TARP watchdog to meet with Geithner next week over foreclosure prevention
The Congressional Oversight Panel will meet with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Thursday to discuss Troubled Asset Relief Program initiatives and recent foreclosure problems. COP was created to oversee TARP, which concluded in October. Under the federal program, the Treasury has launched the Home Affordable Modification Program and other foreclosure prevention efforts. This will be Geithner's sixth meeting with COP. Mortgage servicers have come under intense scrutiny from Congress and consumer advocacy groups, while being subjected to a broad investigation from all 50 state attorneys general when employees were found to have signed foreclosure affidavits without reviewing documentation. Some regulators are worried the problem has spread to the modifications under HAMP. According to Treasury data, 69,000 trial modification plans under HAMP have been in that stage for at least six months, and while servicers work through the backlog, the amount of permanent modifications has waned in recent months. The amount of permanent modifications fell 14% in October, and COP previously reported up to half of those would redefault. Even so, Treasury officials have said the real legacy of HAMP and other foreclosure prevention efforts has been the set of guidelines around which private lenders and servicers have structured their own programs. The industry completed 1.5 million private modifications from January to October. Write to Jon Prior.