HAMP Not Preventing Enough Foreclosures

The Congressional Oversight Panel released its December oversight report this week, finding in the eight months since the Panel’s last report on the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), that Treasury has made minor tweaks to the program, but the changes have not resolved the Panel’s core concerns. The Panel now estimates that, if current trends hold, HAMP will prevent only 700,000 foreclosures—far fewer than the three to four million foreclosures that Treasury initially aimed to stop, and vastly fewer than the eight to 13 million foreclosures expected by 2012. While HAMP’s most dramatic shortcoming has been its poor results in preventing foreclosures, the report says the program has had other significant flaws. For example, despite repeated urgings from the Panel, Treasury has failed to collect and analyze data that would explain HAMP’s shortcomings, and it does not even have a way to collect data for many of HAMP’s add-on programs. Further, Treasury has refused to specify meaningful goals by which to measure HAMP’s progress, while the program’s sole initial goal—to prevent three to four million foreclosures—has been repeatedly redefined and watered down.

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