Obama’s mortgage mod program getting participants, but few see permanent fixes

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Obama’s Making Home Affordable program, which launched in February, has begun modifying loans on a trial basis for 650,000 borrowers, or one-fifth of those eligible, the administration announced yesterday. The program aims to modify loans for up to four million borrowers whose payments are more than 60 days delinquent over the next several years by enticing mortgage companies and investors to reduce their demands. While the Treasury Department said yesterday’s data means the program is on track to meet that goal, JPMorgan Chase said only 26 percent of customers who made trial payments under the program had submitted the necessary documents to make the modifications permanent. At Morgan Stanley, just 500 participating customers have received permanent modifications so far. A permanent fix is only granted if borrowers become current on their payments after three months and submit both a hardship affidavit and other documentation. Because much of the problem seems to stem from documentation, the Treasury Department has begun relaxing some requirements. Last month, borrowers who had made three trial payments were granted 60 extra days on their paperwork.

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