WASHINGTON (4/16/10)--The volume of trial and permanent loan modifications at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased by nearly 75% in the fourth quarter of 2009, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported earlier this week. Overall, the FHFA reported that the number of trial and permanent modifications made under the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) totaled over 485,000 at the end of 2009. Sixty percent of the loan modifications that were made in the fourth quarter reduced borrowers’ monthly payments by over 20%, and completed loan modifications rose to a total of 57,600 during that same time period, the FHFA reported. The FHFA also reported that refinancings made via the Administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) rose by 63% in the fourth quarter, totaling 190,200. That number continued to rise, totaling 257,100 as of February. Under the HARP program, which began in April of last year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac helped refinance a total of 190,810 mortgages in 2009. The FHFA last month extended HARP, which helps borrowers whose loan-to-value ratio is between 80% and 125% refinance without added mortgage insurance requirements, until June 30, 2011. Total foreclosure prevention activities, “driven by increases in all forms of home retention activities and short sales,” increased by 38% in the fourth quarter, the FHFA added. For the full FHFA release, use the resource link.