Mortgage Insurer OKs 93% of HARP Requests
PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. approved 93% of its requests for a mortgage workout through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP allows nearly 5m homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae (FNM) or Freddie Mac (FRE) the opportunity to refinance into more affordable monthly payments. PMI, the private mortgage insurance company and subsidiary of The PMI Group (PMI), anticipates a growing support for the program as more servicers complete the complex systems changes needed to implement the program, according to a PMI report. Only current loans qualify for HARP, which represents a transfer of existing mortgage insurance coverage to the refinanced loan. Probabilities of a workout on PMI-insured loans vary across the country, according to the report. For example, delinquencies in North Carolina are twice as likely to achieve a retention workout than delinquent loans in Florida. The report also states that by the end of 2009 PMI will have participated in 30 events nationwide to supplement the efforts of its servicers to help families find alternatives to foreclosure. PMI pointed out that more than half of the people who slip into foreclosure never contact their lender to discuss options or ask for help, according to a 2008 study from Freddie Mac. For the events, PMI seeks out borrowers who have not contacted their lender and navigates them through the loan modification process, according to the report. In year-to-date 2009 through August, PMI reached out to more than 33,000 distressed borrowers with its initiatives. Write to Jon Prior.