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Tag Archives: Foreclosure Prevention

Congress Calls for Principal Reductions from GSEs

Twenty-one members of Congress sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Edward DeMarco calling on him to allow - even encourage - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to start reducing principal balances for distressed homeowners. The lawmakers say underwater borrowers pose a greater risk of eventual default. They're advocating for principal writedowns, not ""as a kindness to homeowners,"" but to save taxpayers from future losses.

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Holistic Financial Counseling Reduces Re-default Rate: Study

Holistic financial counseling -- that which focuses on a borrower's entire financial situation -- can prevent both foreclosures and re-defaults, according to a recent study sponsored by special servicer Outreach Financial Services. Holistic financial counseling can save servicers up to $71.5 million in losses on a portfolio of 10,000 loans, according to the study. When holistic counselors review a borrower's entire financial status, they are generally able to diminish monthly spending by $200 to $300.

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Without California, AG Settlement May Be Reduced

While the attorneys general working toward a settlement with the nation's largest servicers may be able to strike a settlement without California, it may cost them. A deal that seemed likely imminent as of the end of October would have required $25 billion from the banks - $5 billion in cash penalties and $20 billion in refinancings and modifications. That $25 billion could be reduced to $18.5 billion if California refuses to take part in the settlement, and it could limit the amount of assistance provided to California homeowners.

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OCC Releases Status Report on Fixing Deficient Foreclosure Practices

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a report Tuesday on actions taken to correct deficiencies in mortgage servicing and foreclosure processing by the 12 institutions it oversees. The OCC has made public the names of the independent consultants retained for foreclosure reviews, and notes that evaluations of certain cases and mailings to more than 4 million borrowers are underway. The agency says all servicers have instituted policies to end dual-tracking and provide borrowers with a single point of contact.

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Lawmaker Questions If GSE Penalties Contributed to Foreclosure Abuses

Did policies in place at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac help fuel foreclosure abuses such as robo-signing? That's the question posed by Rep. Elijah Cummings to the GSEs' regulator. As ranking member of a House oversight committee, the nation's housing crisis has been a central focus of Cummings' work. He says documents show FHFA directed the GSEs to fine servicers $150 million in 2010 for not processing foreclosures fast enough, even though an internal report concluded servicers were overloaded and documentation problems were evident.

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SIGTARP Terminates More Mortgage Modification Scams

The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) announced Monday that it intervened to block 40 mortgage modification schemes advertised on Yahoo! and Bing. In response, Microsoft terminated 400 advertising contracts with the perpetrators of the schemes. Microsoft is the founder of Bing, and its technology backs Yahoo! Search. Monday's notice follows an announcement last week in which SIGTARP reportedly shut down 85 mortgage modification scams advertised on Google.

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Mortgage-Related Jobs Are on the Rise: Report

The third quarter of 2011 saw a net increase of 2,738 mortgage-related jobs, according to recent industry data. This increase is the first recorded in five quarters. The recent increase in refinances encouraged by remarkably low interest rates sparked a demand for loan originators and processors, while continuing high levels of delinquencies and foreclosures bolstered the need for servicing staff. The 2,738 gain compares to a net loss of 464 jobs in the previous quarter and a loss of 936 jobs a year ago.

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SIGTARP and Google Fight Mortgage Scammers

The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) is vigilantly targeting mortgage and foreclosure rescue scammers that advertise online. SIGTARP announced Wednesday that it recently halted 85 online scams that promised to help homeowners pursue mortgage loan modifications. Google has cooperated with SIGTARP in its investigation and since the discovery of the 85 mortgage fraud schemes, has suspended 500 advertisers.

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Fannie and Freddie Detail New HARP Guidelines

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have released highly anticipated guidelines for the revised Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Among the key program revisions, the GSEs have eliminated or raised the loan-to-value cap, and relaxed representation and warranty stipulations. Both government officials and market analysts have said rep and warranty waivers could spark heated competition among lenders to refinance borrowers through HARP. With the new guidelines, the GSEs laid out exactly what will be waived.

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Industry Completes 5M Loan Mods Since 2007

HOPE NOW announced a major milestone Tuesday -- the completion of 5 million loan modifications since the group began tracking such loss mitigation efforts in 2007. More than 80 percent of these modifications were completed through servicers' own proprietary programs, with the rest coming from the government's Home Affordable Modification Program. Officials called the 5 million mark a halfway point, adding that much more work needs to be done to help distressed homeowners.

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