The bank (BOA), the largest mortgage servicer in the country, said Wednesday it will forgive up to 30 percent of some customers' total mortgage balances. The homeowners must have missed at least two months of mortgage payments and owe at least 20 percent more than their home is currently worth...Read the full article here.
The Treasury Department, which already has a mortgage modification program, is developing similar plans for principal reductions at other mortgage servicers, according to industry officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the conversations. They said an announcement could come in the next few months.
"They're talking about doing something and talking seriously about it," Julia Gordon, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer group, said of Treasury officials. "I think the concern now is fairness and making sure that the public understands the importance of principal reductions toward stabilizing the housing market and helping everybody."
The plan does carry risks. For starters, borrowers who aren't 60 days behind on their mortgages may stop making payments so they can qualify. The more borrowers who try to qualify, the bigger the potential loss for Bank of America. The bank will also have to absorb the costs of renegotiating the loans.
Even so, "the move helps create the best prospect of avoiding a further downward home price spiral, which would result in even deeper losses" for the bank, said Howard Glaser, a mortgage industry consultant, in an e-mail...
Lenders including Bank of America have been criticized for not helping enough borrowers to complete the Obama administration's $75 billion mortgage modification program, which is widely viewed as a disappointment. Only 170,000 homeowners have completed the program so far.
The (Obama) mortgage modification program does not address the problems of borrowers who are considered underwater, or owing more than their homes are worth.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Some Good News on Mortgage Modification
Bank of America developing a principal reduction program, and Treasury may follow. Details matter a lot, but my first overall take is positive. We have years of destructive foreclosures ahead of us in the Valley without a major move of this kind. Better late than never.