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Countrywide Home Retention Efforts Improve

Countrywide announced today that its foreclosure prevention efforts increased markedly over the last six months of the year, helping more than 80,000 borrowers stay in their homes.

“Countrywide is proud of the progress made toward helping our customers sustain homeownership,” said Steve Bailey, senior managing director, Loan Administration at Countrywide, in a statement

“Home retention efforts in the second half of the year increased 148 percent compared to the first six months, and we anticipate helping even a greater number of borrowers in 2008.”

The recently taken-over mortgage lender said loan modifications and other workouts accounted for 69 percent of its home retention efforts in 2007.

One such modification method is to refinance qualified subprime borrowers into prime loans. Hmm…

The Calabasas, CA-based company said it modified home loans for 55,801 borrowers last year, set-up long term repayment plans for 12,110, and put in place other workout efforts for 6,862 homeowners.

According to the company’s data released today, it also executed 7,880 short sales, 1,217 deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, and 4,621 special forbearance plans.

Since the program was launched in late October, Countrywide has applied home retention solutions to 16,676 mortgages, greater than 20 percent of its total loan modification goal.

“We are eager to continue to work with housing industry professionals, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to communicate to homeowners across the nation that we often can prevent foreclosures, if we are given the opportunity to work with them,” added Bailey.

Recently, Countrywide ironed out deals to work with consumer advocacy groups ACORN and NACA in an effort to help more homeowners avoid foreclosure.

These groups had previously held a number of protests claiming the lender wasn’t doing enough to help stem the problem.

In related news, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton slammed Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo’s proposed pay package ($36.4 million), calling it “outrageous” during an interview with CNBC-TV.

“Executives of a lot of these companies that participated in creating this very difficult set of problems we’re trying to work our way out of should not be rewarded … as they walk away,” Clinton said.

Perhaps some of that money could go towards the home retention efforts…

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