AUGUSTA, Maine — The second quarter brought a slight increase in home foreclosures in Maine, but the state banking chief said Monday the number of foreclosures remains relatively small and poses no threat to the stability of state-chartered banks and credit unions.

Superintendent Lloyd LaFountain III of the Bureau of Financial Institutions said that 177 of the 86,669 mortgage loans from such institutions — one loan for every 490 — were in the process of foreclosure at the end of June. That’s up from 166 loans three months earlier, or one for every 517. The latest foreclosure figures reflect an ongoing upward trend since 2006.

“Although each foreclosure represents an enormous hardship for those impacted, the totals remain nominal in terms of all mortgages held or serviced by responding financial institutions in Maine,” LaFountain said.

The data were obtained from Maine’s 34 state-chartered financial institutions from April through June. Federally chartered banks and credit unions operating in Maine have been surveyed, but the survey does not contain data from mortgage companies licensed to do business in Maine and not regulated by the Bureau of Financial Institutions.

While data collected from federally chartered financial institutions operating in Maine were more limited, they suggest trends comparable to those in state-chartered institutions and relatively low foreclosure activity, particularly when compared to the overall number of mortgages and the volume of foreclosures in other states, the department said.

Nationally, the number of homeowners caught in the wave of foreclosures in October grew 25 percent nationally over the same month in 2007, data released last week showed.

More than 279,500 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice in October, an increase of 5 percent over September. RealtyTrac Inc. said one in every 452 housing units received a foreclosure filing, such as a default notice, auction sale notice or bank repossession.

By the end of the year, the company expects more than a million bank-owned properties to appear on the market, representing around a third of all properties for sale in the United States.

Click for the Bureau of Financial Institution’s 2008 Annual Report to the Legislature The 2009 Annual Report will be available online in January.