The White House continued the string of announcements geared to pump life into the housing market and the economy. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce the fees it charges homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgages through its streamline program. The program only applies to borrowers who have loans taken out on or before May 31, 2009.
Homeowners must already have an existing FHA mortgage, to qualify for the program. In addition, borrowers must be current on their monthly payments and have a $500 on cash back loans. Borrowers do not have to undergo income verifications nor do they need appraisals. Borrowers were underwater with their mortgage can apply for the program since an appraisal is necessary to establish the property value.
According to the FHA, as many as 3 million borrowers may qualify to refinance from high interest rate mortgages and take advantage of low interest rate loans near 4%. The administration says the average borrower can save $1,000 annually by refinancing the mortgage. Homeowners will have. The average homeowner will pay about $100 for each $100,000 of the loan. Borrowers pay in annual charge of 0.55%, and an upfront premium of 0.1%-- the lowest rate FHA allows for FHA mortgages.
In 2011, the FHA refinanced 180,000 applications under the program. Hoping to fuel lenders’ participation in the revised FHA mortgage refinance program, banks will receive an incentive from FHA. The Federal Housing Administration agrees not to count the refinanced mortgages against the lenders’ “compare ratio,” in future audits. The compare ratio measures the performance of loans issued by a specific lender, against the loan portfolios of other mortgage lenders.
Review of Foreclosures on Service Members
Member of the Armed Services, who had their home foreclosed on starting in 2006, can have their cases reviewed by mortgage servicers and lenders. This program applies any service people who believe they lost their home to foreclosure unjustly or suffered financial consequences when the housing market crashed. The program will pay any member who suffered wrongdoing loss equity, plus interest.
For example, military personnel who were not allow to refinance at the 6% interest rate, as required under the Service Members’ Civil Relief Act, can receive a refund of the excess interest charge over the 6% rate, plus interest. In addition, some members can receive a lump-sum payment of $116,785 from Ally Financial, Wells Fargo or Citigroup. According to the Civil Rights Division’s (Justice Department) assistant attorney general Thomas Perez, most of the infractions relate to lenders failing to obtain the proper court order before foreclosing on the homes.
JP Morgan Chase agreed to offer homes to eligible service members, with “free and clear” titles, or the equivalent value of the foreclosed home during the foreclosure process, in cash.
This agreement represents part of the settlement reached in the $26 billion mortgage settlement, between some loan servicers and the federal government/ state attorney generals negotiating team-- with the exception of Oklahoma. Citibank, Wells Fargo's, J.P. Morgan Chase, Ally Financial and Bank of America were the five lenders that agreed to the settlement.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says he believes thousands of service members lost their homes use of improper foreclosures, which violated the Service Members’ Civil Relief Act.
Service members, who lost their homes to foreclosure, going back to 2006, can call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743 for more information about the settlement and the eligibility requirements.