FHASecure -- Will the Real Numbers Please Stand Up?
Yesterday, I covered a Reuters report that claimed the FHASecure program had only helped 266 borrowers since it was set into motion in late August -- a stunning number, to be sure. But was it correct? Meg Burns, director of the FHA's Single Family Development Program, went on Bloomberg today and said that 143,000 applications have been received under the FHASecure program; 47,000 of these have already refinanced into the program and another 6,000 are expected to see their loans close before the end of the year. What's missing here is a clear distinction between all FHASecure applications and just those FHASecure applications from actually delinquent subprime borrowers. In the Bloomberg interview, Burns admits that the number of applications under the FHASecure program from delinquent borrowers is "quite low" -- somewhere around 1,000. But she asserts that the program is designed to help "at-risk" borrowers, not just those who are delinquent. You might not have noticed the sleight of hand at work there, so let's make it clear: the FHASecure program was originally positioned as a way out for troubled subprime borrowers facing an imminent reset, or those having already been dealt a reset. It was supposed to be a program that would primarily help 240,000 delinquent subprime borrowers hit hard by resets avoid foreclosure. And insofar at that original purpose goes, the Reuters story makes it clear that the program has to be considered a failure thus far. (video courtesy of Bloomberg) Is it any wonder, then, to see HUD officials ever-so-slightly shift the focus to "at-risk" borrowers who are current on their loans? Speaking of which, what exactly is the definition of an "at-risk" borrower in HUD's estimation, relative to one clearly defined as a delinquent subprime borrower?