May 4, 2011 (Shirley Allen)

The number of proprietary loan modifications declined in the first quarter of 2011 according to HOPE NOW, the voluntary, private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and non-profit counselors. The organization reports that 209,806 homeowners received permanent, proprietary loan modifications compared to 261,445 in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Of the proprietary loan modifications completed, 81 percent included reduced monthly principal and interest payments, with 57 percent of those receiving a reduction of more than 10 percent.

For the month of March, a total of 76,675 loan modifications were completed which was an increase of 26 percent from February’s 60,903 completed loan modifications.

HOPE NOW also reports that fixed rate mortgages (fixed for a period of 5 years or more) accounted for 76 percent of the completed proprietary modifications.

Although there was a reduction in 60+ days delinquencies for the month of March, 2.63 million compared to February’s 2.78 million, the number of foreclosure starts increased 21 percent to 217,000, which was up from 180,000 in February.

Completed foreclosure sales were also up 35 percent for the month of March as 85,000 foreclosure sales were counted compared to 62,000 in February.

Faith Schwartz, Executive Director, issued this statement:

“We were pleased to see the increase in proprietary loan modifications from the previous month, despite the challenges facing the industry. This reversed a downward trend in proprietary modifications seen in the previous few months.

While it’s encouraging to see a continued decline in 60 day delinquency we realize many homeowners continue to be at risk of foreclosure, as evidenced by the increase in foreclosure sales in March. Homeowners need the ongoing focus and support of loan servicers and non-profit housing counselors as they continue to move through the resolution process. This includes explaining all options, which may include a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

HOPE NOW and its partners remain committed to ramping up their efforts to reach struggling families and working together to use all tools at their disposal, including aggressive local and regional outreach and leading-edge technology, such as HOPE LoanPort® to help these families find alternatives to foreclosure.”

You can read the entire report on the HOPE NOW website.

Tags: HOPE NOW, private sector alliance, mortgage servicers, loan modifications, fixed rate mortgages, delinquencies, proprietary modifications, foreclosure starts, foreclosure sales