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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BofA's Principal Reduction Plan

by Calculated Risk on 3/24/2010 01:15:00 PM

Here is the BofA plan mentioned last night ... this is for specific loans only (Countrywide subprime, Option ARMs and a few others), and BofA estimates this will apply to about 45,000 borrowers for a total of about $3 billion in principal reduction.

From BofA: Bank of America Introduces Earned Principal Forgiveness Among Enhancements to Its National Homeownership Retention Program

Bank of America announced it will look first at principal forgiveness – ahead of an interest rate reduction – when modifying certain subprime, Pay-Option and prime two-year hybrid mortgages qualifying for its National Homeownership Retention Program (NHRP). Several enhancements are being made to the program, including the introduction of an earned principal forgiveness approach to modifying mortgages that are severely underwater.
Bank of America developed and launched the NHRP in 2008, in cooperation with state attorneys general, to provide assistance to Countrywide borrowers who financed their home with certain subprime and Pay-Option adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). Bank of America removed these from the Countrywide product line upon acquiring Countrywide in July 2008.

These new components of the agreement apply to certain NHRP-eligible loans that also meet the basic qualifications for the government's Home Affordable Modification Program. They include:
• A first look at principal reductions in calculating an affordable payment through an earned principal forgiveness approach to severely underwater loans.
• Principal forgiveness through a reduction of negative-amortization on certain Pay-Option ARMs.
• Conversion of certain Pay-Option ARMs to fully amortizing loans prior to a recast.
• Addition of certain prime two-year hybrid ARMs as eligible for the NHRP mortgage modification programs.
• Inclusion of Countrywide mortgages originated on or before January 1, 2009, as eligible for modifications under the terms of the NHRP.
• A six-month extension of the term of the NHRP program to December 31, 2012.
"The centerpiece of these enhancements is a program of earned principal forgiveness that addresses severely underwater mortgages with some of the highest rates of delinquency – specifically subprime loans, Pay-Option ARMs and prime two-year hybrid ARMs that are 60 days or more delinquent with a principal balance of 120 percent or more," said Barbara Desoer, president of Bank of America Home Loans.

"At the same time earned principal forgiveness helps homeowners, it also recognizes and addresses the interests of mortgage investors by ensuring that forgiveness is tied to the homeowner's performance, reducing the probability of a future default under the modified terms, and adjusting the total amount to be forgiven in light of any gains in property values that might occur in an economic recovery."
Earned Principal Forgiveness

Bank of America is taking an innovative "earned principal forgiveness" approach to HAMP modifications of the NHRP-qualifying mortgages that are at least 60 days delinquent with current loan-to-value (LTV) ratios of 120 percent or higher.
• An interest-free forbearance of principal that the homeowner can turn into forgiven principal over five years resulting in a maximum 30 percent decrease in the loan principal balance to as low as 100 percent LTV.
• In each of the first five years, up to 20 percent of the forborne amount will be forgiven annually for borrowers that remain in good standing on their mortgage payments.
• Forgiveness installments for the first three years are set at the 20 percent level.
• In the fourth and fifth years, the amount of forgiveness will be dependent upon the updated value of the property, so that the LTV will not be reduced below 100 percent through principal forgiveness.
This solution will be considered when it provides a more positive outcome under the net present value test than under the standard HAMP guidelines.

Innovative Solutions for Customers with Pay-Option ARMs

Bank of America has begun offering two other affordable and sustainable payment solutions on certain Pay-Option ARMs.
• If the principal balance on the loan has grown because the borrower selected an option to make payments that did not cover the interest due and this payment difference was added to principal – known as negative amortization – the bank will consider offering a HAMP modification eliminating the negative amortization feature and forgiving all or part of the negative amortization amount to reduce principal to as low as 95 percent LTV.
• If a pending recast of a Pay-Option ARM will increase the customer's monthly payments, a preemptive modification that eliminates the negative amortization feature of the mortgage and converts it to a fully amortizing market rate loan may be offered.
The bank estimates that it will be able to offer these enhanced principal reduction solutions to about 45,000 customers who qualify for a HAMP modification, for an estimated $3 billion in total reduced principal offered under this NHRP enhancement.