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Treasury Department Spokesman Announces Changes to HAMP

November 4, 2009

Our Pomona loan modification lawyers work frequently with homeowners involved in the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program -- or people who would like to be involved. Because we've been following and working with the program for months, we understand some of its limitations. So we were pleased to see an Oct. 30 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in which a Treasury Department official said more changes to the program are on their way. Speaking at a fair lending conference, senior policy analyst Mark McArdle told listeners that the agency is retooling HAMP to address lenders' reluctance to participate. He also said his agency is considering measures to address the effects of rising unemployment.

As would-be participants know, HAMP got off to a very slow start, with very few modifications granted and many lenders complaining of bad service and repeatedly lost paperwork. McArdle told the conference that the number of trial modifications under the program now exceeds 560,000, surpassing a goal the administration has set. However, McArdle acknowledged that more was needed. He said new guidelines would require lenders to respond to applications in 10 days, possibly putting an end to borrowers' complaints about months-long delays. He also said the Treasury Department was looking at ways to help the growing number of unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure. Other new or proposed changes include allowing modifications for second mortgages; requiring lenders to clearly and in writing state reasons for a denial; and streamlining documentation requirements.

As Yorba Linda loan modification attorneys, we are pleased that the government is actively looking for ways to improve HAMP. Though many originally had high hopes for the program, it has fallen rather short of its promise as lenders give borrowers the runaround and incorrectly deny modifications. (In fact, at least two studies suggest that lenders may be doing this on purpose, because foreclosures generate more profit with less risk.) If the requirement for a quick response is given some teeth to back it up, it could end the three-month waits that borrowers routinely report enduring, and the surprise foreclosures that sometimes follow. And the changes to accommodate unemployed homeowners, if done right, could nip a future wave of foreclosures in the bud and help preserve the beginnings of recovery in the housing market.

Howard Law LLP has an active practice helping homeowners throughout California win modifications to their loans. Often, our clients come to us only after trying for months to negotiate a loan workout on their own. When our San Clemente loan modification attorneys step in, we frequently see these lenders do a dramatic about-face as they realize that the homeowners mean business. With an attorney on the job, banks know that the borrower now has someone who can recognize and fight underhanded behavior and rights violations. We do not always sue lenders, but we absolutely will do so if it's necessary to stop an unfair foreclosure or enforce your legal rights. As much as possible, we aim to lower our clients' monthly mortgage payments to a reachable and sustainable number.

If you're fighting with your lender to get a loan modification, whether it's through HAMP or not, you don't have to do it alone. Howard Law offers free, confidential case evaluations at no obligation to you. To set one up, please contact us through our Web site or call 1-800-872-5925 toll-free.