HAMP Moving Along Slowly

The rate of permanent loan modifications for homeowners involved in the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program increased increased in March by roughly 13 percent, or 68,000 modifications, in a sign of positive news for the government program that has, to date, been seen as largely impotent in the face of not only subprime mortgages but also increased levels of foreclosures in the face of a protracted period of high national unemployment levels.

HUD reports that 300,000 permanent modifications have been solidified since HAMP was launched in February 2009. That number is a significant increase of the roughly 70,000 modifications that had been completed at the end of November 2009.

According to data released this week, Bank of America led the pack of servicers providing permanent modifications through April 2010 with 56,398. Rounding out the top five were: JP Morgan Chase with 39,507; Wells Fargo with 36,094; CitiMortgage with 28,556; and GMAC Mortgage Inc. with 20,471.

Though not everyone is sold on the success of HAMP. John Taylor, president and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a long-time critic of the administration’s loan modification programs saying that HAMP hasn’t gone far enough, called this week’s data “underhwhelming,” calling on Congress and the administration to end HAMP’s voluntary status and instead require servicers to comply:

“While it’s clear that some progress has made, it’s been incremental at best. The program is positioned to help a very modest percentage of borrowers weather the storm, but not to end the foreclosure crisis. At these levels of prevention, the foreclosures will continue to gnaw away at the economy.”

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