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Showing posts with label HAMP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HAMP. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Guidance for Borrowers Seeking Home Loan Modifications Under the Making Homes Affordable Act

On Monday, February 27, 2017, Fannie Mae, acting as administrator of Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), implemented portions of the Supplemental Directive 16-02 regarding the termination of Making Homes Affordable Program (MHA).

Now, borrowers who have applied for a modification on or before the termination of the MHA on December 31, 2016 under HAMP Tier 1, HAMP Tier 2, Streamline HAMP, Second Lien Modification Program (2MP), Treasury Federal Housing Administration HAMP (Treasury FHA-HAMP), and Rural Development HAMP (RD-HAMP) must have modification effective dates on or before December 1, 2017. Additionally, closing dates for a transaction under Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA) must be on or before December 1, 2017.

In conjunction with the termination of the MHA on December 31, 2016, Supplemental Directive 16-02 provides guidance to servicers regarding non-Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Mortgages of borrowers who have requested assistance prior to December 31, 2016. Specifically, this Directive applies to: the HAMP, the Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP), HAFA, 2MP, Treasury FHA-HAMP, and RD-HAMP. In addition, this Supplemental Directive provides guidance with respect to the eligibility of certain GSE HAMP Loans to receive pay-for-performance incentives through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

So, the MHA has ended. However, no need to worry if you have applied on or before December 31, 2016 for a home loan modification through MHA because you still have time to receive the benefits of the MHA if you complete the modification process by December 1, 2017.

Alternatively, if you have not yet applied for a home loan modification, New Yorkers may continue seek mortgage modifications under Civil Practice Law and Rule §3408.



Thursday, September 08, 2016

New Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Refinance Program for 2017

On August 25, 2016, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a new refinance program by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that will be implemented in October 2017 for borrowers who are underwater on their mortgages.

This new program will replace the current Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which was set to expire on December 31, 2016. To avoid a gap of almost one year between the commencement of the new program and the expiration of HARP, the FHFA, which oversees both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has also extended HARP through September 30, 2017.

HARP was launched in 2009 to assist homeowners who have high loan-to-value ratios to obtain refinanced loans with better rates. For clarity, HARP is different than the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which is more generally familiar to our readership. HAMP was designed to assist homeowners in obtaining mortgage modifications on their existing loans whereas HARP is for homeowners seeking to refinance their loans into an entirely new mortgage product. Moreover, HAMP is for loans that are already in default or at risk of default whereas HARP is only for homeowners who are current on their loans.

A borrower is eligible for HARP through September 30, 2017 if:
  1.  There are no missed mortgage payments within the last six months;
  2. There is not more than one missed mortgage payment within the last twelve months;
  3. The house is a primary residence, 1-unit second home, or a 1- to 4- unit investment property;
  4. It is a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-owned loan;
  5. The loan was made on or before May 31, 2009; and
  6. The loan-to-value is greater than 80%.
The new refinance program launching in October 2017 will be more “targeted” than HARP, but details are not yet fully available. The following are the currently known eligibility requirements:
  1. There are no missed mortgage payments within the last six months;
  2. There is not more than one missed mortgage payment within the last twelve months;
  3. The borrower must have a source of income;
  4.  It is a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-owned loan; and
  5. The borrower must receive a benefit, such as reduced monthly mortgage payments.
Of greatest import, unlike the expiring HARP, the new program will extend eligibility to loans made after May 2009 and borrowers will be able to refinance under the new program more than one time. Though more than 3.4 million homeowners have already refinanced under HARP, there are still hundreds of thousands of eligible homeowners who are still in need of assistance. This new program will continue to assist homeowners who are suffering from the housing crisis and open up opportunities to refinance for new categories of homeowners.

Unfortunately, no new announcements have been made to extend HAMP through 2017 even though there remains many properties currently in foreclosure and many millions more properties at risk for default. HAMP is set to expire on December 31, 2016. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Major Federal Foreclosure Prevention Program Will Come to an End in 2016

The Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program, which was launched in 2009 to assist millions of distressed homeowners facing foreclosure, is set to expire on December 31, 2016. Under this program, homeowners with non-GSE mortgages (i.e. mortgages not owned or guaranteed by FannieMae or Freddie Mac) may apply and be reviewed for refinancing, loan modifications, short sales, deeds-in-lieu, and unemployment assistance with their lenders in accordance with stringent guidelines set forth in the Making Home Affordable Handbook. Many homeowners who were approved for loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) were also eligible for free HUD-approved credit counseling to assist them in creating a household budget that lowers the risk of default in the future.

Previously set to expire on December 31, 2015, MHA was extended through 2016 due to its widespread success and the continuing need for relief for millions of homeowners nationwide. However, the number of applications under the MHA program have declined overall in recent years due to both the stabilizing housing market and drop in the unemployment rate. At the end of 2015, RealtyTrac reported that there were 1,083,572 properties with foreclosure filings nationwide—a significant drop from the peak of 2,871,891 properties with foreclosure filings in 2010. As of May 2016, RealtyTrac reported a total of 896,913 properties in default, at auction or repossessed by the banks.

The Obama administration has not yet announced another one-year extension to the program through 2017, and it is unclear at this time whether such an extension will be granted. The unknowns that are involved with the looming presidential election make the possibility of an extension even less clear. Though the foreclosure rate is down, there is still a great need for the MHA program for the many properties currently in foreclosure and the many millions more that are still at risk for default.

Homeowners who are still facing the possibility of foreclosure may apply for any of the foreclosure alternative programs under MHA on or before December 31, 2016 deadline.

Though it is not necessary to have a decision on the application for a loan modification, short sale, or deed-in-lieu by the end of 2016 to be eligible under the MHA program, servicers are required under the MHA program to design policies and procedures that ensure that permanent modifications are effective by December 1, 2017 and short sales and deeds-in-lieu are closed by December 1, 2017.

Struggling homeowners should apply now to take advantage of the foreclosure alternatives provided by the MHA program before the deadline of December 31, 2016. If homeowners do not apply by that date, they will be limited to applying for lender/servicer in-house programs, which are usually limited in scope and may not be as affordable or reasonable as the offers under the MHA program.

The candidates for the 2016 election should take a position on the possibility of extending the MHA program through 2017 in order to help the millions in foreclosure and in default. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New Making Home Affordable Handbook Released: Program to End in 2016

The U.S. Department of Treasury recently released Supplemental Directive 16-04 (Making Home Affordable Program – Handbook for Servicers Version 5.1).  This Supplemental Directive announces the release of Version 5.1 of the Making Home Affordable (“MHA”) Handbook (the “Handbook”).  This newest version of the Handbook consolidates the “sunset” provisions provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury in Supplemental Directive 16-02 (MHA Program Termination and Borrower Application Sunset) and Supplemental Directive 16-03 (MHA Program Termination and Borrower Application Sunset II) into one location for ease of reference.

Distressed homeowners who are facing foreclosure must submit their request for mortgage assistance under the MHA program by December 31, 2016.  After that date, lenders will no longer be required to comply with the MHA guidelines set forth in the Handbook.  This will leave many distressed homeowners with few remaining options and most will face the possibility of foreclosure.

The MHA program was announced in 2009, by the Obama Administration, as a relief to distressed homeowners.  The MHA program’s objective is to provide guidelines to lenders to modify the terms of eligible mortgages so that “at-risk” homeowners would be able to reduce their monthly mortgage payments and to avoid foreclosure.  According to the most recent MHA Program Performance Report, during the last 7 years, the MHA program has only helped 2.5 million of the 7 to 9 million homeowners that were identified as “at-risk” by the Obama Administration in 2009.  This means that the remaining 4.5 to 6.5 million “at-risk” homeowners who do not submit their request for borrower assistance by December 31, 2016, will be faced with foreclosure.

Congress’ decision to abandon the MHA program seems misguided because of the time and resources it has invested in the program.  Most importantly, the termination of the program on December 31, 2016, leaves up to 6.5 million “at-risk” homeowners scrambling to submit requests for assistance of face the possibility of foreclosure. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Making Home Affordable Program to End in 2016

The U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) recently released Supplemental Directive (SD) 16-03 (MHA Program Termination and Borrower Application Sunset II) to the Making Home Affordable (MHA) handbook, containing “sunset” provisions for its MHA program. The release of this Supplemental Directive signals that there will be no further extensions of the program.

The Making Home Affordable program was announced in 2009, by the Obama Administration, as a relief to distressed homeowners. The MHA program’s objective is to provide guidelines to lenders to modify the terms of eligible mortgages so that “at-risk” homeowners would be able to reduce their monthly mortgage payments and to avoid foreclosure. According to the most recent MHA Program Performance Report, during the last 7 years, the MHA program has only helped 2.5 million of the 7 to 9 million homeowners that were identified as “at-risk” by the Obama Administration in 2009. This means that the remaining 4.5 to 6.5 million “at-risk” homeowners who do not submit their request for borrower assistance by December 31, 2016, will be faced with foreclosure.

SD 16-03 provides the following modifications to the MHA handbook for winding down the program:
  • All borrower requests for assistance under MHA must be submitted by December 31, 2016;
  • On December 1, 2017, MHA Help and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) Solution Center will no longer accept new cases, nor escalate cases to servicers;
  • All cases that have been escalated prior to December 1, 2017 must be resolved by May 1, 2018;
  • After December 30, 2016, servicers will no longer be required to assign relationship managers to borrowers;
  • Effective May 1, 2018, servicers will no longer be required to follow Section 3 of Chapter 1 of the MHA Handbook; however, the Treasury suggests that servicers continue to follow the best practices that have been established by MHA;
  • After September 1, 2016, servicers are no longer required to satisfy the Reasonable Effort standard set forth in Section 2.2.1 of Chapter II of the MHA handbook; and
  • Servicers will not be required to suspend a scheduled foreclosure sale if a borrower submits an Initial Package after December 30, 2016.
After continuously developing and expanding the MHA program over the last 7 years, it is surprising that Congress has refused to extend its life. Since 2009, the Treasury has issued 5 versions of its MHA handbook and has issued over 80 Supplemental Directives, including SD 16-03, refining the guidance it has provided to participating servicers. Congress’ decision to abandon the MHA program seems misguided because of the time and resources it has invested in the program. Most importantly, the termination of the program on December 31, 2016, leaves up to 6.5 million “at-risk” homeowners scrambling to submit requests for assistance or face the possibility of foreclosure.

Monday, July 13, 2015

HAMP Streamlined Modifications

The U.S. Treasury Department has issued Supplemental Directive 15-06 “Making Home Affordable Program – Streamlined Modification Process”.

This new program is akin to the Streamlined Modifications already offered on GSE Loans. GSE or “Government-sponsored enterprise”, are privately held corporations for a public purpose such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These GSEs have had in place streamline modifications that Loan Servicers are mandated to offer to eligible borrowers. One draw-back in any type of modification with a GSE Loan is the fact that principal reduction is not offered.

This new directive is for Non-GSE Loans and the Loan Servicers and Lenders such as Chase, Citibank, Carrington Mortgage, Nationstar Mortgage and so many others. The streamline modification provides a modification opportunity to delinquent borrowers of Non-GSE Loans without the need to submit any docs or for any income verification. In fact, once a Loan Servicer has designated its pool of eligible borrowers a Streamline HAMP Trial Period Plan Offer will be issued to the Borrower. The only thing for the Borrower to do is make the first payment to enter into the trial period. This will greatly improve the approval process for those Borrowers that are directly designated and free up resources for those borrowers that may not be eligible by lessening the modification approval time frame. The bonus is that in Non-GSE modifications, principal reduction can, and may be included in the modification.

Eligible Borrowers will only learn of this from their Loan Servicers directly by mail. Be sure to keep an eye on all mail received from your Loan Servicer to see if you are in luck. Regrettably, if a Borrower does not fit within the specific eligibility pool they will be out of luck for streamline modifications.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Making Home Affordable Program (MHA) has been formally extended 1 year

The Making Home Affordable Program (MHA), has been formally extended 1 year, through December 31, 2016, by Supplemental Directive 15-04. The program has been widely successful in providing affordable alternatives to foreclosure for millions of homeowners nationwide, and the extension through 2016 will provide relief to the millions more who will be in danger of falling behind on their mortgages in the next year.

This extension applies only to mortgages that are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and for applications that are submitted to the Lender on or before December 31, 2016. Though it is not necessary to have a decision on the application for a loan modification, short sale, or deed-in-lieu by the end of 2016 to be eligible under the MHA program, the transaction must close on or before September 30, 2017 if the borrower would like to receive incentive compensation, such as relocation assistance, payments for successfully completing a short sale or deed-in-lieu, or payments for making timely loan modification payments. Since the amount of relocation assistance that Lenders must offer has increased from $3,000 to $10,000 for all HAFA (short sales & deeds-in-lieu) transactions closing on or after February 1, 2015, borrowers must be mindful of the deadlines so that they may be eligible to receive this increased amount to assist them in moving costs.

This Directive also amends the MHA guidebook to allow servicers to establish a cap on the amount that they will pay to release the second mortgage liens, as long as the cap is not less than $12,000. It establishes a floor amount that borrowers may receive from their primary mortgage lenders to assist them in closing on their short sales or deeds-in-lieu.


These amendments ensure that borrowers will continue to have access to adequate relief through the MHA program.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mortgage Modifications Update - New Base Net Present Value Model v5.0

This revised tool is used by "servicers participating in HAMP as a tool for deciding whether to modify a troubled mortgage that is eligible for subsidies under the program".

A main thrust of this new version of the NPV tool is for non-owner-occupied properties.

Additionally, investor incentives for successful modifications are enhanced by way of this new Model v5.0.

If you want to actually know how modification decisions are made, knowing this document is a must.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

New Amendment Allows For Borrowers to Re-Modify Loans That Have Already Received a HAMP Modification If They Experience a New Hardship

Great news for those struggling with their mortgage after previously receiving a modification! Now, you can re-modify your mortgage due to recent amendments to the Making Homes Affordable (MHA) Handbook. On September 30th, Treasury released Supplemental Directive 14-03, which provides new guidelines, updates and clarifications that servicers must follow.

To better understand these new amendments, previously, a servicer could not re-modify a loan that received a HAMP permanent modification until either the loan lost good standing or more than 5 years had passed since the permanent modification effective date.

Now, the new rule permits a loan that was previously permanently modified under HAMP to be re-modified regardless of loss of good standing so long as, either, the borrower has experienced a change in circumstance, or at least 12 months have passed since the HAMP Modification Effective Date. This amendment will allow for borrowers to re-modify loans that have already received a HAMP permanent modification if they experience a new hardship or if one year has passed.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

New Pressure for Lenders to Negotiate in Good Faith


If you are a struggling homeowner and have sought relief via a loan modification, there may be new pressure on lenders to negotiate a modification. Last week, New York’s Appellate Division, Second Department, ruled in US Bank N.A. v  Sarmiento that Wells Fargo, a well-known lender, could not collect interest or fees on a loan that had accrued while a borrower, Sarmiento, pursued a loan modification. Sarmiento attended 18 settlement conferences and remained persistent in obtaining a loan modification yet the decision indicates that Wells “delayed and prevented any possible resolution of the action.” Wells is cited for various delays and miscommunications which when considered wholly, led to the determination by the court that Wells failed to negotiate in good faith. This court decision yielded a long-awaited definition of “good faith” with regards to negotiations in foreclosure conferences.  The court concluded that Wells’ conduct indicates a “disregard for the settlement negotiation process” which increased the balance on Sarmiento’s loan.

This decision gives hope to borrowers frustrated with the often drawn-out process of obtaining a loan modification. If a lender loses documents, repeatedly requests the same information, fails to review the application in a timely manner, denies an application without adequate grounds or deliberately or recklessly delays the process in any way, a borrower now has the option to demonstrate the lender’s failure to negotiate in good faith. This could translate to thousands of dollars lost in interest and legal fees for lenders.


Hopefully, this will put pressure on lenders to remain timely and organized in their evaluation of a borrower’s loan modification application for if they don’t comply with good faith guidelines, they could be at risk to lose a great deal of money. But remember, “good faith” is a double edged sword, as borrowers must also negotiate in good faith by putting forth a purposeful and honest effort at a settlement conference to reach a resolution.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Home Affordable Modification Program has been Extended

If you are a struggling homeowner and have defaulted or are at risk of default on your mortgage loan, an application for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) may be your best chance of obtaining an affordable loan modification.

Previously set to expire in December 2015, the Home Affordable Modification Program has recently been extended by the Obama Administration through December 2016. This federal loan modification program has been successful in providing reductions in monthly mortgage payments for millions of homeowners nationwide. Unlike Lender-based modifications, this program has two tiers, one of which requires a debt-to-income of 31% in its modification terms and another which requires a 10% reduction in monthly mortgage payments. If a homeowner is not eligible for Tier 1, then he or she will be reviewed for Tier 2, thus giving homeowners two chances to obtain lower, affordable monthly mortgage payments in their application for HAMP.

Oftentimes, Lenders that have their own loan modifications will only add the arrears to the principal balance without changing any other terms of the loan, thus creating monthly mortgage payments that are, in fact, higher than the original payments. Struggling homeowners often cannot accept a modification with higher payments because their hardships are long term or even permanent.

HAMP, however, requires affordable mortgage payments as part of its program and now will continue through the remaining term of the Obama Administration.

Monday, June 30, 2014

What You Need to Know About the HAMP Loan Modification Process

Before you apply for a loan modification, it is wise to understand and have realistic expectations about the process. The Home Affordable Modification Program, now in its fifth year, is the federal modification program that has, to date, successfully provided for over 1.3 million permanent loan modifications nationwide. Many homeowners, however, do not know the steps in the HAMP modification process and feel frustrated or upset if they receive a modification with terms that are not what they expected. What homeowners must realize is that a HAMP Tier 1 loan modification requires a 31% debt-to-income ratio and must be reviewed in a ‘waterfall’ process, meaning that the Lender must modify the loan by specific means in a specific order.

The waterfall process is as follows:

1. Capitalization: When the Lender adds unpaid interest and unpaid tax and insurance payments to the principal balance. Late fees may not be capitalized for HAMP modifications.

2. Interest rate reduction: When the Lender reduces the original interest rate of the loan. Oftentimes, the Lender reduces the interest rate to 2% for the first five years and then gradually increases the interest rate on the loan every year until it reaches the current market value.

3. Term extension: When the Lender extends the life of the loan. The cap on a term extension for HAMP is 480 months or 40 years.

4. Principal forbearance: When the Lender forbears a portion of the principal balance. This portion of the principal balance becomes a “balloon payment,” which must be paid in full at the loan’s maturity or when there is a transfer of the property. It does not accrue interest.


If the debt-to-income ratio is not 31% after the Lender capitalizes the loan, then the Lender must then try to reduce the interest rate and so on until it achieves the desired ratio. If the ratio is still not 31% after the Lender has gone through the entire waterfall process, then the homeowner will be deemed ineligible for HAMP Tier 1 and then will be reviewed for other loan modifications, if available.

Friday, May 16, 2014

New Policy to Reduce Foreclosures on Long Island

Starting in June 2014, judges on Long Island will take on a substantial role in Foreclosure Settlement Conferences as issues arise in foreclosure litigation. The purpose of this new policy is to solve homeowners’ issues in an efficient way and help more homeowners obtain loan modifications in an area of the country where the percentage of foreclosures is still quite high.

New York requires judicial intervention in the foreclosure process. It is New York State Law that the courts must hold Foreclosure Settlement Conferences for all residential foreclosure actions involving home loans originating between January 1, 2003 and September 1, 2008, or nontraditional home loans. Previously overseen only by Court-appointed referees, these conferences allow borrowers to discuss workout options with their mortgage lenders in order to avoid foreclosure. However, the process has always been flawed, as lenders oftentimes would send representatives who not only did not have knowledge of the cases but also had no authority. This new policy is supposed to address these types of issues quickly, correct the flaws of the Foreclosure Settlement Conferences, and protect borrowers against the wrongful practices of these mortgage lenders. A judge is much more equipped to handle these issues than a referee, allowing for fewer foreclosures on Long Island.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guidelines Shifting for the Federal Loan Modification Program

Updates to the Making Home Affordable Handbook for the federal Home Affordable Modification Program are available here and will be effective July 1, 2014!

Top things you need to know about HAMP:
  1. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is a federal program designed to help homeowners obtain affordable loan modifications.
  2. HAMP Tier 1 only applies to loans of principal residences.
  3. A HAMP Tier 1 mortgage payment must reflect 31% of the homeowner's gross monthly income.
  4. HAMP Tier 2 may apply to loans of principal residences or to loans of rental properties.
  5. A HAMP Tier 2 mortgage payment must be within the range of 25% to 42% of the homeowner's gross monthly income.
  6. A HAMP Tier 2 mortgage payment must represent a reduction of at least 10% of the original mortgage payment amount. 
However, Supplemental Directive 14-02 to the Making Home Affordable Handbook is drastically changing the requirements under HAMP Tier 2 to make it easier than ever to get a loan modification on a non-GSE rental property!

In Section 6.3.3 of Chapter II of the MHA Handbook, the post-modification principal and interest payment under HAMP Tier 2 must be at least ten percent less than the pre-modification principal and interest payment. To clarify, if the original monthly principal and interest mortgage payment is $3,000, then the modified monthly principal and interest mortgage payment under HAMP Tier 2 must be $2,700 or less according to the ten percent reduction rule. Under this Supplemental Directive, however, this required percentage is totally erased. Now, it is only required that the post-modification principal and interest payment be less than the pre-modification principal and interest payment, thus expanding the amount of homeowners eligible for HAMP Tier 2. In the past, many homeowners were ineligible because servicers could not reduce the principal and interest amount by the required percentage due to the default amount, monthly real estate taxes, property value, and other similar factors. Without a required percentage, servicers will have a much easier time reducing the post-modification principal and interest payment for more homeowners across the country.

However, it should be noted that servicers may require a minimum reduction as long as that reduction is not greater than ten percent. Servicers must include this minimum reduction in their written policy if they choose to do so.

Another important clarification is the modification of loans prior to the loss of good standing. If a homeowner would like to modify an already HAMP-Tier 1-modified loan and is not in default on that loan, he or she may be eligible for HAMP Tier 2 if it has been more than five years since the HAMP Tier 1 modification. Once a homeowner accepts a HAMP Tier 1 loan modification, he or she cannot obtain another one in the future if that loan goes into default again. HAMP Tier 2, however, would still be available to this homeowner as a loan modification option (even if the property is a primary residence) as long as it has been more than five years since the original HAMP Tier 1 modification date. Since the Home Affordable Modification Program is the federal program to help homeowners cure their default, it always has priority over Lender in-house modifications.

Also included in this Supplemental Directive are updated guidelines regarding post-modification counseling, assistance for homeowners with limited English proficiency, and notice of interest rate step-ups. Although these guidelines are important as well, it is crucial that real estate agents focus on the new HAMP Tier 2 guidelines, especially if their clients own rental properties that are in risk of default or are currently in default. The more knowledgeable you are able these guidelines, the more your clients will trust you in other aspects of real estate.

Again, these updated guidelines will be effective July 1, 2014, and it is important that you understand and prepare for these changes. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are Setting Records in Profits

Due to the housing bubble burst in 2008, the federal government took ownership of the mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and bailed them out of financial ruin. Not only did this bailout cost $187.5 billion in taxpayer dollars, but it also took years for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to recover from their monumental losses and begin to profit again.

However, there is good news! Now that the mortgage giants are profitable again, they have more than repaid the government for their 2008 bailout by paying dividends to the U.S. Treasury of $192.5 billion. Fannie Mae alone broke records with its $84 billion profit in 2013, completely exceeding the government’s expectation of recovery.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not expect to make as huge a profit in 2014 as they did in 2013, but they are hopeful that they will remain profitable in the long run. The Obama Administration, however, still wants to overhaul the mortgage giants and take away their monopoly on the mortgage market. There is currently a bipartisan bill in the Senate called the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013 that focuses on financial reform and will hopefully take center stage this year.

Brokers, keep in mind that the housing market may drastically change in the next 5 years as private lending replaces the government-sponsored enterprises. However, now that the mortgage giants are turning such huge profits, reform may experience some delays. It is difficult to enact reforms when times are good, even though another financial crisis always looms on the horizon. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Case Escalations: Power to the Homeowner

Have you applied for a loan modification and felt that your servicer did not properly review you for HAMP and other Making Home Affordable programs? Perhaps your servicer lost your documents or failed to provide you with the proper update on your file? Well, what are you waiting for? Escalate your case today and demand your servicer to be in accordance with the MHA guidelines!

Homeowners may contact the MHA Hotline at 888-995-HOPE to request assistance in the escalation of their cases. The MHA Support Center, acting as an intermediary between the homeowner and servicer, ensures that the servicer is complying with the MHA guidelines and is reviewing homeowners’ case escalations in a timely fashion. However, homeowners may also contact their servicers directly or authorize their attorneys to go through the HAMP Solution Center (HSC) to seek resolution. No matter what route is taken, it may take up to 30 or more days for an escalated case to be reviewed and resolved, so homeowners should act immediately if they believe to have been wrongly denied a MHA Program.

Case escalations give power to the homeowner and keep disorganized servicers in check. Please go here if you would like to know how to escalate your case today!


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Supplemental Directive 13-09 to Take Effect in Two Days

The time has come! Supplemental Directive 13-09 to the Making Homes Affordable handbook will take effect in two days on January 10, 2014.

As discussed in a previous entry, this Supplemental Directive makes the loss mitigation process easier, clearer, and more efficient. It is an alignment with the final Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CNPB) Mortgage Servicing Regulations, which prohibit high risk lending and will also take effect on January 10, 2014. 

Servicers must review documents and submit Incomplete Information Notices in tighter timeframes than ever before. This makes sense because most borrowers submit incomplete initial packets anyway and should be advised of missing documents immediately to move forward from the initial stage. By contacting the borrowers earlier and responding to them quicker, servicers are now able to maximize borrower protection in their review of loan modification applications.

The Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development did not want to completely overhaul the Making Homes Affordable guidebook because they did not want to alter or destroy the integrity of the programs. All changes to the Making Homes Affordable handbook were kept to a minimum and in accordance with the final CFPB Mortgage Servicing Regulations. Remember, the CFPB regulations are the bare bones of requirements for servicers, so when servicers review borrowers for HAMP, they still must consider the Making Homes Affordable handbook and state laws as well.  

Also, HAMP still remains top priority even though CFPB regulations require borrowers to be considered for all loss mitigation options at the same time. If the servicer participates in the HAMP program and the borrower is eligible for HAMP, the borrower must be given HAMP over other in-house loan modifications. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Supplemental Directive 13-09 to the Making Homes Affordable Handbook will speed up the loss mitigation process

Are you sick of the unnecessarily long HAMP application process? Do you have countless loss mitigation initial packages sitting on your desk at home? Well, good news! Supplemental Directive 13-09 to the Making Homes Affordable Handbook, issued on October 18th, 2013, makes the loss mitigation process more efficient.

Under Section 2.2.2 of Chapter II of the Making Homes Affordable Handbook, “Right Party Contact” is established when the Lender successfully communicates with the borrower regarding loss mitigation options. After these options are discussed and the borrower decides to apply for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the servicer must submit to the borrower an initial loss mitigation package that would allow the borrower to apply for HAMP. This package, at a minimum, must include the Request for Mortgage Assistance form, which asks the borrower to outline his income, expenses, assets, real estate, and reason for delinquency.  The package, however, can also include documents such as 4506-T, which grants the servicer access to the borrower’s tax returns, and the Dodd-Frank Certification form, which requires that a person is ineligible for any MHA program if that person has been convicted of felony, larceny, theft, fraud, forgery, money laundering, or tax evasion in the last ten years.

Before Supplemental Directive 13-09 was issued, if the borrower did not at least complete and submit the Request for Mortgage Assistance, the servicer had to re-submit the entire initial package to the borrower.
However, under Supplemental Directive 13-09, if the borrower submits any documents of an initial package, such as the 4506-T, RMA, or Dodd-Frank Certification, the servicer must now confirm receipt of the documents and submit an “Incomplete Information Notice.” No longer does the servicer need to re-submit the entire initial package if the borrower only completes a 4506-T.  An Incomplete Information Notice is sufficient. The only time the servicer must re-submit the initial package is when the borrower does not submit any documents whatsoever.

In Section 4.5 of Chapter II of the MHA Handbook, before Supplemental Directive 13-09 was issued, servicers confirmed receipt of initial package within 10 business days and had to make a decision regarding the borrower’s request for HAMP within 30 days. The servicer was not required to respond immediately to requests and this was one of the biggest problems when applying for HAMP or other loss mitigation options. The process dragged on and the borrower sometimes had to wait an entire month before hearing from his or her servicer regarding the loan modification application.

However, under Supplemental Directive 13-09, the servicers must now confirm receipt of the initial package within 5, not 10, business days and must also inform the borrowers at this time whether or not additional documents are needed to complete the loan modification application. This amendment to the MHA Handbook will speed up with loan modification application process. Servicers must confirm receipt of documents and inform of additional document requests within 5 business days.

Also, under the Supplemental Directive 13-09, if the application remains incomplete for a long period of time and the servicer has diligently attempted to obtain the requested documents from the borrowers, then the borrower can be deemed as ineligible for HAMP. If this happens, the servicer must submit to the borrower a “Non-Approval Notice” that informs the borrower why he or she is ineligible for HAMP at this time. This does not mean, however, that the borrower will be forever ineligible for HAMP. If there is a change in circumstances, for example, a new application for HAMP may be submitted to the servicer.


Once a complete loan modification application is submitted to the servicer, the review process begins and takes up to thirty (30) days.

Thank you to Lieb at Law's Assistant Case Manager, Jessica Vogele, for sharing this valuable information. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Making Home Affordable Program: Supplemental Directive 13-08

Are you currently applying for a HAMP loan modification? Then good news! If you are granted a HAMP trial period or permanent loan modification on or after March 1, 2014, you may have access to free financial counseling from your servicer!

Currently, Section 6.7 of Chapter II of the MHA Handbook, only borrowers with a total debt-to-income ratio of 55 percent are required to obtain HUD-approved financial counseling when they are approved for a Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) modification. These borrowers are at high risk of defaulting because they use over half of income just to satisfy their debts and have little income left over every month. It makes sense that these high-risk borrowers are required to speak with a counselor, but under this Section of the MHA Handbook, they are the only ones required to receive such counseling.
Now, under the Supplemental Directive 13-08, servicers must offer financial counseling to borrowers who have been granted a HAMP trial period plan or permanent modification regardless of the total debt-to-income ratio. More borrowers than ever before will now have access to free financial counseling from their servicers, provided that their servicers participate in HAMP, and either have enough money for HAMP ($75 million or more) or voluntarily choose to follow Supplemental Directive 13-08. This Supplemental Directive is effective March 1, 2014 and does not apply to loans that are owned, insured, or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Veterans Administration, the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS), or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Even so, this Supplemental Directive will apply to many mortgage loans and affect millions of people who have been approved of a HAMP trial period or HAMP permanent modification.


The purpose of the financial counseling is to ensure that the borrowers are able to successfully complete their trial period plans and afford their permanent modified payments. Even borrowers who have already received a HAMP permanent modification before March 1, 2014 can receive financial counseling if they are at a high risk of default or believe they will be at risk in the future. It is an exciting opportunity for borrowers to receive free financial counseling from their servicers and for servicers to receive consistent monthly payments from every borrower who has received a HAMP modification.

Thank you to Lieb at Law's Assistant Case Manager, Jessica Vogele, for sharing this valuable information. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mortgage Foreclosure Alert: New Making Home Affordable Program Handbook Released - Version 4.3

To access the new Handbook for MHA, inclusive of HAMP and HAFA, click here
This Handbook is the rules for banks / servicers to modify mortgages, so pay careful attention to detail and make sure that they comply.