WASHINGTON — Approximately 40,000 delinquent mortgage loans serviced by failed thrift IndyMac Bancorp Inc. are eligible for a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. loan modification program, Chairman Sheila Bair said Wednesday.

Bair, appearing before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, said in her prepared remarks that nearly two-thirds of the 60,000 loans served by what is now IndyMac Federal Bank could be eligible for a systematic loan modification plan announced by the agency in August. These loans are eligible, she said, because they are either owned by the federally-controlled bank or serviced under securitization agreements that give the agency flexibility to modify the loans.

"The FDIC as conservator for IndyMac Federal is systematically identifying loans in the portfolio that are currently delinquent or in default, or where borrowers are unable to make their payments due to interest rate resets or other reasons," Bair said. "Where it will improve the value of the loan, IndyMac Federal is offering loan modifications to eligible borrowers."

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