The mortgage servicing industry helped 253,000 homeowners achieve workout solutions in July, an 18% decrease from 310,000 workouts in June. The July data brings the 2009 total to 1.77m workouts, according to Hope Now, the private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, insurers and non-profit counselors. "The good news is that in July, over 253,000 borrowers were helped through loan work out solutions, while foreclosure sales dropped," said Faith Schwartz, executive director of Hope Now. "This demonstrates the industry's commitment to finding solutions to help people stay in their homes when possible." Although foreclosure starts rose slightly to 283,682 in July from 251,340 in June, completed foreclosure sales fell to 89,173 from 92,661. The volume of 60-day plus delinquencies rose 3.1m -- or 5.9% -- over June's level. Modifications fell to 80,167 from 93,921, while repayment plans fell to 173,506 from 211,882. Hope Now attributed the fall in modifications to the emergence of Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) 90-day trial periods. Only when a trial emerges in current payment status from the 90-day waiting period is it considered a modification. Hope Now anticipates the volume of modifications to rise as loans emerge from their 90-day HAMP trials. The US Treasury Department indicated 230,000 trial modifications began in July, Hope Now said. "With unemployment expected to be a problem for a growing number of borrowers, the industry is exploring new solutions to help the increasing number of homeowners who may have difficulty paying their mortgage because of job loss or a reduction in income," Schwartz said. Write to Diana Golobay.