AUGUSTA, Maine (12/10/09)--Home foreclosures in Maine are modestly increasing, but they appear to be lower than other states, said the state Bureau of Financial Institutions. The foreclosures do not threaten the stability of Maine-chartered financial institutions, according to Lloyd LaFountain III, bureau superintendent. "Although the upward trend in home foreclosures is modest and does not threaten the solvency of Maine-chartered banks and credit unions, we recognize that too many individuals and families find themselves in very difficult situations," LaFountain said. "We are encouraged, however, that new mortgage activity has remained relatively strong through three quarters this year." During the third quarter of 2009, foreclosure proceedings were started on 76 first mortgages--0.16% of all outstanding first mortgages. However, foreclosure proceedings initiated on junior mortgages decreased, the bureau said. Completed foreclosures in the third quarter of 2009 totaled 55 mortgages, compared with 159 in 2008. Maine credit unions and banks had 85,248 mortgage loans at the end of September, with 48,538 first mortgage loans and 36,710 junior lien mortgage loans. Of the 85,248 loans, 271 were in process of foreclosure (IPF). IPF loans were at 0.32% during the third quarter--up from 0.30% during the second quarter of 2009, the bureau said. The data was obtained from 32 state-chartered Maine banks and credit unions from 2006 through September 2009. It does not include federally chartered credit unions.