Mortgage servicers increase private loan modifications in July
Mortgage modifications completed through private programs increased 11% in July, according to the Hope Now alliance of servicers, counselors and investors, but these workouts have proven less likely to last. Roughly 56,000 mortgages made it through these private programs and into permanent status. Since 2007, servicers completed 4 million private modifications and roughly 763,000 permanent workouts through the government's Home Affordable Modification Program. So far in 2011, private modifications are more than double those done through HAMP. Through July, roughly 422,000 workouts came through proprietary initiatives, compared to the 183,000 done through the Treasury's program as of June, according to Hope Now. The Treasury Department is expected to release its July numbers in the coming days, but it has averaged roughly between 30,000 and 35,000 permanent mods per month. If the trend holds in July, private programs would still outnumber HAMP more than 2-to-1. "We are happy to see an increase in permanent proprietary loan modifications for the month of July," said Faith Schwartz, executive director for Hope Now. She said more encouraging is an 11% drop in foreclosure starts in July and relatively flat 60-day delinquencies of 2.81 million, up just 2%. Some states are still feeling the slowdown from the ongoing robo-signing scandal and the subsequent pause on the foreclosure process. But Schwartz said the decrease is directly related to educating homeowners about their options when they get into trouble. The Treasury has long said HAMP became the framework around which private lenders built their own programs. But the performance of government workouts differ from private ones. According to a report released by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released earlier in the year, 10.6% of HAMP modifications completed in the first quarter of 2010 redefaulted within three months. That's comparable to the 11.6% for private mods completed in the same time. But six months after the modification, 12.6% of HAMP mods had redefaulted, compared to 24.1% of the private workouts. After nine months, HAMP showed a 17.4% redefault rate, compared to a 31.9% rate for proprietary modifications. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.