Homeowners with Bank of America who are still seeking assistance opportunities for their mortgage have options from various programs that have been reported on recently offering some good news in terms of increases that have been seen in some areas and continue programs that are helping to address specific issues that homeowners will face. Obviously, homeowners are interested in such programs as the federal Making Home Affordable home loan modification plan, but recent data has also been released by the Treasury Department indicating that more efforts beyond these simple modifications are still available to homeowners with Bank of America who are in need of assistance with their mortgage payment.
As far as the active permanent modifications that have been tracked over the past months, the most recent data we have comes from the October Making Home Affordable report which indicates that permanent modifications with Bank of America increased from 148,033 to 152,220 between September and October. While the active number of trial modifications did decrease slightly from 17,434 in September to a 15,043 in October, some homeowners still remain in a position where they are looking for other options that may be available from similar mortgage assistance programs.
Homeowners who are in a position where negative equity is a problem may be able to take advantage of such programs from Bank of America as the Principal Reduction Alternative, which has been part of the extension programs offered from the Making Home Affordable modification effort over the past months, which have allowed for some form of principal assistance on homes where negative equity is the problem. In some cases these federal modifications can be coupled with this principal reduction plan and, in these instances, homeowners have been able to benefit from a reduced mortgage principal and, hopefully, more affordability. In this area, the Treasury Department reported that Bank of America had started 13,203 trials where this principle reduction opportunity was in place, with the number of permanent modifications started as of October coming in at just under 10,000 where the PRA was offered.
Bank of America has also continued efforts in the area of second liens as the Second Lien Modification Program with Bank of America was reported to have started 19,177 of these particular plans with Bank of America in October, again according to Treasury Department reports. This plan has been offered to some who are in a position where homeowners are struggling with a second mortgage and, in instances where homeowners may be unable to benefit from a primary modification, homeowners have been able to couple a primary home loan modification plan with this secondary mortgage payment assistance program and avoid foreclosure in some cases.
Yet, there are still some issues of homeowners face issues that may require a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure plan, which has been made available by major financial institutions like Bank of America through the Making Home Affordable initiative in such programs as the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives plan, that has been used to the advantage of some homeowners who may have found themselves in a position where financial distress was so severe that foreclosure prevention plans did not help or in cases where negative equity was a problem options like short sales have been the way that these men and women have been able to avoid further financial problems related to their home if, indeed, the opportunity to sell their home at a loss or surrender the deed to their home was an option. Bank of America has completed 3808 of these foreclosure alternatives, according to the October Making Home Affordable report, but of course this opportunity to rid a homeowner of financial burden is not to be taken lightly as it should be remembered that homeowners are not going to always qualify for these plans and there are loss prevention programs that can be more beneficial in the long run when it comes to keeping a homeowner in their property.
Homeowners do still have options to get a trial modification as Bank of America did see an increase in the total number of trials that they had started cumulatively as this number rose between September and October by almost 3500 homeowners. Understandably, homeowners are not always able to benefit from even a reduced payment as the financial situations that some homeowners have have grown so severe that they simply cannot continue to make payments on their home when factors like unemployment, illness, or even simple reductions in their wages have become a problem and lead to other areas of their financial life being hindered, not simply their mortgage obligation.
Homeowners do need to remember that there is assistance available through housing counselors, that may go beyond information or aid available from representatives by major financial institutions, despite the fact that representatives from these large banks like Bank of America may help homeowners also explore what options are available through various loss mitigation efforts directly from that institution or from programs like the Making Home Affordable initiative. Counselors like those from the HOPE Hotline have been used by homeowners with a variety of institutions to better help them explore options from both federal and state programs to help prevent foreclosure, and as a result homeowners may benefit from consulting these particular resources before resigning themselves to particular programs if simple efforts such as a reduced mortgage payment does not address the complexity of their financial distress.
While not all the efforts that homeowners make to save their home may be successful, nor will homeowners always find the help they need from certain programs or their mortgage servicer, officials are still urging these homeowners to pursue assistance plans from both federal and state programs, or even take advantage of proprietary modification plans and loss mitigation efforts directly from their bank, if indeed there are alternative programs that can be of help when it comes to keeping homeowners in their property and avoiding foreclosure.