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Showing posts with label Home Affordable Modification Program. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home Affordable Modification Program. Show all posts

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.

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, 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.