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HAMP: What if we threw a loan mod party and nobody showed up?

Tue, Feb 1, 2011

News

I came across two stories this morning related to the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Loan Modification program, and the relevant facts seem to cross.

The program is supposed to help homeowner’s facing foreclosure to renegotiate burdensome loans, but it has been under fire for barely making a dent in the foreclosure crisis.

According to US Department of Treasury data, there were 16,982 HAMP modifications in December 2010. That’s a 20-percent drop from November and more than a 50-percent drop year-over-year.

One of the biggest challenges legislators and industry insiders talk about is getting the word out on foreclosure assistance programs (of course, many would argue that the biggest challenge is getting the banks to work with the borrowers).

Last week I spoke with Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, about a bill he sponsored to extend the existing home foreclosure deferment program until 2016.

“While not everyone who calls the foreclosure hotline will be eligible for this, we’ve found that the program increases the number of people who call early,” he said. “There are a lot of other programs the counselors offer that (the borrower) might not even have been aware of.”

Perhaps HAMP is one of those programs.

Nevada had the highest amount of foreclosures in the country last year, and according to this survey, most Nevadans facing foreclosure hadn’t even heard of the Home Affordable Modification Program.

“There may not be a single cure-all, but this report suggests that we can do more to make distressed homeowners aware of the free and low-cost resources available to help them,” said Nevada Association of Realtors President Linda Rheinberger in a prepared statement. “It also reinforces our belief that lenders would do well to speak to their customers before foreclosing.”

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