RISMEDIA, August 5, 2009-The Obama Administration recently released its first monthly Servicer Performance Report detailing the progress to date of the Making Home Affordable (MHA) loan modification program. The purpose of the report is to document the number of struggling homeowners already helped under the program, provide information on servicer performance and expand transparency around the initiative.
On February 18, the Obama Administration announced its comprehensive plan to stabilize the U.S. housing market. Two weeks later on March 4, the Administration published detailed program guidelines and authorized servicers to begin modifications immediately. MHA provides $75 billion for sustainable mortgage modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
MHA has made rapid progress in a few short months. Servicers covering more than 85% of loans in the country are already modifying loans under the program. More than 400,000 modification offers have been extended and more than 230,000 trial modifications have begun. This pace of modifications puts the program on track to offer assistance to up to 3 to 4 million homeowners over the next three years.
This new report discloses performance on a servicer-by-servicer basis in order to increase transparency for participating institutions. The data show that servicer performance has been uneven. The Administration has asked servicers to ramp up implementation to a cumulative 500,000 trial modifications started by November 1, 2009. This would more than double in three months the number of trial modifications started in the first five months of the program.
The Administration is taking additional steps to improve performance as well. On July 9, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan wrote the CEOs of participating servicers calling upon them to redouble their efforts to increase staffing, improve borrower response times and streamline the application process. Senior Administration officials discussed the importance of these steps in a face-to-face meeting with servicer executives on July 28. The Administration will develop more exacting metrics to measure the quality of borrower experience, such as average borrower wait time for inbound inquiries, completeness and accuracy of information provided applicants, and response time for completed applications. As an additional protection for borrowers, the Administration has asked the program compliance agent, Freddie Mac, to develop a “second look” process to audit MHA modification applications that have been declined on an ongoing basis.
For more information, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.