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Is President Obama's $75 billion Making Home Affordable program (MHA) important to you? The White House website describes MHA as follows:

Millions of hard-working, responsible families are at risk of losing their homes as home prices fall and jobs are threatened. The Making Home Affordable Refinancing program will expand access to refinancing for up to 4 to 5 million families who are current on their mortgages but otherwise unable to refinance because their homes have lost value.

You can give your opinion on the poll below. Use comments to elaborate or discuss the following:

  1. Do you qualify for assistance under MHA?
  1. Was your home foreclosed after you applied for MHA assistance?
  1. What would you tell someone who's thinking to apply to MHA?
  1. Is MHA a good or necessary? Will it make a positive or negative difference?
  1. Where are you finding USEFUL information about MHA?

Thanks!

JUNE 11.  Today CNBC is reporting that a million homes were foreclosed in the past three months. I hope it's not you or anyone you know, but if it is . . .

Good information about Making Home Affordable (MHA) is hard to find online. The White House has information here The official MHA website is here. More official info is at financialstability.gov.

Here's something solid but not encouraging: in its May 14 Progress Report on MHA, the U. S. Treasury Department reported that as of May 14, some 14 participating loan servicers had "extended offers on 55,000 trial modifications". Treasury also gave specific figures obtained from Wells Fargo, Chase, GMAC and Saxon.

Point worth noting: From what I'm hearing, different mortgage lenders apply very different standards in evaluating an application for MFA assistance. In your comments below, please mention your lender by name if you feel safe in doing so.

Some further background:

1 A story Washington Post writer Renae Merle: "More Homeowners Getting Aid, but Demand Keeps Rising". With a million homes foreclosed in the last 3 months and, Merle says, only "About 55,000 homeowners . . . offered modified loans" so far by MHA, the program is clearly way behind the curve in meeting demand. Merle, the only writer I've found so far who's following the MHA story, goes on to describe actions being taken in one state:

Last week, Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage financing company, obtained a temporary restraining order from the South Carolina Supreme Court to stop the foreclosure sale of more than 1,000 properties there so it could give the program more time to work.

2 Here's a related June 4 story by Merle, "Refinancing Boom Fizzles as Interest Rates Rise From Historic Lows", has an unpleasant quote:

"If you were looking to refinance for under 5 percent, this puts the brakes on that," said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance.

3 You can email Renae Merle here. I just did. She sounds like a reporter who listens to readers. Any other sources that should be brought into the mix at this diary?

4 Here's a sample of the (vague) guidelines that one lender (GMAC)offers homeowners who may apply for assistance under MHA.

5 This Loansafe.org Homeloan Forum looks like a good place for at risk homeowners to share war stories but then Rip-off Report says the site owner has a criminal record

Well that's it for now: the best info I could find in 3 hours of surfing!! Thanks for reading. Anything big that I've overlooked?

Originally posted to Inside the Belly of the Mortgage Loan Mod Beast on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 09:32 AM PDT.

Poll

How Do YOU Relate to Making Home Affordable (MHA)

15%10 votes
9%6 votes
4%3 votes
28%18 votes
7%5 votes
15%10 votes
14%9 votes
3%2 votes

| 63 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Well, our experience with MHA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      was no problem with getting approval -- the only problem was that the refinanced payment (even with a minor interest rate cut) was sixty dollars more a month than the payment we couldn't make in the first place.

      In certain targeted instances, MHA may be useful -- for people with balloon rates on their mortgage, for example. For most Americans, I suspect it's going to be a wash. Dropping an interest rate 2% does NOT make up for a 30% reduction in income, or a 40% drop in the value of the home.

      So, nice idea, not particularly useful to the majority of Americans, would be my assessment.

  •  I can't give an assessment yet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, leonard145b

    as I just recieved my paperwork for a loan mod.  I'm not getting a great deal but it's better than nothing.  If it goes through as is projected it will save us about 300 bucks per month.  I have a 10.22% ARM that can only reset upward.  They dropped me to 8% and deferred June's payment for me.  My husband was laid off for 5 months and we burned through all of our savings just to stay afloat.  I'm a tipped employee so my income has gone south as well.  The criteria was to meet Debt to Income requirements and be able to prove income and hardship.  I don't know if my application will be accepted as of yet but my mortgage company said as long as I was truthful with the numbers I gave them it should be accepted.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 09:41:16 AM PDT

    •  I didn't even get that much inofrmation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leonard145b, Kristina40

      I was awarded 'forebearance' with the potential of an unspecified modification if I make my (somewhat reduced) payments three times in a row.  

      I do know (by a slip from the person on the phone) what my home was reassessed at, which works out well if my interest rate is below 5.  But they won't tell me the terms of the mod until I complete the trial.  

      How did you find out the terms?  

      "[Y]ou give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confessing to the Sharon Tate murders." -Jesse Ventura

      by Nada Lemming on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 09:52:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mine is the same (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leonard145b, Nada Lemming

        This would be a trial 3 month deal and the numbers were prelimanary, not set in stone.  I won't know the actual terms until I send in the paperwork.

        ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

        by Kristina40 on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 09:54:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, that would be helpful (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kristina40

          if when I send in the paperwork I got the terms back.  But it's kind of funny how you need to agree to a program which you don't know is beneficial, and if it urns out it isn't, you're still committed.  

          Kind of like buying a car but the dealer won't tell you the price until you sign the loan papers.

          I heard the terms were supposed to be between 2 and 4 percent, fixed under the program.   The bank gave me a lightly higher number than 4.  But they said a negotiator will be talking to me, so it's not set in stone.  Is that your experience too?  

          "[Y]ou give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confessing to the Sharon Tate murders." -Jesse Ventura

          by Nada Lemming on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 10:10:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

            I still have that sick feeling that somehow I'm getting the screws again...With rates rising rapidly and the bond market set to implode, I really don't feel I have a choice at this point.  Refinancing is impossible unless you gave stellar credit and a hefty chunk of change for fees and down payment.  My ARM will reset again in August so I'm going to try anyway.

            ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

            by Kristina40 on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 10:23:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  we'll be fine I think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kristina40

              if all goes to plan.  It's others in this thread and my fire fighter neighbor who I worry about. If you're not already in the program, it may already be too late to get in.  I could be wrong, but that's my sense of it.  

              "[Y]ou give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confessing to the Sharon Tate murders." -Jesse Ventura

              by Nada Lemming on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 11:16:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  $75 bill. div. by 5 million = $15,000 per home (0+ / 0-)

      If the math above is correct, that's what MHA is designed to for 5 million homeowners. As you say, it's better than nothing.

      I wonder: who's the ultimate holder of your reset 8% is - sounds like someone is still making a bundle on that loan!

  •  Servicers Not Approving (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leonard145b

    I know the mortgage market very well, and I don't know of any servicers that are approving loan modifications under the Obama MHA plan.

    The servicers -- they're the organizations which actually send out your mortgage notices every month and collect your payments -- almost never actually own the loans.  They typically claim that they don't have permission from the entities that actually own the loans to do mortgage modifications.

    If you actually know who owns your loan, and then call them, they lay it back to the servicers, saying it's their decision.  So it's a Catch-22 all around and nobody wants to take the responsibility.

    The exception is if Fannie or Freddie actually owns the loan, they have given instruction to servicers to start modification proceedings.  But if they've packaged the loan into a pooled mortgage backed security and then sold it off to investors, they don't own it anymore either.

    The mortgage system is a mess because of the lax regulation during the Bush years permitted the pooling of bits and pieces of mortgages into vast pools of mortgage backed securities.  Nobody actually knows who owns loans or who has the legal right to modify them.

  •  Trying (0+ / 0-)

    I have been working on starting a business for the past couple of years. Because of this I have taken almost no income. I tried to refinance my home of almost 18 years a month ago, no late payments, excellent credit rating, large amount of equity and was denied by conventional loan sources due to my very low income.

    So I have tried to get into this program. But two times now have been told I have to wait until a future date. Our loan was sold to Fanny/Freddy.

    But it is a bummer as interest rates have risen while we are 'waiting'. I stand to save approx $500 per month on my mortgage payment.

    Very frustrating situation.

    •  that's your problem (0+ / 0-)

      You should quit paying your mortgage then hope it all works out.  :)

      When I called the bank (Feb 1) they said they weren't signing anyone up who was paying their bills.  Since I really couldn't pay it without hurting all the other bills, i quit, wrote a letter of hardship, included all my bills in the letter, and waited, while I got all the threatening letters.  then about two weeks ago I got the forbearance.  No guarantee that will work for you.  

      "[Y]ou give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confessing to the Sharon Tate murders." -Jesse Ventura

      by Nada Lemming on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 10:14:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  there is no incentive for lenders (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caelian, Kristina40

    to work with the program, thus the light numbers.  Our home paper is not Fannie or Freddie, we're trying to learn the owner....2 mos. behind now and starting mitigation/modification on an upwards only ARM just under 10 per cent.

    The only good news is that prior to filing foreclosure we understand in Florida that the lender has to show they made a good faith effort to work with the mortgagee...we'll see how that goes.

    I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain

    by route66 on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 10:00:31 AM PDT

  •  Clueless (0+ / 0-)

    After trying to get information from my lender for 3 months, and after extensive research on the internet about MHA, I FINALLY got the bad news...MHA doesn't apply to FHA mortgages.
    Why did it take that long to get that one simple piece of information?
    My lender, TB&W, should have known that from the start.

  •  I've been given mixed messages (0+ / 0-)

    and the run around, our loan is owned by Freddie Mac.  Was told that we wouldn't qualify for a loan modification because we weren't delinquent.  That isn't what the MHA website says:

    Millions of borrowers who are current, but having difficulty making their payments and borrowers who have already missed one or more payments may be eligible.

    "As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression..." William O. Douglas

    by Patricia Bruner on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 10:32:15 AM PDT

    •  You should be eligible for the refinance part of (0+ / 0-)

      the MHA program.  It's for people who are NOT behind, and are NOT underwater on their mortgage.  You only qualify for a modification if you are behind on payments.  There are 2 parts to the program, Refinance and Modification.  You should qualify for the refi.  Check again with your lender/servicer and don't let them give you the run around.  Got up the chain till you get an answer.

      When enough people take enough baby steps, pretty soon we will be able to turn around and see just how far we have truly come.

      by Spudnic on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 11:19:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hear that GMAC is rejecting applications (0+ / 0-)

      Of homeowners who GMAC believes can afford to make their next three monthly payments.

  •  I am currently in the process of refinancing (0+ / 0-)

    throught the MHA program.  It's not a modification, as we are not behind on payments or underwater on the loan.  We refinanced down almost 2 points and will save about $200/ month.  We close in mid-July and will get to skip a payment, allowing us to use the $$ to add a little more value to the house with a patio cover.

    So far, we are pleased with the process.  It's been painless, if a little slow, due to (according to our loan officer) high volume.  We have our mortgage w/ US Bank, and Freddie owns our loan.

    When enough people take enough baby steps, pretty soon we will be able to turn around and see just how far we have truly come.

    by Spudnic on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 11:24:24 AM PDT

  •  MHA dog and pony act. (0+ / 0-)

    Never meant to do anything but subsidize banks.  Another give away to Wall St and the quixotic attempts to prop up asset prices.
    Let prices fall to where they will fall eventually anyway.

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