The Treasury Department has revised the President's loan modification plan to require participating servicers to consider the FHA Hope for Homeowners program as an option and write down the principal amount of the mortgage.
"For borrowers where Hope for Homeowners works, it can be a better option for them," because it allows underwater borrowers to re-establish equity in their homes, HUD secretary Shaun Donovan said. If the investor is willing to do a writedown, "that will be first alternative to a modification," the Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary told reporters.
The HUD secretary admitted the FHA H4H program is flawed and it has only refinanced 50 homeowners. However, the Obama administration is urging Congress to pass a housing bill (H.R. 1106) to revamp the H4H program and make it a more effective part of the administration's loan modification program.
The new HUD secretary also said 11 of the largest servicers have signed up to participate in the President's loan modification program and they are beginning to modify mortgages in private-label securities. "Servicers are moving forward with modifying PLS loans."
He also noted that an increasing number of investors are willing to do principal write downs under the FHA program.