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Photo: Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images

The total number of home loans now in forbearance increased to 8.36%, according to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, and that number could be higher but many Americans aren't aware they have the option.

What it means: Fannie Mae's latest national housing survey finds that only half of mortgage holders and just a third of renters know about relief programs, including the forbearance program now available because of the CARES Act.

Details: The survey finds that just half of mortgage holders understand what forbearance is.

  • One in three don’t understand what a loan modification entails. 
  • More than 60% of homeowners with a mortgage were unaware of any mortgage payment deferral offer from their lender.

Why it matters: The increase of borrowers in forbearance has slowed rapidly in recent weeks, but could pick up steam again once more borrowers learn about the programs.

  • That could provide an additional boost to the economy, but could also spell trouble for mortgage servicers and the mortgage-backed securities market.

The big picture: The current level of borrowers taking advantage of the forbearance program means that American consumers have $7.9 billion a month available to spend that otherwise might be going to a monthly mortgage payment, according to an analysis by Cowen Research Group.

Go deeper: Coronavirus is squeezing more people out of the housing market

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 7, 2020 - Economy & Business

Household debt and credit delinquencies dropped during Q2

Reproduced from New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans cut back on credit cards and increased savings during the worst three-month economic period in U.S. history, as household debt fell for the first time in six years, data from the New York Fed showed.

By the numbers: Total debt declined 0.2% to $14.27 trillion in the second quarter, led by a $76 billion drop in outstanding credit-card balances.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar.Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

5 hours ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"