The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced major changes to its Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) to help make it easier for borrowers with negative equity in their homes to qualify. In an article
in MBA Newslink
, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s daily e-newsletter, the FHFA said the agency made the changes because it was aware a number of borrowers were not taking advantage of the HARP program or were being screened out. The changes were made in hopes the FHFA could double the number of borrowers being served by the program.
In the article, MBA President and CEO David Stevens praised the FHFA’s actions but cautioned they are “not a silver bullet to solve all the issues facing our housing market and borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. But they will offer lenders another tool to help borrowers and hopefully help bring some stability to housing markets, particularly those most impacted by home value declines."
For mortgage servicers to help their distressed borrowers successfully take advantage of the revamped HARP program, however, it’s critical for them to have a complete and thorough understanding of how to comply with its complex guidelines and requirements. While the full details of the new program are still being outlined, the complete requirements and servicers ability and capacity to comply with them will have a large bearing on how many embrace the program.Authored by Jason Marx, Vice President and General Manager, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services