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TARP Panel Members Criticize Treasury Foreclosure Prevention Effort

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Source: Dow Jones

By Carey Boles

Members of a congressionally authorized panel were critical of Treasury efforts to wade into the foreclosure crisis, saying an Obama administration goal of keeping 3 million to 4 million people in their homes won't be met.

"Treasury cannot and should not prevent every foreclosure in this country, but it can and must do far, far better," said former Sen. Ted KAUFMAN, the panel chairman who succeeded Elizabeth Warren.

Damon Silvers, another member of the panel, said it appears that just 467,000 foreclosures have been averted by Treasury. The Congressional Oversight Panel also expressed concern about the burgeoning scandal at some of the nation's largest lenders surrounding allegations that employees at the banks signed off on potentially thousands of foreclosures without reviewing related documents as required by law.

Silvers said he wants details of what the administration's plans were to deal with lenders who are found liable for illegally taking troubled homeowners' homes from them.

Defending the administration's efforts, Joseph H. Evers, deputy comptroller for large bank supervision at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said Treasury mitigation efforts are bearing fruit.

He said that during the second quarter, mortgage servicers implemented more than 500,000 "home retention actions," including loan modifications, trial performance plans and payment plans. Evers said this is an 18% improvement from the first quarter.

The panel was established by Congress as part of the 2008 legislation that created the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to oversee the various financial market rescue programs in response to the 2008 financial crisis.


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