Finally. The U.S. Treasury Department and the nation's largest mortgage lender have introduced programs that appear more likely to lessen foreclosures and hopefully stabilize house prices. However, only a slice of investors in the MBS housing those mortgages may clink champagne glasses.

The Treasury's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has been roundly criticized for enabling only 170,000 homeowners to modify their loans of the 1.1 million that have completed the process in the last year. Amherst Mortgage Insight analysts estimated seven million mortgages already in delinquent status or foreclosure, and another five million homeowners whose mortgages exceed their homes' values.

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