Federal and state prosecutors are in negotiations with Bank of America in pursuit of a settlement that would provide 'some kind of assistance' to those who are 'in distress, which can be defined by the number of days late a borrower is on his mortgage payments.' That's a clear incentive to stop paying your mortgage. It will be interesting what they do to Fannie and Freddie, who guarantee half the mortgage debt out there, and appear to be just as guilty of this 'crime' as anyone (just add it to our off-balance sheet debt, it doesn't really matter at this point).
Add to this the number of people telling mortgage payers that there's a good chance their mortgage could be legally invalid due to some arcane rule related to the "clear chain of title" that requires the note be endorsed over to the buyer of the mortgage at each sale, and public recording of the transfer (see here and here). So even if notes can be produced in foreclosure cases, the banks may not have the necessary assignments showing each sale and thus proof of the chain of title, and it's at least worth a court filing that allows the squatter to live their rent free another 6-12 months.
This is hurting housing, neighborhoods and the economy.