Bank of America Corp. added nearly 8,000 customers to the ranks of borrowers modifying mortgages under the government's Home Affordable Modification Program in the latest month.

The giant bank said 20,666 of its customers had a permanent Home Affordable modification as of the latest monthly report, up from 12,761 that had been completed a month earlier. BofA said another 22,303 permanent modifications are pending, which means final loan terms have been approved and are waiting for customers' signatures.

"We are in a position to show strong results in completion of permanent HAMP modifications as we move into spring," said Jack Schakett, loss mitigation strategies executive for Bank of America Home Loans. "We have a strong pipeline of modifications in the trial payment period, under review for conversion to permanent status, and out for final signature."

HAMP is a government program designed to lower monthly mortgage payments for homeowners who can no longer afford to make those payments.

To qualify for a permanent loan modification, a borrower with a trial modification is required to make three consecutive monthly mortgage payments and complete the documentation. There has been concern that many applicants wouldn't be able to meet the requirements because of the amount of paperwork and additional training and processing required by lenders.

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