The Making Home Affordable home loan modification program has seen increases over the past months in the total number of active permanent modifications that are being seen from a variety of financial institutions participating in this foreclosure prevention initiative. However, HAMP is one issue that divides many officials and homeowners, due to the fact that there have been problems which have arisen when it comes to homeowners dealing with servicers and the program’s overall usefulness and sustainability for homeowners in need and facing foreclosure.
According to data from the Making Home Affordable Program February 2011 report, permanent modifications did increase once again as the January 2011 report stated there were 539,493 active permanent modifications in place, but the February report indicated that number increased to 557,076 active permanent modifications. Many see that these increases are helping more homeowners each month and, as a result, is reason enough to continue the modification program, but since the original hope of homeowners who were to be aided through this initiative was around three or 4 million, there have been officials who want the program stopped because they feel it is an area of waste and, by and large, unhelpful.
Yet, there have been defenders of the modification program, as even Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has pointed out that there are benefits to the continuation of the program and if homeowners are not given options to prevent foreclosure, more homes may simply be sitting empty in the housing market and causing further strains to the economy. While, it is true that homeowners have seen increases in the number of permanent modifications they have made, many have also pointed out that issues with mortgage servicers has been one of the hindrances which homeowners have had to overcome when pursuing this form of foreclosure prevention.
While these institutions are not required to participate in the federal modification initiative, and many have also offered private home loan modification options, more homeowners want accountability on the part of these banks who do not properly implement the modification plan in a way that will help more homeowners. There have been some proposals to implement rating systems for these particular financial institutions and third-party reviews if homeowners feel they were unjustly denied a modification, but these efforts have yet to fully come into effect and provide assistance to those who feel the modification program needs restructuring.
However, homeowners may still consult HAMP housing counselors if they need guidance through the modification program as these resources may not be a guarantee for homeowners seeking a modification, but they can help homeowners better prepare for the application process and may lead to a higher likelihood of success. Yet, homeowners need to understand that the modification program is not a guarantee for everyone, so alternatives, like programs offered through HAMP extension plans may also need to be explored if homeowners are seeking foreclosure prevention at the present time.