4/26/2010

Why Some Loan Modifications Are So Hard to Get

So far, only 17% of borrowers nationally have completed a loan modification and made it through the trial payment period under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) guidelines. One of the problems is that the HAMP guidelines only factor in the payments made on the 1st mortgage, and do not include the borrower's 2nd mortgage if there is one, which is often up to 20% of the original purchase value, and other total family expenses.  Fewer borrowers can qualify, and thus end up in foreclosure anyway.

But there are other reasons too, which may have to do with why you, the borrower, or you the Realtor, keep faxing in requested documents and short sale packages, over and over after the people at the bank say they never received it, or it got lost. Or why the bank foreclosed anyway, even though it had a viable buyer and a loan ready to fund one day before the sale date.  Sometimes lenders really don't want to modify a loan.

There is such a thing as Net Present Value (NPV) a complex model designed for HAMP to be used by lenders and loan servicers which is to determine if the borrower meets certain tests. However, the input criteria for those tests is not disclosed to the public. So if a borrower calls up his/her (HAMP) bank at the bank's or servicer's designated number and receives the response that they do not qualify for a loan modification, it may be because the representative is using the NPV software program which performs automatic calculations.  The FDIC, however, did publish their NPV model, shown on page 3.

If you are a borrower and want to know if you can avoid a long long wait to find out from your bank if you qualify for a loan modification under HAMP guidelines based on the NPV model for which the government is allegedly unwilling to publish the critical parameters, then you might want to try out Martin Andelman's offer to use his software which he says is using HAMP guidelines.
If your bank thinks your home is worth more than your current loan balance, it will not have a lot of incentive to modify your loan because it will pay them to go into foreclosure, and then put it back on the market as an REO.  And another stickler in the side of the Obama Administration are the investors who bought securitized mortgages that were sold in bundles, by Well Fargo to Goldman Sachs as one example, and now those investors are a player in the whether or not your loan gets modified:
The names of investors who actually buy mortgage-backed securities aren’t publicly available, but typically they can be foreign governments, 401(k)s, college endowments and pension funds. . . . "there could be literally anywhere from one to commonly several dozen institutional investors, and those institutional investors will be representing literally thousands of pensioners and individual investors,” says Bill Frey, head of Greenwich Financial Services.
And banks say they may have agreements with those investors, and may say they are the reason a certain loan cannot be done, but may also be unwilling to provide specific information about their "agreements."

There is more to this story, but if you are a borrower attempting to get a loan modification, be aware that not all banks are letting the timelines go by beyond what's required by law for issuing a Notice of Default and a Notice of Sale. Banks are not chartered to hold real estate, even though many are doing just that. Do not be afraid to contact a qualified tax advisor, an attorney who specializes, and/or a Realtor about your options concerning foreclosure, a short sale, or bankruptcy. The best of all possible worlds for most people is to get their loan modified, but are you going to be one of the 17% who do, and how long are you willing to wait to find out? 

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