent last year — the sharpest drop since 1990 — even as consumer prices rose only modestly.
Slack pay and scarce job growth are slowing consumer spending, along with tight credit and a rising savings rate. That's hindering the economy's ability to mount a strong recovery.
JPMORGAN CAUTIOUS AS EARNINGS RISE
NEW YORK — JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s $3.28 billion profit report carried a sobering message: Consumers are still struggling to pay off their loans, posing a threat to a strong economic recovery.
Even as the bank reported yesterday that its earnings more than quadrupled from $702 million during the final three months of 2009, JPMorgan said it's not finished setting aside money to cover failed loans. In other words, it expects many more consumers to default on mortgages and other loans.
JPMorgan is the first of the big banks to announced fourth-quarter earnings. Analysts expect other banks to show similar results.