Monthly permanent HAMP mods down 14% in October
Servicers participating in the Home Affordable Modification Program completed 23,750 permanent modifications in October, down 14.6% from the previous month, according to the Treasury Department. The Treasury launched HAMP in March 2009 to provide servicers an incentive to modify mortgages on the verge of foreclosure. Since then, servicers converted 519,648 trial modifications into permanent status. Servicers convert a trial when the borrower has made three monthly payments under the new terms and has submitted financial documentation. Over the last six months, servicers have averaged 37,000 permanent modifications per month. But they have been on the decline over the past quarter, dropping 16% in September and falling 26% in August. Since the program started, servicers have started 1.4 million trials, but 69,000 of them have been in the trial stage for at least six months. That number, however, is down from 266,000 at the beginning of the second quarter of 2010. Servicers have canceled 719,487 trial modifications either because of insufficient documentation, borrower redefault during the three-month period or ineligibility for the program. Most canceled trials, however, do end up in the bank's proprietary programs. These modifications outnumbered HAMP four to one in September. HomeEq, the former servicing arm of Barclays Capital recently acquired by Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN), held the highest conversion rate of any servicer after dropping to second in September. It converted 95% of its trial modifications into permanent status, but many had been transferred to Ocwen, which has a 72% conversion rate. Wachovia Mortgage FSB converted 89% of its trial modifications into permanent status, up from 86% in September. The company has conducted 12,779 permanent modifications and holds 26,711 HAMP-eligible loans. Ally Financial's (GJM) GMAC Mortgage converted 72% of its trials into permanent status for a total of 33,012 active permanent mods. It holds 16,192 HAMP-eligible loans left. The big-four banks all had slight conversion rate increases in October. CitiMortgage, the servicing arm of Citigroup (C) led them by converting 36%, totaling 51,899 permanent modifications since the program began in March 2009, up from the 49,538 total in September. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) converted 34% for a total of 63,704 active permanent modifications through September, up from 62,368 through September. Wells Fargo (WFC) had a 31% conversion rate, totaling 51,783 permanent modifications through October, up from 50,815 through September. Bank of America (BAC) held the highest amount of permanent modifications of any participating servicer through October, at 79,339 and a 28% conversion rate. It was up from 78,905 total HAMP mods through September. The Treasury has said the recent robo-signing issues in major servicing shops has not affected modifications through HAMP. Write to Jon Prior.