43% of Bank of America HAMP trial cancellations pending action
Of the 148,129 Home Affordable Modification Program trials Bank of America has canceled through August, more than 63,000, or 43%, still await additional loss mitigation action, according to Treasury Department data. Alan White, a Valparaiso University Law School professor wrote on his blog Tuesday that BofA has offered alternative modifications to just 24% of borrowers with failed HAMP trials, "woefully short of even the poor performance of servicers as a whole." (The Huffington Post followed the blog here.) The Treasury published the outcomes of failed HAMP trials that were canceled because of insufficient documents, another default during that three-month trial, or for ineligibility for the program. The data includes the top-eight servicers in the program (found on page five here). White did not include the amount of actions pending for these top-eight servicers. BofA's 63,000-plus is more than three times the amount of CitiMortgage (20,264), more than four times the amount held by JPMorgan Chase (14,631), and more than seven times more that of Wells Fargo (8,720). Other servicers, on average, offer an alternative modification on 44.5% of the trial mods canceled, compared to the 24% from BofA. Richard Simon, a spokesman for BofA, told HousingWire that actions have been taken on the bank's higher percentage of canceled trial modifications, and results will begin showing up in future Treasury reports. "Bank of America expects its other percentages, including alternative modifications, will be more in line with industry averages," Simon said. The Treasury also included data on the amount of foreclosure starts for these canceled trials. BofA has started the foreclosure process on 8,062 of its 148,000 canceled trials, or 5.4%, half of the industry average of 11%. Wells Fargo has started 17,882 foreclosures, and JPMorgan Chase started 16,089 foreclosures on these canceled trials. Citi started 6,351 foreclosures on its canceled trials. BofA holds 383,482 mortgages that are eligible for a HAMP trial, according to the Treasury, nearly double the 201,771 held by JPMorgan Chase, the next highest. BofA serviced $2.1 trillion in mortgages in 2009 overall, a 5% increase from the year before. Of the other "big-four" lenders, only Wells had a yearly increase at 0.9%. Both Chase and Citi saw decreases. Borrowers have voiced frustration with how servicers are handling HAMP, and recent issues with the GMAC foreclosure process has raised even more ire for the servicing industry. The Obama Administration set an early goal for 3 million to 4 million borrowers to receive aid under HAMP. After 17 months, servicers have reached more than 15% of that mark, up from slightly higher than 14% in July. If servicers gain an average of 1 basis point every month, they would not reach 3 million permanent modifications for another 85 months, or another seven years. HAMP is set to expire at the end of 2012. "While HAMP certainly has design flaws that hamper its ability to turn around the foreclosure crisis, servicer performance is a serious issue, and some banks are either unwilling or unable to honor their program contracts," White wrote on his blog. But Simon said Bank of America is working through the backlog of its HAMP trials that are still awaiting action. "Progress has been made by Bank of America as we have focused on getting through the backlog of aged trial modifications over the past three months and completing actions on the ineligible mortgages will begin to show up in coming reports," Simon said. "Until then, any conclusions seem premature." But HAMP may only be a microcosm of the issues in loss mitigation. Lender Processing Services’ Applied Analytics division reported in August that more than 2.6 million mortgage loans are 90+ days delinquent and not yet in foreclosure, the heart of the shadow inventory of homes waiting to hit a troubled market. Write to Jon Prior.