The chief monitor of the $25 billion national settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers is getting an earful from homeowners and housing counselors about the slow pace of loan modifications and frustration at not having a single point of contact.

Joseph A. Smith, the former North Carolina banking commissioner who now heads the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, has been touring the West Coast to gauge the servicers' progress by speaking with the folks "on the ground."

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