The Treasury Department has directed the 20 largest Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) servicers to establish "relationship managers" who will provide a single point of contact for homeowners seeking a loan modification.

Servicers "must establish and implement a process through which borrowers who are potentially eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program" are assigned a relationship manager by September 1, according to a supplemental directive Treasury issued late Wednesday.

Borrowers being evaluated for a HAMP modification, in HAMP payment trials, or under consideration for a forbearance plan or short sale, must be assigned an RM by November 1.

Many HAMP servicers have already agreed to implement a single point of contact as part of a settlement with the Comptroller of the Currency and other federal regulators.  But the settlement provides only general guidelines that are supposed to be filled in by the servicers.   

Treasury's directive will force additional servicers to adopt the single-point of contact approach and is more specific, especially in setting out the responsibilities of the relationship managers.

Supplemental Directive 11-04 says RMs are "responsible for managing the borrower relationship throughout the entire delinquency or imminent default resolution process, including any home retention and non-foreclosure liquidation options."  If the loan is subsequently referred to foreclosure, the RM must be available to respond to borrower inquiries regarding the status of the foreclosure.

RMs are expected to be knowledgeable about the borrower's situation and current status in the loss mitigation process and be able to suggest options to help them remain in their home.

"Additionally, the relationship manager must be aware of [HAMP] program requirements and timelines and must coordinate with the borrower and in-house and third-party servicer personnel to promote compliance with these requirements and timelines," the directive says.

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