Making Home Affordable Foreclosure Assistance Program And Continued Criticism For HAMP–Will Changes Help?

02/22/2011
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The Making Home Affordable Program has offered foreclosure prevention assistance to numerous homeowners since the inception of this homeowner assistance initiative, but there is continued criticism from many officials who believe that either HAMP must change policies and procedures to benefit more individuals before the program expires, or the home loan modification program needs to be repealed at the present time since it has fallen short of initial hopes and goals that were set.

Obviously, this is an issue with mixed views and there are homeowners who have been helped by this program that feel the continuation of the Making Home Affordable plan can offer aid to more homeowners during a time where foreclosures are high and the likelihood of a homeowner losing their home can be reduced through one of these modification initiatives or extension plans. Major financial institutions have been offering these modification programs to individuals who may have lost their job or have simply hit a difficult financial time in their life, which has led to a great number of homeowners finding the opportunity to acquire a modification, but the number who have actually received a permanent home loan assistance plan has fallen below where many feel the program should be at the present time in its lifespan.

An article on NPR.org tracked comments by special inspector general for TARP, Neil Barofsky, concerning the modification program and his criticism of the program echoes of many complaints that officials have had concerning the shortcomings of not only the modification program in general, but the Treasury Department and financial institutions as well. There are those who feel that many banks have improperly foreclosed upon and denied modifications to homeowners, but also, the Treasury Department has failed to impose penalties on these banks, as they are not required to participate in the federal modification program despite the fact that many entered into agreements to modify these home loans under federal guidelines.

However, there are those who feel that the home loan modification program, while not meeting initial goals, has helped numerous homeowners who would otherwise have lost their home and argue that the Making Home Affordable initiative has not necessarily caused homeowners to be unjustly foreclosed upon, but again this is a statement that is highly debated as well. Yet, the January Housing Scorecard from the Making Home Affordable Program stated,Homeowners in HAMP permanent modifications continue to perform well over time, with re-default rates lower than industry norms. December data for the Making Home Affordable Program (MHA) shows that after 12 months, nearly 85 percent of homeowners remain in a permanent modification.”

There may be room for improvement in the home loan modification program, but both federal and in-house modification directly from servicers are still available to help homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments, as well as, approved housing counseling agencies and counselors who can help homeowners better budget their household income to avoid missed mortgage payments or they may simply help homeowners through the modification program to ensure a the best chance at finding foreclosure prevention.

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