The number of mortgage solutions for troubled homeowners has been increasing, indicating a steadying of the mortgage sector upon which many Notaries rely. While the housing sector is not yet considered recovered, the figures that are emerging demonstrate that some stability appears to be returning to the economy. Title companies, lenders and signing services now have increased need for the services of Notaries and Signing Agents, so entrepreneurial Notaries should re-establish communication with their contacts to ensure they are in position to take advantage of emerging opportunities. The federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) reported a hefty increase in the number of permanent mortgage modifications arranged for distressed homeowners in April, and HOPE NOW, an alliance of mortgage industry businesses, reported a 29 percent increase in total loan modifications for the first quarter of 2010. The HAMP initiative — the centerpiece of the federal government’s efforts to stem the tide of record foreclosures and stabilize the mortgage and real estate markets — reported a 13 percent increase in permanent modifications in April compared to the previous month. The program is working to arrange modifications for 3 million to 4 million at-risk homeowners through 2012. The numbers provided by HOPE NOW include both modifications performed under HAMP as well as lender-based modifications that are outside the government-backed program. In addition, HOPE NOW reported a 5 percent decrease in foreclosure starts during the quarter.