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

""HOPE NOW"":https://www.hopenow.com/index.php, the private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, insurers, and nonprofit counselors, 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.

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Of the proprietary loan modifications completed in January, 74 percent involved reductions of principal and interest payments. HOPE NOW said this, and the fact that proprietary non-HAMP solutions outnumbered HAMP modifications almost two to one, is further proof that the industry is looking at a breadth of solutions designed to keep families in their homes.

Last year, HOPE NOW and its alliance partners decided to re-think survey data metrics as the issues and scope of the housing crisis changed. The result was an expansion and re-tooling of the data reporting--focusing on non-HAMP modifications and other non-HAMP industry solutions.

""Our primary purpose for reporting data remains unchanged: To track industry efforts helping distressed borrowers and avoiding foreclosure,"" said Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW. ""While Treasury and other government sponsored programs have garnered much attention, much of the servicers' hard work has gone unnoticed. Our new dataset is proof that the industry continues to aggressively find solutions for borrowers facing default.""

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Although HOPE NOW is seeing substantial success with non-HAMP modifications, the organization is also taking a lead in collecting documents to convert trial HAMP modifications to permanent status.

Most recently, 15 HOPE NOW servicers assisted more than 2,700 homeowners from across Arizona during four homeownership preservation events held during the second week of March. The last day of these workshops was a document collection event, specifically held for HAMP applications.

In addition, HOPE NOW is also using its Web portal--HOPE LoanPort--to speed along the HAMP application process. ""As DSNews previously reported"":http://dsnews.comarticles/hope-now-expands-loanport-2010-02-26, HOPE NOW recently expanded the HOPE LoanPort through its housing counselor partners in 25 states and more than 100 cities.

HOPE LoanPort gives HUD-approved counselors the ability to submit completed Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) applications directly to a homeowner's servicer, and it allows counselors to track the status of the application in order to provide borrowers with more timely decisions.

According to a recent ""article on Chicagotribune.com"":http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-biz-0317-loan-program--20100317%2C0%2C1232386.story, counselors at ""Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago"":http://www.nhschicago.org/Gateway/ started processing applications through the HOPE LoanPort in January. Use of the Web portal doesn't necessarily mean more homeowners will qualify for loan modifications, but it does help borrowers know sooner whether or not they qualify for a HAMP modificaiton.

The first 33 applications put through HOPE NOW's HOPE LoanPort program locally received a decision in two to four weeks, the article said. This is a notable improvement compared to May's average of 180 days and January's average of 153 days to get a decision for a manually-processed application.

Nationally, the HOPE LoanPort's average response time is 22 days for modifications that are granted and 17 days for those that are denied, the article said. However, Larry Gilmore, CEO of LoanPort, said as more applications enter the system, that kind of quick turnaround isn't expected to last. Still, he said, it is an improvement over the current process.

About Author: Brittany Dunn

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