Citigroup (C) will suspend foreclosures nationwide for all Citi-owned mortgages starting Dec. 18, 2009 through Jan. 17, 2009. Borrowers with loans under CitiMortgage and CitiFinancial and who meet certain criteria will avoid foreclosure sales or foreclosure notifications for 30 days. Also, evictions on real estate owned (REO) property will cease during this period as well. Under its existing Homeowner Assistance Program, Citi has provided work outs for 715,000 homeowners since 2007, according to a release from Citi. The new suspension affects only loans owned by Citi – roughly 20% of the company’s $746bn servicing and lending portfolio. Nearly 2,000 borrwers are scheduled for foreclosure sales and another 2,000 were to receive foreclosure notifications over the next 30 days, according to Citi’s estimates. Under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the US Treasury Department allocates capped incentives to servicers for the modification of loans on the verge of foreclosure. CitiMortgage has started 100,126 trial modifications of the 233,924 eligible loans in its portfolio. However, Citi has converted 271 trials to permanent modifications, but active trials and permanent modifications account for 43% of its portfolio. Write to Jon Prior. The author has no relevant investments.

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