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CBO Expects Treasury to Use Just $20B of TARP to Mitigate Foreclosures

The Treasury has committed $50 billion of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to pay servicers for helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. New estimates released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show that the administration is expected to use no more than $20 billion for servicer incentives when all is said and done - indicating that HAMP will help far fewer distressed homeowners than originally promised.

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Foreclosure Starts Up Nearly 20% in California

Notice of defaults, which represent the start of the foreclosure process in California, increased by 19.7 percent in February, according to new data released this week by a locally-based company that tracks every foreclosure in the state. The sudden jump comes after four straight months of declines, when default notices fell to their lowest level in a year. The about-face has quickly quelled any ideas that California might be starting to make its way out of a crippling housing crisis.

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Equator Launches HAFA Software Solution

With the effective date of the administration's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program just around the corner, lenders and servicers are preparing for an influx of short sale and deed-in-lieu requests. In an effort to provide industry professionals with the technology they will need to service the hundreds of thousands of loans estimated to be eligible for HAFA, Equator Financial Solutions, a Los Angeles-based software provider of default servicing solutions, is launching a HAFA software solution.

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NAR Supports Use of BPOs in HAFA Program

The allowance of broker price opinions in the administration's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program has created a major controversy. As DSNews.com previously reported, four appraisal organizations recently wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, voicing concerns over the use of BPOs for short sales under HAFA. In response to this opposition, Vicki Cox Golder, president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), wrote her own letter, supporting HAFA and its allowance of BPOs.

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HOPE NOW’s Non-HAMP Loan Mods Lead the Way

HOPE NOW says its members completed 99,499 proprietary loan modifications in January, almost double that of the 50,364 permanent mods finalized under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) industry-wide during the same month. Although HOPE NOW is seeing substantial success with non-HAMP modifications, the organization is also taking a lead in helping servicers collect borrowers' documents at its localized outreach events, in order to speed the process of converting trial HAMP mods to permanent status.

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Loan Resolution Corp. Adding 100 Employees to Meet HAFA Demand

Loan Resolution Corporation announced Tuesday that the company is adding 100 positions this month to meet the marketplace's growing demand for short sales - demand that is expected to intensify even further when the government's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program takes effect in April and short sales become a mandate in servicers' waterfall of loss mitigation options.

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LPS Asset Management Launches Short Sale Service

With short sales gaining in popularity among lenders and homeowners alike, and the implementation date of the administration's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program just around the corner, Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) is making moves to help servicers respond to short sale offers more efficiently. The Florida-based technology provider announced the launch of its professional short sale service Tuesday.

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U.S. RMBS Losses to Increase as Government Programs Expire

With the expiration of several key government support programs looming, loss severities on distressed U.S. residential mortgage loans are likely to escalate, Fitch Ratings recently reported. The expiration in the coming months of both the homebuyer tax credit and the Federal Reserve's $1.25 trillion mortgage-backed securities (MBS) purchase program will increase negative pressure on home prices and loss severities.

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Leaders Convene at ‘Neighborhood Stabilization Boot Camp’

In an effort to develop new strategies for stabilizing neighborhoods that experience large numbers of foreclosures, dozens of local officials from 12 of the regions hit hardest by the housing crisis are meeting at Harvard University this week for the Neighborhood Stabilization Boot Camp.

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