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Tag Archives: Loan Modification

Administration: ‘Key’ Housing Indicators Improve, Recovery Still ‘Fragile’

The housing industry is making ""important progress across many key indicators,"" according to the Obama Administration's latest housing scorecard, but as usual, the administration continued to warn the ""overall recovery remains fragile."" In the March report, the administration highlighted data showing improvements in home prices. In conjunction with the scorecard, the administration also released its progress report on the Making Home Affordable Program.

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Fitch: High Rate of Unsuccessful Mods Threatens Asset Quality

Servicers continue to make strides in home retention efforts, completing more than 360,000 retention actions in the fourth quarter of 2012. However, Fitch Ratings detects continued weak asset quality trends, especially among loans modified from 2008 through 2010. In fact, Fitch's findings lead the agency to fortify its belief that troubled debt restructurings should be counted as nonperforming assets. ""[W]e regard the high delinquency and foreclosure rates for recently modified mortgages as reflective of still elevated residential mortgage asset quality problems,"" Fitch said.

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Performance Improves After Servicing Transfers Across Industry

Since the housing crisis, many large banks have sold off servicing portfolios to smaller, emerging companies. According to a recent study, these portfolios often begin to perform better after the transfers. Opera Solutions found faster liquidations and better long-term performance for modified loans after portfolios were sold. According to the study, two servicers stand out for acquiring the ""lion's share"" of servicing rights--Ocwen and Nationstar. At Ocwen, which acquired the most loans, the study detected higher levels of foreclosures and REO rates immediately following acquisitions. However, after a period of months, Ocwen's portfolios stabilized and improved.

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OCC: Mortgage Performance Improves in Q4

As of the end of December, 89.4 percent of mortgages were still current and performing, an increase from 88.6 percent in the third quarter and an improvement from 88 percent during the same quarter a year ago, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) reported. Servicers also began a fewer number of foreclosures after initiating 156,773 new foreclosures in Q4, the the lowest number since Q1 2008, which is when the OCC began the report. In addition, servicers helped borrowers remain in their homes by implementing more home retention actions than home forfeiture actions.

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New FHFA Initiative Simplifies Modification Process

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) introduced a new tool to help seriously delinquent borrowers avoid foreclosure. Starting July 1, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac servicers will lift loan modification barriers by offering eligible borrowers reduced payments without asking for financial or hardship documentation. Through the FHFA's Streamlined Modification Initiative, eligible borrowers who are 90 days to 24 months past due will receive a solicitation offer with a trial period plan that lasts for three months. The offer will include a dollar amount for a new mortgage.

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ProTek Explains Why Certain Markets Are Unresponsive to Low Rates

While the trend of low mortgage rates seen in the last year has stirred up housing activity and helped the market, Pro Teck Valuation Services posits a major question in its latest Home Value Forecast (HVF): Why have home prices in some markets been less responsive to low rates? The writers of the report named three dominant reasons. First, they note that credit scores for many households took a hit during and after the crisis as a result of loan modifications, foreclosures, and job losses, ""and the breadth of the impact has been sufficient to affect millions of households who now much become or are already renters.""

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Report: Complaints Not Handled Properly by Freddie Mac Servicers

A new report from a government watchdog accused Freddie Mac, its servicers, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) of not meeting requirements when handling and resolving escalated consumer complaints. According to a report from the FHFA Office of Inspector General (OIG), Freddie Mac and eight of its largest servicers, which service 70 percent of the GSE’s mortgages, received over 34,000 complaints that became escalated cases during a 14-month time period ending November 30, 2012. After tracking the escalated cases, FHFA OIG found seven out of the eight Freddie Mac servicers did not resolve all escalated cases within the 30-day requirement.

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HOPE NOW: 7.3M Foreclosure Prevention Actions Completed Since 2009

In January, servicers completed about 78,400 modifications, bringing the total since 2007 to 6.15 million, according to data from HOPE NOW. The number of completed short sales in January slowed to 29,244, down from 34,909 in December 2012. As of December 2009, the industry has completed 1.18 million short sales. When combining foreclosure prevention solutions through loan modifications and short sales, the cumulative total is about 7.33 million.

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Administration Reports Improvements from Housing Market, Servicers

The housing market showed signs of progress across the board, but the overall recovery is still fragile, hence the need for efforts to prevent avoidable foreclosures, according to the Obama Administration Housing Scorecard for February. ""House prices are steadily rising above the mid-crisis lows in markets throughout the country, while inventories of new and existing homes are further tightening, and even estimates of the 'shadow inventory' are down,"" said HUD deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs Kurt Usowski. ""That said, we still remain considerably below long-term normal levels of home sales and production.""

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Fannie Mae Announces 2012 Servicer Scorecard Results

Fannie Mae unveiled 2012 program results for the Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards (STAR) scorecard. The STAR program was introduced to recognize Fannie Mae servicers and establish servicing standards. ""STAR is one of the many ways that we are helping servicers improve their work with homeowners,"" said Leslie Peeler, SVP of Fannie Mae's national servicing organization. The final STAR Program designations, set to be released in April, will evaluate customer service and foreclosure prevention, as well as operational assessments of the servicer's processes, policies, and capabilities.

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