Chase Finds 16% of Mods Are 'Permanent’?
A recent article highlights that JPMorgan Chase has over 140,000 borrowers in the HAMP program currently, and that only 16% will be or have been approved for “permanent” modification as they announced in Congress. Additionally only 29% of those made all of their payments on time during their 3 month trial and so now are ineligible for permanent mods. Begging the question, so is even the 16% number accurate?
This along with other examples of the fallacy of HAMP I have given in the past conjures memories of an advertisement from my youth… “Where’s the Beef”?
HAMP sounds nice, People love acronyms, best intentions and all but like so many things in our society these days no one wants to look beyond the surface. We long to be placated. We want to feel better, eat our government endorsed Hostess products and watch dancing with the stars until our Ambien kicks in. All you are required to do is look at two factors to determine HAMP was NEVER going to work as it is currently configured.
1. Out of control unemployment. The numbers are staggering and nowhere close to reality when one factors the numbers of people still employed but on reduced hours, or those that have fallen of the unemployment rolls entirely. You can’t qualify if you have no, or even reduced income.
2. The amount of mortgages that are upside down more than 10-20% allowable. Borrowers in California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada are doomed even before they announced the program.
In all actuality the servicers are making only a half hearted effort in these programs. The lenders know their hands are tied, Congress and the Administration know this as well. The only ones who don’t? John and Sally Homeowner in Eugene Oregon who actually need and think they are going to get a mod. Adding more fuel to the noxious mix of those who know, the vultures who prey on John and Sally. Telling them their lender will take too long, work with us and we will get you your mod…just give us $995. They believe this right up until me or someone like me shows up at the door with the sheriff. Julia Gordon from the Center for Responsible Lending said as much in her address to congress, saying that HAMP had the “theoretical potential” to help but servicers either would not or could not do what is asked of them.
What to do? Do we as a nation bite the bullet and “bailout” the borrowers as well. Should we do a white board erase of all current mortgages and start over as some have suggested? Highly unlikely! Can you imagine the lawsuits generated by those who have previously been foreclosed on and are left to wonder “why was I not bailed out”?
I am interested in this group’s insight. What would you propose? I have outlined my ideas here in prior blogs so I won’t beat that drum too loudly but these are the basics (how we create jobs is a blog post unto its own).
1. Mod only those who can, and quickly. Release all other inventory on to the market regardless of how far values fall.
2. Waive the 3 year restriction on all foreclosed or bankrupted borrowers and allow those that are TRULY qualified to re-enter the market.
3. Lift restrictions on the amount of properties investors can purchase.
What say you?