Thursday, May 14, 2009

Administration Announces Progress Under "Making Home Affordable Program", New Programs

Today Treasury Secretary Tim Geither and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced details of the implementation of the Making Home Affordable ("MHA") program. It is about two months since the program guidelines have been released.

Some data has been published as the the number of homeowners that have obtained relief under the U.S. Treasury Department's Making Home Affordable Program ("MHA") since it was and initiated in early March, having been first announced by the Administration on February 18, 2009.

The Secretaries report that "thousands of underwater borrowers" have refinanced under the Home Affordable Refinance Program. The program is expected to provide access to refinancing for up to 4 to 5 million homeowners. Apparently "more than one million" other Americans have been otherwise able to refinance since the implementation of the Home Affordable Refinance Program due to historically lower interest rates with FNMA seeing 233,000 eligible refinancing application.

It was also announced that more than 55,000 loan modification offers "have been extended to qualifying borrowers" under the Home Affordable Modification Program. This program is expected to assist up to 3 to 4 million troubled homeowners.

Home Price Decline Protection Incentives

Secretary Geithner also announced the new $10 billion "Home Price Protection Incentives("HPD P") program. This program is designed to provide an additional incentive to lenders for modification where "home price declines have been most severe and lenders fear these declines may persist... " Under HPD P, an "innovative payment" will be made to "provide[ ] compensation based on recent home price declines." This additional incentive together with the already provided incentive payments for all modified home is meant to "help cover the incremental collateral loss on those modifications that do not succeed." The HPD P payments are to be "linked to the rate of recent home price decline in a local housing market, as well as the average cost of a home in that market."

Foreclosure Alternatives - Short Sales and Deeds-in-Lieu

Another new program provides incentives to servicers and borrowers to pursue "short sales" and "deeds-in-lieu" where modification is not possible. This program is for situations where "the borrower is generally eligible for a MHA modification but does not qualify or is unable to complete the process". The program is meant to "simply and streamline the process of pursuing short sales and deeds-in-lieu by standardizing the process flow and documentation and offering financial incentives to the servicer and borrower.

Servicer Contracts and Coverage Otherwise for GSE Loans

The Secretaries reported that fourteen servicers, including the five largest, have signed contracts under the program and have begun modifications. It is reported that between the loans covered by these servicers (non-GSE loans) and loans serviced by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (GSE loans), more than 75% of all mortgage loans are accounted for.

The refinancing program is set to end in June, 2010 while the loan modification program is set to end December 31, 2012. Reportedly fourteen servicers, including the five largest, have already executed contracts under the program.