The United States Treasury department has been paying $1500 for each loan file that is modified. These companies also handle the collection of mortgage payments and requests for assistance.
These companies or servicers can also get $1,000 for each loan modification completion under the government's modification program and additional stipends over a period of three years if borrowers stay current on their new mortgage payments.
But the problem has become that there will not be enough time nor man power to save the millions of homes where loan payments are in arrears more than 90 days nor do St Louis finance professionals feel there are enough incentives to accomplish this task.
The payouts provided by the Obama administration's bailout programs don't come close to what servicers will earn by choosing to foreclose instead.
In fact, "the incentives being offered by the government are small compared to the counter-incentive of foreclosure" so says chief economist Diane Swonk from Mesirow Financial.
Many feel that since the lending industry has its own set of incentives, you can't tell people to do something that's not in their best financial interest, especially in an market that is still struggling.
Now it seems, according to Swonk, that free enterprise even in a downturn economy such as ours can rightfully advocate greed over doing what is morally right and in the best interest of the St Louis mortgage owner.
And yes, this has become a double-edged sword so to say. The second quarter of 2009 showed that modified homeowners has missed at least one loan payment as reported by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision.
The statistics go on to show that a total of twenty-four percent of St Louis home loans modified in that same period were 90 days or more overdue.
Some now say that loan modifications do not work while others insist that we need more time to see how this plan unfolds before throwing in the proverbial towel.
Marie McDonnell, owner of Truth in Lending Auditing & Recovery Services in Orleans, Massachusetts suggests that these servicers are not really losing money when a re-default occurs.
If the homeowner fails to meet the terms of their new loan modification and the property isn't approved for a short sale under the HAFA program, then servicers can proceed with a foreclosure and recoup all their money when the property is sold.
And since there is more money to be made with a foreclosed property, the majority of servicers will go the as many say the immoral route and not help save the homeowner's property.
Once a loan is 90 days or more overdue, servicers can charge processing and foreclosure fees along with markups for attorneys, appraisers and other associated services.
Keep in mind this does not include any and all monthly late fees that can run as high as 5 percent of the mortgage payment.
Let's talk about numbers for a moment. A $195,000 home going into foreclosure could bring approximately $11,000 in income for these servicers.
Rumors have it that on the average, servicers can easily make 10 times the amount more than any of the government stipends being offered by simply foreclosing on the house.
The sad thing is mortgage investors will take a loss from a foreclosure or a short sale, but not the servicers. As mentioned earlier, they get paid regardless because they are first in line to be paid from the proceeds of the home sale.
This unfortunate situation was only made worse when politicians rejected new legislation designed to allow bankruptcy judges to reduce mortgage balances and interest rates to help such homeowners.
The provisions know as the 'cram-down' law would have allowed judicial modified loans which in essence would have given better terms to the consumer to make it easier to continue with their mortgage payment.
This new legislation would have prevented servicers from using greed and financial gain in deciding who gets a loan modification and who goes into foreclosure. One has to stop and think was there any real hope for stopping this mortgage crisis in the first place.
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Article Added on Friday, April 27, 2012
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