FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair says she expects loan modifications to increase, but she is still concerned that servicers continue to rely too heavily on repayment plans. Repayment plans may be "unsustainable for borrowers and lead to delinquencies down the road and ongoing borrower distress," the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman told the Senate Banking Committee. Hope Now servicers reported that they modified 45,320 subprime loans in January and placed 48,155 subprime borrowers in repayment plans. The FDIC chairman testified that additional approaches may be needed to reduce foreclosures, including writedowns of the principal amount of the "underwater" mortgages. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke spoke favorably about an Office of Thrift Supervision proposal that would encourage writedowns by giving investors a share in future appreciation. "A writedown that is sufficient to make borrowers eligible for a new loan would remove downsize risk to investors of additional writedowns or a re-default," the Fed chairman told the annual convention of the Independent Community Bankers of America.

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