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The Associated Press October 5, 2011, 10:09PM ET

Wells Fargo: 96k mortgages modified under HAMP

Wells Fargo & Co. said Wednesday that it has completed 96,046 home loan modifications through the federal government's foreclosure-prevention program since the initiative was launched two years ago.

The lender said it conducted active trial modifications on another 12,574 loans through the Home Affordable Modification Program as of Aug. 31.

Outside of that federal program, Wells Fargo modified or placed in active trial some 608,325 mortgages between January 2009 and the end of August, the company said.

The lender did not break out how many of those home loans went beyond the trial stage and ended in a completed modification.

A loan modification may involve everything from lower monthly payments, rolling past-due amounts back into the loan or a reduction in the principal owed by the borrower. Lenders often modify loans on a trial basis initially before determining whether to grant a borrower a permanent modification.

HAMP was launched in 2009 and was intended to help those at risk of foreclosure by lowering their monthly payments. Borrowers start with lower payments on a trial basis. But the program has struggled to convert them into permanent loan modifications, with a majority of applicants eventually dropping out of the program.

"When customers 60 days past due on their loans engage with us, we help seven of every 10 to avoid foreclosure," said Michael DeVito, executive vice president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Default Servicing.

Of the borrowers who received a loan modification from the San Francisco-based bank, some 72 percent got them before being referred to the foreclosure process, the company said.

Wells Fargo shares lost 4 cents to $24.46 in aftermarket trading. The stock added 29 cents to $24.50 during the regular session.

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