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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.

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.