2008-10-27wordpress.com

If it is not for lack of a program, and if it is not for a lack of interest on the borrowers part, that only leaves the failure of the program to usual culprits - the banks.


This post is contributed by Anthony Freed of YourMortgageOrYourLife.com

As banks continue to line up for the taxpayer funded handouts designed to ease their withdrawals from years of dependence on high yields derived from ridiculously reckless lending practices, homeowners continue to seek avenues to prevent the looming possibility of foreclosure - typically cited as the root cause of the economic ‘crisis' that currently grips world financial markets.

It's reassuring to know that our dedicated civil servants are willing to put in the long hours required, on nights and weekends, to make sure their banking buddies and colleagues don't have to suffer the same fate as many banking executives of late, having to retire with hundreds of millions of dollars that were fraudulently paid out as options and bonuses as reward for investing long and naked, and exposing their companies to tremendous risks.

By the way - none of those profits from the `boom' are being appropriated in order to reimburse those now failing companies, and none of that money is going to be recovered in order to soften the blow to taxpayers.

That money is considered to be lawful compensation for a job poorly done. What is on the table is just exactly how much more bonuses they should get before their companies are declared illiquid then subsequently sold off to the lone bidder for pennies on the dollar, and how much of the bailout money they will use to buy up competitors instead of lending it out as promised.

And for the lowly taxpayer on whose backs both the illicit corporate profits as well as the cost of the bailout are borne? What has this unprecedented dash to action by the bureaucrats, political appointees, and elected representatives of the people wrought in the way of sanctuary from the economic tempest that has engulfed their citizenry?

How about the dandy "Hope for Homeowners" program, a program designed to help more than 400,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure by making as much as $300 billion dollars available for the program. What a fantastic idea, it would seem at first glance. Of course, the Devil really is in the details.

As of today, October 27, 2008 - nearly four weeks since the program was unveiled - a remarkable 79 people have applied for the program (Fox News 8-27-08).

Yes, 79 homeowners have been accepted (Fox News 8-27-08).

There are at least 77 banks participating in the program. I am not going to try to do that math in my head, but my best guess is that each of those banks has only helped about one homeowner avoid foreclosure each in that 27 day period.

My first impression was that this had to be due to a simple lack of awareness by the public such a program was available to them. Not the case at all I have found. The program has generated a great deal of interest by distressed homeowners since it was unveiled.

Lenders have been deluged with inquiries from interested borrowers, and the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this program could help as many as 400,000 homeowners through September 2011, when the program ends.

"Our phones have been going crazy," said Anthony Logan, president of Group Capital Mortgage in Cerritos, Calif, a participating lender.

What's the hold up? Why, it's the program itself, which was designed almost certainly to fail. First of all, the program is completely voluntary for both the lenders and the participating banks. It also requires the lenders to forgive a portion of the original loan balance in an effort to bring the mortgage in line with the market and affordability for the borrower to enter a long term fixed mortgage.

It allows certain borrowers at risk of foreclosure to refinance into a 30- year fixed-rate loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) if the current lender agrees to write down the existing loan to 90% of the home's market value today. In plummeting areas such as California, if a lender holds a $500,000 mortgage and the home's current appraisal comes in at $400,000, the lender would forgive $140,000 in all. Even before the program launched, lenders expressed concerns about the potentially enormous write downs they would face.

Incredibly, in the face of receiving the largest publicly funded bailout of private industry in history, supposedly caused by nonperforming securities backed by rapidly foreclosing mortgages, the banks themselves are refusing to use a portion of that bailout money to help alleviate the very circumstances that had predicated the public bailout in the first place.

Meanwhile, two million families are expected to lose their homes to foreclosure in the next two years.

There is a serious leadership vacuum in this country, especially at the upper echelons of both government and business. Their priorities and policies are bankrupting our nation, and the close relationship between these private industries and our government regulatory agencies should be rigorously examined.

Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was one of the major architects and proponents of the "self-regulating" banking model developed in the 1990's.

Heavy deregulation and the elimination of the safety barriers that had existed between the retail banks and investment banks, as well as the experimental distribution of risk to world-wide markets through untested financial vehicles. This system, partially conceived and enthusiastically advocated by Paulson, directly led to the current financial crisis that threatens the first worldwide depression since the 1930's.

Now, for better or worse, we have handed the job of fixing this mess to the very people most instrumental in it's cause.

Is it any wonder that the phones ringing off the hooks as desperate homeowners look for help and scramble to avert financial ruin by refinancing out of predatory loans, and yet only 79 loans being made to save them nationwide?

If it is not for lack of a program, and if it is not for a lack of interest on the borrowers part, that only leaves the failure of the program to usual culprits - the banks.

"We know the interest from the public is there, and the next question that can't be answered yet is are the lenders going to do this?" says Bill Glavin, special assistant to the FHA commissioner, who notes that it generally takes at least 45 to 60 days to complete the process for a regular FHA loan."

Well Bill, here is your answer from them banks: "No."



Comments:

loanzrfun at 11:24 2008-10-28 said:
Look at the participating lender list....that's tragic....no b of a, no wells, no chase, no nada, nobody, no how...what a sham........there's not one major lender on the list of approved lenders....big surprise it won't work......bad plan, bad implementation, just plain ol' bad!!! Permalink
cmac1 at 12:28 2008-10-28 said:
I've determined this program will not work and here's why: 1. We recently attempted to implement the HOPE program but the guidelines implemented to receive a HOPE loan pretty much guarantee, no mortgage company will get involved other than current mortgage servicers simply because there is no way to make any money on this, excuse me $20 or 1% of the loan amount whichever is LESS. 2. It requires the homeowner to contact the current mortgage servicer to even attempt getting a HOPE loan, and we all know these are the same people that have confronted the homeowner every other day to collect on the mortgage payments. 3. Even with shared appreciation getting a 2nd lien holder to write off their mortgage and get the 1st mortgage holder to reduce the balance 90% of the current appraised value doesn't make any sense. I'm assuming the reasoning is because it's cheaper than foreclosing. 4. It requires borrowers to meet stringent income guidelines which most will not be able to meet. If you really want the HOPE loan to float, make it no loan at all..... 1. Reduce the interest rate to current fixed rates. 2. Modify the loan to move the delinquent payments to the rear of the mortgage 3. Don't write down the balance simply because they're in the arrears, and the home value's not there right now. 4. Reduce the MI Premium to FHA level irregardless of credit standing 5. Modify all 2yr fixed ARM loans to standard fixed rate loans. 6. Prohibit current mortgage servicers from reporting to the credit bureaus any negative rating until the housing market recovers. 7. Make it financially vialable for outside mortgage companies to originate these things Permalink

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