Foreclosures Set to Surge Again



LOS ANGELES -- Banks have stepped up their actions against homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, setting the stage for a fresh wave of foreclosures.

The number of U.S. homes that received an initial default notice -- the first step in the foreclosure process -- jumped 33 percent in August from July, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

The increase represents a nine-month high and the biggest monthly gain in four years. The spike signals that banks are starting to take swifter action against homeowners, nearly a year after processing issues led to a sharp slowdown in foreclosures.