It seems a tide is turning: Few policymakers believe mortgage servicers will ever meaningfully modify home loans. Or so one could conclude from this Reuters story, which cites an unnamed Obama administration source saying the government is considering offering aid directly to delinquent borrowers.
Some studies, like this recently released white paper by researchers at the Boston Fed, are providing backing for the claim that loan mods aren´t working. Many borrowers are redefaulting; foreclosures continue to rise and servicers don´t see an economic benefit in lowering borrowers´ payments and principle. Housing Wire reported last week that temporary moratoria on foreclosures imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and some private servicers didn´t do much good, either. Regulators like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Housing Finance Administration have also condemned loan mod programs as ineffective.
But hey, anyone remember IndyMac? Last we checked the redefault rate on that loan mod program was clocking in at just 12%. Would that make it the exception that proves the rule or the only well-executed loan-mod program?
The question is, should policymakers and the administration be focused on helping borrowers make payments now or forcing meaningful loan mods?