- - Thursday, June 9, 2011

MORTGAGES

3 lenders faulted over mortgage-aid efforts

The Obama administration is blaming the three largest U.S. mortgage lenders for the failures of its foreclosure-prevention program. It says they’ve done little to help people at risk of losing their homes.

Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have failed to help enough people permanently lower their mortgage payments so they can stay in their homes, the Treasury Department said Thursday.

Based on those lenders’ lackluster success for the first three months of 2011, the government is withholding financial incentives that amounted to up to $1,000 per permanent loan modification. Treasury said the three lenders incorrectly determined that many people were ineligible for the program.

The lenders are disputing the data. They say the findings are based on old reports, not audits from the first quarter of the year as Treasury claimed. One of them, Wells Fargo, is formally appealing the government’s decision to cut off its incentives.

The three lenders have already received about $24 million from the government as of last month.

OIL

Price rises over concerns about future supplies

NEW YORK | Oil climbed above $101 per barrel Thursday as investors focused on how the world would meet energy demand in coming months.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery rose $1.19 to settle at $101.93 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

World oil demand is expected to outpace supplies later this year by the widest margin since 2007. While OPEC has decided not to officially increase oil production, Saudi Arabia and a few other oil-producing nations are expected to boost exports anyway. Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline pump prices fell 1.4 cents Thursday to $3.734 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. A gallon of regular unleaded is 21.7 cents cheaper than it was a month ago, but it’s still $1.021 higher than the same time last year.

BANKRUPTCY

Borders could close up to 51 stores

NEW YORK | Borders Group Inc. says it may have to close dozens of its best-performing stores due to a requirement of its bankruptcy financing if their landlords don’t agree to extend their lease-negotiation period.

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