The mortgage market continues its slide, with no sign that we’ve hit bottom or that more homeowners won’t be swept up in the tide of foreclosures. According to the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at California State University, Northridge, 289 families lost their homes in August, when local foreclosures jumped an annual 398 percent. There were 632 foreclosures in the second quarter of 2007, and we’ll likely pass that number in the third quarter after September’s tally is counted, said Daniel Blake, director of the CSUN center. The quarterly record is 1,854 foreclosures, recorded from July through September 1996, in the fallout from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and a deep economic recession. “Temporarily lifting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s portfolio caps will inject necessary liquidity into a distressed market and help make financing more available and affordable for countless homeowners, especially those living in high-cost areas,” NAMB past President Harry Dinham said in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. Increasing the limits for these conforming loans in high-cost areas, coupled with elimination of the Federal Housing Administration down payment requirement, could expand the opportunities for these entities to reach the first-time, minority, and low- to moderate-income borrowers their respective programs are intended to serve, Dinham reasoned. To that end, and to help try to stabilize the market, the association suggests: Requiring all loan originators to meet minimum education levels, pass criminal background checks and creating a national registry of originators governed by a federal agency. Requiring mandatory escrow accounts for taxes and insurance on all subprime loans. Strengthening enforcement of prohibitions against deceptive marketing and advertising of mortgage products. Clearly disclosing the role of the originator in mortgage transactions. Creating simplified, modernized, and consumer-tested mortgage disclosures including a revised good faith estimate and a loan-specific payment disclosure. Encouraging consumer financial literacy. The only problem with this is that it won’t unwind the past. And that’s where the problems are. [email protected] (818) 713-3743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It’s obvious that people remain concerned about the ongoing problem. When the Daily News put a searchable database on our Web site (www.dailynews.com) allowing users to find out the foreclosure situation in their neighborhood or ZIP code, the link got about 6,000 hits in just 24 hours. Each fall for the past several years I’ve lamented the fact that the loan-guarantee limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – currently $417,000 – don’t help Los Angeles that much. And now the National Association of Mortgage Brokers is climbing aboard. It issued a press release last week urging Congress to take steps to enable Fannie and Freddie to provide help to homeowners facing foreclosure.