Foreclosure Prevention Program Lagging Because Few Banks Will Participate
California has the second-highest percent of foreclosures in the nation, but a federal program that helps homeowners reduce their mortgage payments is languishing because too few banks participate in it. Keep Your Home California offers to match a bank up to $50,000 to pay down the principal on a loan. Bay Citizen reporter Aaron Glantz says in the past two years, the program has helped only 200 people. Glantz says the state even offered to increase the money. "They said forget the match, we'll pay it all," said Glantz. "The taxpayers will completely subsidize a principal reduction, a mortgage write-down for troubled borrowers up to $100,000. The banks don't have to contribute anything anymore. But what we found is that even with this complete subsidy, there were no additional banks that had agreed to sign up for the program. As a result, no additional borrowers were receiving help in significant numbers." The state has until 2017 to spend the $2 billion fund.