Treasury to Announce New Program to Avoid Foreclosure

The United States Department of the Treasury is launching, with an official announcement expected next week, a new program to help ailing borrowers escape foreclosure. The Chief of the Homeowner Preservation Office at the Treasury, Laurie Maggiano, released information on the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) while speaking at the MBA's 96th Annual Convention going on in San Diego. The official launch is expected in the next week or so. HAFA already holds the support of Fannie, according to a VP at the agency, Eric Schuppenhauer, who believes the new program allows borrowers in imminent default to "make a graceful exit" from their home. HAFA will keep the stigma associated with foreclosure away from the borrowers, he added, and help keep communities intact. Maggiano adds that HAFA will offer financial incentives to both servicers and borrowers, and associated secondary investors, in order to facilitate a short sale or deed in lieu of the property. Borrowers will need to be Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)-eligible and Maggiano released some stats for the crowd's consumption. 2,484,783 homeowners have requested information on HAMP. 757,955 HAMP plans were offered. 487,081 trials are underway. Other additional incentives to the short sale industry are nearly developed. The IRS will soon offer a 4506EZ form that will enable servicers to pre-fill out the information so that it only requires a borrower's signature. It also will include softer language so as to not put potential participants off. Write to Jacob Gaffney.

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