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The Treasury Department on Thursday said that roughly a million troubled borrowers on the verge of foreclosure have had their mortgages permanently modified to lower payments as part of a White House program -- with modifications increasing marginally in July. The Treasury reported that 1,060,238 permanent HAMP modifications were started as of July, up from 1,043,000 modifications in June. The total amount helped still fell far short of the 3 to 4 million foreclosures that the White House aimed to stop when it unveiled the program in February 2009. The program, known as the Home Affordable Modification Program, helps struggling homeowners by allowing them to reduce monthly loan payments. Under the plan, the lender voluntarily lowers the interest rate in exchange for government subsidies.

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