WASHINGTON (6/24/09)—Loan modifications for the first quarter of 2009 were up 50% at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). The first quarter results were too early in the year to reflect the Obama administration's loan modification program, the Home Affordable Modification, which was still in development in March. Fannie and Freddie both have significant roles in the administration plan. Of the 50% increase in modifications, FHFA Director James Lockhart said, “The use of serious loan modifications by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has risen dramatically. As a result, more homeowners are seeing payments significantly reduced and fewer people will lose their homes.” The following were among the agency’s reported findings, as of March 31, regarding the GSEs’ 30 million residential mortgages:
* Modifications represented 43% of all completed foreclosure prevention actions in the first quarter of 2009, up from 33% in the prior quarter; * Modifications with more than 20% reduction in monthly payments rose from 2% in the first quarter of last year to 52% in the first quarter of this year; * Approximately 87,000 actions were completed actions to prevent foreclosure- including modifications, forbearance, repayment plans and other measures. That represented about a 20% over-quarter increase and about a doubling from the year earlier; * Home retention actions – actions that result in a borrower keeping his or her home – accounted for 90% of these actions completed during the first quarter consistent with the proportions of foreclosure prevention actions completed over the past year; and * The percentage of Enterprises’ mortgage loans that were at least two payments past due (60-plus-days delinquent) was 3.6%, which the FHFA compared to 6.1 % for VA loans, 10.2% for FHA loans and 9.2% for the industry average.