The Federal Housing Finance Agency continues its nationwide campaign to engage with local community leaders and leaders, hosting its fourth Home Affordable Refinance Program outreach event in Miami on Dec. 5.
FHFA Director Mel Watt has made a huge push this year to reach out to the homeowners who still haven't taken advantage of the HARP as well as the Home Affordable Modification Program before it expires.
While 3.2 million people nationwide have taken advantage of HARP, there are still 800,000 still left out there who may benefit.
But the FHFA has had one huge hurdle to overcome: people think HARP is a scam.
“As it stands now, people don’t trust their lenders and it’s creating uncertainty. All of this research and anthropological evidence contributes to the downturn. Still there are casualties to this war and the industry would do right to honor that,” Watt said in an exclusive interview with HousingWire magazine. “Today, there’s just a lot of people — and no one pays enough attention to it — who got burned.”
This time the FHFA brought in Robert Koller, director of credit risk management with Fannie Mae, to speak on a panel at the Miami event.
Here are his 6 take aways on the two programs that can be used to explain to borrowers that they can benefit from a HARP or HAMP adjustment to their mortgages.
1. There are a lot of myths out there.
“Just because lenders are telling you that they won’t work with you because you are in a condo doesn’t mean you have to go back to that lender. As mentioned before, any lender offering HARP you can go to and work through a HARP refinance.”
2. This is not a scam.
“This is the real deal. And a lot of times people have that misinformation or miscommunication that it could potentially be a scam, so we need to help them overcome those hurdles.”
3. There is not a max LTV.
"At one time, when the program was just rolled out in 2009, there was, but we enhanced the program through the years and there is no max LTV."
4. HARP and HAMP and not exclusive.
"If your loan has been modified through HAMP you can HARP. Just because you’ve taken advantage of the HAMP program doesn’t mean you are excluded or boxed out."
5. The program has been enhanced.
“Just because a borrower was turned down in 2009 doesn’t mean they do not qualify.”
6. Time is running out.
“The program is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2015. The $217 in savings each month is based on where interest rates are. So as interest rates go up that savings will go down, so the time to act is now.”
Fast forward to 6:05 to hear Koller speak.