WASHINGTON (8/14/08)—Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) of the House Financial Services Committees has announced his panel will conduct a Sept. 17 hearing to see if lenders are complying with lawmakers’ requests to hold off on mortgage foreclosures for a while. Frank and his committee members, Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Mel Watt (D-N.C.) and Brad Miller (D-N.C.), have called for forbearance by mortgage lenders for the next several months as a new mortgage rescue program is set up under the authority of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. The act, signed into law by the president late last month, states the rescue program will be operational by Oct. 1. Frank said in a release that mortgage servicers have reported progress in addressing the foreclosure crisis through such things as a greater willingness to engage in meaningful loan modifications that materially alter a borrower’s ability to repay the loan; and new hiring of servicing professionals to more quickly address the backlog. However, Frank said that some individuals facing foreclosure, consumer advocates and others “have painted a very different picture: one that involves long waits and few, if any, meaningful loan modifications.” In a letter sent to 19 representing the mortgage servicing industry, the committee members asked for more information on current and anticipated practices to help troubled mortgage borrowers. To read the letter and the list of recipients, use the resource link below.