Number of troubled homeowners rises, federal regulator says

The number of homeowners behind on their mortgages increased during the second quarter of the year, even as the number of struggling borrowers who received help with their loans decreased by nearly 20 percent, according to a government report released Thursday.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a federal banking regulator, found that 12 percent of borrowers had missed at least one mortgage payment or were in foreclosure during the second quarter. That figure is up from 11.4 percent the previous quarter but still lower than during the same period a year earlier.

While mortgage delinquencies tend to increase during the second quarter, the OCC attributed the uptick in part to “a sluggish economy and elevated unemployment.” The agency also warned that while foreclosures have decreased from a year ago, they could pick up again in the coming months “as a large number of foreclosures work through the process and alternatives are exhausted.”

Meanwhile, despite an increase in the number of loan modifications undertaken by the government’s primary homeowner aid program, there was an overall decrease of 18.1 percent in new loan modifications compared to the previous quarter, the agency found.

Brady Dennis is a national reporter for The Washington Post, focusing on food and drug issues.

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