BofA Completes 33,000 Permanent HAMP Mods
Bank of America (BAC) completed almost 32,900 permanent mortgage modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) through March, up from 20,666 in February. The Treasury Department launched HAMP in March 2009 to provide incentives to servicers for the modification of loans on the verge of foreclosure. When Treasury first reported permanent modifications in November 2009, BofA reported 98 permanent modifications. A modification becomes permanent through HAMP after the borrower makes all three monthly payments during the trial period. “We anticipated the momentum of completion of HAMP modifications would build as we entered spring, and we're seeing that," said Jack Schakett, loss mitigation strategies executive for BofA. But studies show delinquent borrowers are outnumbering HAMP efforts from the banks. Lender Processing Services (LPS) reported mortgage delinquencies increased 21.3% from February 2009 to February 2010. Big banks on Wall Street are even anticipating more foreclosures and higher real estate owned (REO) levels by the end of 2010. To quell the surging delinquencies, BofA initiated a program to write down principal when modifying a mortgage, followed by a similar offer from the Treasury. A spokesperson for the Treasury said the March numbers for all HAMP servicers could be out this week. Write to Jon Prior. Disclosure: the author holds no relevant investment positions.