This white paper has been prepared by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) —together the Agencies —to continue the collaborative efforts of the past seven years to stabilize the housing market and help struggling homeowners recover from the financial crisis. With the termination of crisis-era programs at the end of this year, the Agencies are working with stakeholders to maintain strong loss mitigation programs going for
ward. This white paper examines the evolution of loss mitigation programs administered by the Agencies, and discusses the lessons learned from such programs. The paper also lays out five guiding principles that should be a foundation for future loss mitigation programs: accessibility, affordability, sustainability, transparency, and accountability.
The financial crisis of 2008 revealed that the mortgage servicing industry was ill-equipped to adequately respond to the needs of struggling homeowners. Indeed, there was no standard approach among mortgage servicers and investors about how to respond to homeowners who wanted to continue making payments, but were in need of mortgage assistance. Most solutions offered by servicers simply added unpaid interest and fees to the mortgage balance, which often resulted in higher—and thereby less sustainable—payments for homeowners, regardless of a hardship.
In early 2009, a government-sponsored program—Making Home Affordable (MHA)—was established to provide foreclosure alternatives to homeowners impacted by the financial crisis. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the first and largest program under MHA, provided a standard for mortgage modifications that crossed mortgage servicer and investor types, with the goal of reducing struggling homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments to an affordable and sustainable amount.