JPMorgan Chase has 140,000 borrowers in Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) payment trials, but only 16% have been approved (or ready to be approved) for a permanent modification, a Chase executive told Congress.

Approximately 71% of the homeowners are current on their trial mods, but many have not submitted the required documents for underwriting — pay stubs, proof of employment and tax returns.

"We are focused on helping the 51% of borrowers that are paying but need help completing documents," said Chase executive Molly Sheehan. She also told a congressional panel that 29% of the homeowners did not make all their monthly mortgage payments during the three-month trials and are ineligible for a permanent HAMP modification.

Chase, the nation's third largest servicer, has other modification alternatives to help these borrowers, she told the House Financial Services Committee. T

The Obama administration is making a big push this month to get 375,000 HAMP candidates into permanent modifications.

Meanwhile, consumer groups and other critics don't expect HAMP to reach its potential because of high unemployment and so many underwater mortgages. Some also question the servicers' commitment to the program.

Center for Responsible Lending senior policy counsel Julia Gordon noted that the HAMP program has the "theoretical potential" to help a significant number of struggling borrowers.

"The servicing industry is either unable or unwilling to do what it is has been asked to do," she testified.

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