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Loss Mitigation

Moody’s Expects HAMP Missteps to Prolong Home Price Declines

Moody's Investors Service is forecasting another 8 percent decline in home prices before a bottom in property values is reached. That's actually an improvement over previous estimates, but it's the duration of depreciation that's the headline grabber. Last month, Moody's analysts were predicting the price floor to be reached in the third quarter of this year. Now they say it won't be hit until the end of the fourth quarter, largely because of the ""underwhelming"" success of the administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

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More CMBS Loans Moving to Special Servicing: Fitch

Loans within commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) are transferring to special servicing in larger batches and with increasing speed, Fitch Ratings said in its weekly U.S. CMBS newsletter. Last month saw 248 loans totaling $4.27 billion move into special servicing. That figure is four times the balance that transferred in January of last year.

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Short Sales Gaining Ground in Foreclosure-Ravaged Las Vegas

Las Vegas has the highest foreclosure rate of any metro in the country, but lenders there have become more willing to accept short sales as an alternative to foreclosure. The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR) reports that 21.1 percent of all existing-home sales in the area last month were short sales. GLVAR called it ""one of the more promising trends"" for the month.

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Loan Write-Downs Cited as Optimal Loan Modification Scheme

Theoretical analysis conducted by the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University found that banks would suffer fewer defaults among modified mortgages if they would shorten the duration of the restructured loans, rather than lengthening as they tend to do, and if they would forgive part of the loan - a method many are unwilling to apply because of the accounting impact. The study concludes, however, that principal write-downs maximize a borrower's willingness to pay, thereby maximizing the loan's economic value to the lender.

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Commercial Real Estate Losses Could Hit $300 Billion: TARP Panel

Losses from defaults on commercial real estate loans maturing in the next few years could go as high as $300 billion, threatening to topple nearly 3,000 community banks nationwide, a federal watchdog group has concluded. Market analysis by the Congressional Oversight Panel, charged with keeping tabs on the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), shows that none of the banks classified by federal guidelines as having a ""CRE Concentration"" are among the nation's largest holding companies.

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L.A. Bankruptcy Attorney Resolves Investors’ Inability to Service Debt

According to Los Angeles attorney Jerome S. Cohen, a chapter 11 specialist, many investors have found themselves unable to service debt due to vacancies, tenant defaults, and other problems that have arisen as a result of the struggling economy. However, banks are highly motivated to turn problems into performing loans, and Cohen says there is an opportunity to find creative solutions to this increasingly common issue.

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Company Proposes Paying Homeowners Not to Walk Away

With tumbling property values leaving nearly a quarter of borrowers owing more on their mortgage than the home is worth, some may find it tempting to walk away - either to get out from under the debt completely or to force the servicer's hand for a modification. This idea of ""strategic default"" has become a universal concern within the industry, but one New Jersey company says it has a plan to counter such calculated flights of exodus. According to the Loan Value Group LLC, it's time to pay current borrowers to stay that way.

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BOK Financial Acquires Rights to Service $4 Billion of Mortgages

BOK Financial Corp. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has acquired the rights to service a $4.1 billion portfolio of mortgage loans from Albuquerque, New Mexico's Charter Bank. The acquisition boosts BOK's current $7.4 billion servicing portfolio by 46 percent. The loans are predominantly held by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae, with approximately three quarters from customers in New Mexico.

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Wolters Kluwer Helps Mortgage Lenders Embrace H4H Program

Following the recent enhancements to the federal government's HOPE for Homeowners (H4H) program, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services has updated its library of H4H mortgage documents and consumer education materials. HUD's enhanced program includes several provisions meant to increase lender and borrower participation, including reduced program fees, streamlined borrower certification requirements, and new underwriting guidelines.

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Lender Live Settlement Services Experiences Significant Growth

Along with a growth of staff and office space last year, Denver-based LenderLive Network, Inc. said 2009 brought an expansion of product offerings to its LenderLive Settlement Services division. To help servicers reduce costs and complete more loan modifications, the company provides outsourced fulfillment services and is able to seamlessly bundle these services with its title and recording offerings.

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