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Further, this past fourth quarter, HAMP modifications reduced homeowners' monthly payments by $587 on average — or 35.9 percent of the pre-modification payments, the OCC and OTS report says. The average reduction for other programs was $351, or 22 percent, according to the report.
On the Web
The Treasury Department offers monthly reports and datasets about the performance of Making Home Affordable programs. Find them at:
• Making Home Affordable Program Reports: sctsm.in/MHAreports
• Making Home Affordable Data File: sctsm.in/MHAdata
On the flip side, going back to the lower numbers of distressed homeowners benefiting from HAMP than expected, many borrowers who start trial modifications are denied permanent loan modifications for reasons that vary from missing or incomplete documentation to outdated documentation to, in some cases, overpaying during their trial periods, according to a March New York Times report.
HAMP and other Making Home Affordable programs are scheduled to go through the end of 2012. This past March 28, however, the House of Representatives voted to terminate HAMP early. Reports indicate the bill likely won't pass in the Senate, and if it did, White House officials have indicated President Barack Obama would veto it if it came across his desk.
Also, this past April, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced it would start "grading" servicers on their HAMP performance. The department will start releasing quarterly compliance reports, including a scorecard for the 10 largest HAMP servicers that measures how they evaluate homeowners for modifications in addition to their staff resources and internal processes.
RealtyTrac estimates 3 million foreclosures will take place this year. Call me an optimist, but it seems to me that having a program that has helped homeowners comprising 21 percent of that figure since its inception modify their loans permanently is a lot better than not having such a program at all.
Ivanna C. Sukkar is the editor of Scotsman Guide. Reach her at (800) 297-6061
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