Wells on Track to Exceed HAMP Expectations

Wells Fargo (WFC) completed 33,172 trial and final loan modifications through August 2009 under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a program that provides incentives to servicers for loan modification. Wells Fargo’s modification total increased by 64% over the past 30 days. Using its own programs, the lender modified 251,244 home loans, bringing the 2009 total to 284,416, according to a corporate release. “We are well on our way to exceeding our share of the government’s 500,000 Home Affordable Modifications Nov. 1 goal,” said Mike Heid, co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Wells Fargo also expects to exceed their HAMP goal of approximately 60,000 modifications. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) acknowledged Wells Fargo’s progress in their HAMP participation in a conference call, but still called on other servicers to step up. “We’re starting to see more solutions happening out in the field. We are seeing progress, just not a large amount,” said Bruce Dorpalen, ACORN’s director of housing counseling. Dorpalen cited Aurora Loan Services’ performance. The servicing firm out of Littleton, Colo. receives a $798m incentive cap from HAMP, according the transaction report from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). “If Aurora continued on their current pace, it would be six and a half years to complete their portfolio,” Dorpalen said. ACORN also proposed that HAMP begin permitting borrowers to re-modify their loan with the program. Currently, HAMP only allows “one bite at the apple,” but people will need to another workout after the Administration gets homeowners through the next couple of years, Dorpalen said. Servicers also use the three-month trial modification to finish the details of the permanent modification that waits beyond, and ACORN found discrepancies between the two. “When people are offered trial modifications, they aren’t being told what the permanent modifications are,” Dorpalen said. “We’ve gotten a flurry of people who’ve come to us with that.” Both Wells Fargo and ACORN reached an agreement on whether or not banks prefer foreclosures to modifications. “There is a common misperception that we make money off of foreclosures, and there is nothing further from the truth,” Wells Fargo’s Heid said. “No one benefits from foreclosures.” Write to Jon Prior.

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