Private mortgage modifications more than triple HAMP in July
There were 120,351 permanent mortgage modifications done through proprietary programs in July, more than triple the 36,695 completed through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in the same month. Servicers completed 1.13 million modifications through both private programs and HAMP so far in 2010, according to Hope Now, a private sector alliance of those servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and nonprofit counselors. The amount of private modifications nearly matched the 120,811 reported in June. Originally, Hope Now reported 123,000 private modifications in June but has since adjusted the number with updated figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). A spokesperson for Hope Now said its numbers are extrapolations and are subject to change when the size of the market as reported by the MBA changes. According to Hope Now, if a homeowner does not qualify for HAMP, he or she is considered for eligibility in the proprietary programs. Since Hope Now began reporting the data, more than 3.5 million homeowners have received a permanent loan modification either through the private programs or HAMP. When combined with repayment plans and forbearance, the mortgage industry has given 10.4 million homeowners assistance since Hope Now was formed in 2007. Foreclosures starts did almost double the modifications in July. Hope Now reported 226,664 foreclosure starts for the month, a 22% increase from June. Foreclosure sales reached 97,951 in July as well, a 12% growth from the previous month. Hope Now did report that the amount of borrowers entering 60-plus day delinquency fell 5% in July and 20% from the beginning of the year to 3.2 million borrowers. But Lender Processing Services (LPS) reported last week that 900,000 loans that were current at the beginning of the year are now either 60-plus days delinquent or in foreclosure. "Foreclosure starts increased to the fourth highest level on record with rebounds in the portfolio and private markets compounding the recent acceleration in agency foreclosure starts leading to a significant jump in rates," LPS said at the time. Faith Schwartz, senior adviser for Hope Now, said that while the industry continues to make progress and there are some positive trends, foreclosure starts and sales are increasing. "We believe this is a function of borrowers moving through the pipeline of all eligible program offerings (government and private industry) to exhaust all alternatives," Schwartz said. "The increase in foreclosures is also a reflection of the continued challenges facing the economy, particularly the level of unemployment nationwide. We remain hopeful that as jobs start to come back the housing market will stabilize." Write to Jon Prior.