Citigroup mortgage help may not do much good

Citigroup Inc.'s (C) lifeline to distressed mortgage holders may wind up sinking them. Under the company's Homeowner Unemployment Assist program, customers who have lost their jobs would be eligible to have their mortgage payments reduced to an average of $500 for three months, which the New York-based bank said is below the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

Many details of the program are described in pretty vague terms in Citigroup's press release. For instance, the company said it will "will remain in contact with customers during the three-month period in an effort to sustain an ongoing dialogue while customers work toward long-term employment solutions." Citigroup will try to find the "best solutions" for customers who have not found work after the three months are over, including long-term loan modification.