According to ""Bank of America's"":https://www.bankofamerica.com/index.jsp monthly Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) progress report to the ""Department of Treasury"":http://www.treasury.gov/, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank has completed nearly 33,000 permanent HAMP modifications, including more than 12,000 since the previous monthly report.[IMAGE]
As of April 8, 2010, 32,900 Bank of America customers had been placed into completed mortgage modifications with affordable payments under HAMP, up from 20,666 reported a month earlier. This marked the bank's most productive month to date.
""We anticipated the momentum of completion of HAMP modifications would build as we entered spring, and we're seeing that,"" said Jack Schakett, loss mitigation strategies executive for Bank of America. ""As more homeowners have completed their required trial payment period and provided the information necessary for underwriting, an increasing number of Bank of America customers are receiving long-term assistance through the government initiative and the efforts of our associates.""
In addition to its progress in HAMP, the bank has also stepped up its participation efforts in other facets of the government's broad Making Home Affordable initiative. In January, ""Bank of America was the first servicer to sign an agreement to participate in the HAMP second lien modification program (2MP)"":http://dsnews.comarticles/bofa-signs-on-as-first-servicer-of-hamps-second-lien-program-2010-01-26, and on April 1, the bank became the first major servicer to begin extending 2MP modification offers to homeowners with completed first lien modification under HAMP.
Bank of America also said it is currently implementing the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program to[COLUMN_BREAK]
streamline short sales for eligible homeowners who cannot complete a HAMP modification. In addition, the bank has refinanced more than 190,000 mortgages under the Home Affordable Refinance Program to benefit homeowners, including more than 100,000 loans with loan-to-value ratios exceeding 80 percent, which makes them difficult to finance outside of government-supported programs in today's tight credit market.
While Making Home Affordable is at the center of Bank of America's homeownership retention efforts today, the bank has completed another 535,000 modification outside of HAMP through proprietary programs since January 2008. And last month, Bank of America announced ""enhancements to its National Homeownership Retention Program"":http://dsnews.comarticles/bofa-to-offer-principal-forgiveness-some-underwater-homeowners-2010-03-24 unveiled in October 2008 to assist certain former customers of Countrywide who have types of loans that have proven to be at the greatest risk of default.
These enhancements include a first look at principal reduction, ahead of a decrease in interest rate and term extension, when modifying eligible loans that are severely underwater or Pay-Option adjustable rate mortgages with balances that have increased due to negative amortization. Eligible homeowners have the opportunity to earn forgiveness of a portion of their principal balance by making payment in good standing over a period of time.
With all these efforts to keep customers in their homes, Bank of America found it necessary to make notable increases to the staff relevant to these initiatives.
According to a ""recent article on Americanbanker.com"":http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/175_68/bofa-deploys-more-resources-1017403-1.html, Bank of America's home mortgage unit now has 660 originators working on loan modifications, and total staffing in customer outreach is more than 15,000. In addition, the article said in November, Bank of America moved a few hundred employees from former Countrywide Financial branches that had back-office fulfillment operations to the bank's home retention center.
Americanbanker.com cited Rebecca Mairone, Bank of America's national default servicing executive, who said, ""We have brought in resources from the marketing department and formed best practices, which I don't think has ever been done before, for solicitation for how we put offers in place and how we get customers to respond. This is an important and dynamic change in servicing.""