To expedite loan modifications, Congress may need to "step in" and shield mortgage servicers from investor lawsuits, according to FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair. "My hope is investors wake up to what's going on and push hard for loan modifications, not fight them," the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman told an audience in California's Silicon Valley. But she noted that servicers are reluctant to write down the principal amount of distressed mortgage because it could expose them to litigation. "But in this environment of declining home prices, writing down the values of loans to an amount the borrowers can pay in a sustainable manner may result in smaller losses to investors than foreclosure," Ms. Bair said.

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