Treasury, HUD Try Speeding Up Foreclosure Rescues

U.S. Treasury and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials today announced new paperwork guidelines to speed up permanent mortgage modifications for borrowers under the government’s beleaguered foreclosure rescue program. The new rules require key documents – including proof of income – from homeowners before initiating a trial modification. The upfront requirement is meant to accelerate the process at end of trials – when borrowers are evaluated for permanent relief with the reduction of monthly payments by hundreds of dollars. Previously, the paperwork was required after trial start-up.

Read more

Bank of America Signs Up for 2nd-Lien Foreclosure Rescues

Bank of America, the nation’s largest lender, has become the first to agree to modify second-lien mortgages in a yet-to-start new component of the government’s much-criticized foreclosure rescue program. “The formal action follows a verbal commitment to the program made by Bank of America’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan during a meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner earlier this month,” Bank of America said today in a statement.

Read more

Can Treasury Fix Its Foreclosure Rescue Program?

U.S. Treasury Officials plan to “revamp” its mortgage modification program in coming days, responding to intensifying criticism and a growing consensus that it is having a small impact on the ongoing foreclosure crisis. The New York Times reported this week that Treasury officials have been in talks with mortgage servicers to expedite the $75 billion Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. The program provides incentives to servicers who help struggling homeowners into mortgage reduction trials, and then place them into permanent relief with lower monthly payments.

Read more

Small Business Group: No Thanks on TARP Help

One of the most prominent small business associations is effectively telling the Obama Administration that it doesn’t want the Treasury’s bailout program shifted to help reinvigorate small business lending. The National Federation of Independent Business has gone even further by voicing support for an amendment that would stop any new initiatives with unused or repaid money under TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program – most notable for its big bank bailouts.

Read more

Foreclosure Walk-Aways: A Better Alternative to Mortgage Relief?

Frustrated by a lack of principal forbearance in the government’s mortgage modification program and the prospect of ‘drowning’ in underwater equity for years, some homeowners are opting to walk away – instead of going with a foreclosure rescue. The primary number reported by the Treasury: 112,521 modifications made permanent or pending such status through December. But only 17,280, or 26 percent, of permanent modifications approved and completed nationwide included either a reduction in principal or a temporary reduction that is re-administered to principal at the loan term’s end.

Read more

Bank of America: Top Lender’s Foreclosure-Help Rate Climbing

Bank of America, the nation’s top mortgage lender, is helping more near-foreclosure homeowners get on the government’s mortgage relief program, but it still retains the smallest placement rate of the big lenders – assisting about 19 percent of those eligible for modifications, according to U.S. Treasury figures. Nonetheless, BofA topped the list of servicers ranked by the number of modifications underway – 203,470 – through December, ahead of JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, CitiMortgage and Saxon Mortgage Services, the Treasury reported.

Read more

Foreclosure Rescues: 112,521 Now Set for Permanent Relief

The Obama Administration’s foreclosure-rescue campaign to convert more distressed borrowers to permanent mortgage relief is making progress, with 112,521 modifications made permanent or pending such status through December, according to the latest report from the U.S. Treasury. But the overall rate of those eligible homeowners who are getting assistance under Making Home Affordable, also known as Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), is 25 percent.

Read more

Foreclosure Filings Set New High at 2.8M Properties

Foreclosure notices set a record in 2009 with a total of 2,824,674 U.S. properties affected, up 21 percent from 2008 – and up 120 percent from 2007, said RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosures, in its annual report. For December, foreclosure filings were reported on 349,519 U.S. properties, a 14 percent jump from the previous month and a 15 percent increase from December 2008. Foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter, though, decreased 7 percent, compared with the third quarter – but still up 18 percent from fourth quarter 2008.

Read more

Mixed Signals from Obama's Foreclosure Rescue Team

Obama Administration officials touted eight months ago a program they said was vital for at least half of all homeowners facing foreclosure – one that helps reduce the payments of a second lien. This week, blogs are abuzz on speculation that the second lien modification program was placed on indefinite hold. One blog relayed an e-mail reportedly from a government source saying the plan had not signed up any mortgage servicers. Then a U.S. Treasury spokesperson denied that the program was shelved, but added that it has met with some challenges in ramping up.

Read more

Treasury: 2nd-Lien HAMP Not Shelved, Just Delayed

The U.S. Treasury is denying a report that the second lien mortgage modification program announced last April has been placed on hold, but confirmed it has been delayed due to lack of a “systematic method” to notify the lien holders. “That rumor is wrong,” Treasury spokesperson Meg Reilly, told HousingWire.com, referring to the program being shelved.

Read more

Report: Second-Lien HAMP Plan is Shelved

The Obama Administration’s plan to create a piggyback mortgage-modification program for second liens is “on hold,” according to a media report, despite an announcement from officials eight months ago that such a program is vital for helping half of all borrowers facing foreclosures. Administrators for the primary Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), emailed the following in response to a request for the list of mortgage services that have signed up for the second lien program: “That program is currently on hold and there is no list of servicers that registered before it was placed on hold,” CalculatedRiskBlog.com is reporting.

Read more