Servicers Attend Meeting of the Minds in Washington
Representatives from 25 mortgage servicers participating in the Making Home Affordable initiative’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HAMP) meet in Washington today, discussing how the program can be more effective. The meeting, called for in a letter from Treasury Department secretary Tim Geithner earlier this month, comes at a time when industry groups including credit rating agencies are questioning how many homeowners HAMP will help. One of HousingWire's sources at a participating servicer said the meeting's agenda could be boiled down to one item: “They’re going to say ‘Here are the guys who have done okay; here are the guys that need to do better — do better.’” In order to keep up with the demand in modification and refinance applications, servicers have increased temporary staff, and are still catching up. Borrowers are reportedly having trouble receiving mortgage modifications under the program, especially those who are not delinquent on their mortgage, but are in risk of falling behind. Last week, Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) called for an investigation into accusations that servicers were violating HAMP's terms and in some cases refusing to help borrowers not yet delinquent on their mortgages. In response to some concern that the Making Home Affordable initiatives were not reaching enough troubled borrowers, the administration recently expanded the Home Affordable Refinance Program to include borrowers with loan-to-value ratios of up to 125% on mortgages owned or guaranteed by the government-sponsored entities. Write to Austin Kilgore.