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U.S. home foreclosures jump in third quarter

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U.S. home foreclosures jumped in the third quarter and banks' efforts to keep borrowers in their homes dropped as the housing market continues to struggle, say U.S. bank regulators.   

The regulators said one reason for the increase in foreclosures is that banks have "exhausted" options for keeping many delinquent borrowers in their homes through programs such as loan modifications.   

Newly initiated foreclosures increased to 382,000 in the third quarter, a 31.2 percent jump over the previous quarter and a 3.7 percent rise from a year ago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision said in their quarterly mortgage report.

The number of foreclosures in process increased to 1.2 million, a 4.5 percent increase from the second quarter and a 10.1 percent increase from a year ago, according to the regulators.   

The report, which covers 33 million loans serviced by national banks and federally regulated thrifts, also shows a sharp drop in the amount of loan modifications processed through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the Obama administration's leading foreclosure prevention effort. HAMP loan modifications fell by almost 46 percent in the third quarter, according to the report.   

Regulators noted, however, that loan modifications done by servicers outside of HAMP increased by 10 percent in the third quarter.   

Overall home retention actions taken by banks to keep borrowers in their homes dropped by 17 percent compared to the second quarter.

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