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Freddie Mac Details HAFA Initiative for Distressed Homeowners

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Freddie Mac (FRE) detailed the guidelines for its version of the Making Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program at the same time fellow government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) Fannie Mae (FNM) unveiled a similar initiative. In a mortgage seller/servicer bulletin released Tuesday, Freddie outlined the guidelines for HAFA, a subset of the Making Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). It provides financial incentives to servicers and borrowers who pursue a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. The program, along with Fannie Mae's version, mirrors the main HAFA program, which the Treasury Department rolled out in April. The GSE HAFA programs take effect Aug. 1, 2010, but servicers are allowed to use HAFA immediately, Freddie said. Under the guidelines, servicers must first consider a borrower for a HAMP workout plan and conduct other home retention workout options before considering the borrower for HAFA. According to the bulletin, once all other home retention workout options have been exhausted, eligible borrowers must be considered for a HAFA short sale. If the borrower is eligible for and agrees to a HAFA short sale, but the mortgaged property does not sell within the HAFA marketing period, the servicer may offer the borrower a HAFA deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, with Freddie Mac authorization. The GSE HAFA differs from Freddie Mac's short payoff and deed-in-lieu programs in a number of ways, including how subordinate lien holders are treated. Under Freddie HAFA, each subordinate lien holder, in order of priority, may be paid no more than 6% of the unpaid principal balance of their loan, until the $6,000 aggregate cap is reached, in exchange for release of the subordinate liens and satisfaction of the underlying debts. Servicers are eligible for a $2,200 cash incentive for each completed short sale and $1,500 for each completed deed-in-lieu. Borrowers are also eligible for $3,000 to assist with relocation costs. In addition, Freddie said it does not require or accept cash contributions or promissory notes from the borrower. Subordinate lien holders must also agree to release all liens without promissory notes or contributions from the borrower. Write to Austin Kilgore. The author held no relevant investments.

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