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Administration Finds Servicers Better at Implementing Mods

The continuation of improvements in the housing sector and servicer performance were a key focus in the Obama Administraton's ""housing scorecard"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=August_Scorecard.pdf and ""Making Home Affordable Program report"":http://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/financial-stability/reports/Documents/July%202012%20MHA%20Report_SERVICER%20ASSESSMENTS_Final.pdf.

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Maintaining its tone from previous months, the Obama administration’s housing scorecard said data on the housing market continues to show the market is strengthening, but still fragile.

Larger servicers participating in the Making Home Affordable Program were also described as continuing to show improvement.

The most recent servicer assessment evaluated servicer performance based on program implementation in three categories: identifying and contacting homeowners; homeowner evaluation and assistance; and program reporting, management and governance.

The assessment found that mortgage servicers are improving when calculating homeowner income as they determine who is eligible for a government modification. For example, the average income calculation error rate for top servicers dropped below two percent in the second quarter.

Treasury and servicers are also more synchronized when determining who is eligible for relief.

In the ""second look disagree"" category, which is the rate at which Treasury disagrees with the servicers' decision in finding a homeowner ineligible for a modification, the average percentage for the largest servicers stayed below one percent in the second quarter.

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Among the largest servicers, seven were categorized as needing moderate improvement (Bank of America, CitiMortgage, GMAC Mortgage, Homeward Residential, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Ocwen Loan Servicing, and Wells Fargo Bank), while two needed minor improvement (OneWest Bank and Select Portfolio Servicing).

""By shining a spotlight on individual servicer performance in key areas, and requiring improvements through our compliance process, the nation's largest mortgage servicers are fixing their processes while being held publicly accountable,"" said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad.

As of July, California has seen 210,748 permanent HAMP modifications, the most out of any other state.

With 65,760 permanent HAMP mods, Los Angeles was the highest ranked metropolitan area for its HAMP activity, followed by New York (53,762), Miami (42,916), Chicago (41,925), and Riverside (42,198).

The housing scorecard, jointly released by HUD and Treasury, provides a look at the state of housing based on data from the public and private sectors.

The scorecard noted the improvement in the Case-Shiller index, which showed an annual increase in home prices for the first time since September 2010, and also gave mention to second quarter data from CoreLogic, which revealed an 11 percent decrease in the number of underwater borrowers from the end of last year.

In a release, HUD Acting Assistant Secretary Erika Poethig further underscored the need for Congress to approve the Obama administration's refinancing proposal, pointing to the more than half a million refinances through the enhanced Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) so far this year.

Other highlighted data in the scorecard included HAMP figures. More than one million homeowners have received a permanent HAMP mod, which led to monthly savings of about $538. ""Huffington Post"":http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/obama-housing-hamp_n_1881972.html?utm_hp_ref=politics, however, pointed out that based on the report, 234,760 permanent modifications and 770,834 trials have been canceled since HAMP's 2009 launch, totaling 1,005,594 cancellations.

About Author: Esther Cho

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