Evaluating Progress of TARP Foreclosure Mitigation Programs
The Congressional Oversight Panel's April oversight report, "Evaluating Progress of TARP Foreclosure Mitigation Programs," commends recent changes to the mortgage modification program designed to reach more homeowners, but finds that Treasury is still struggling to get its foreclosure programs off the ground even as the crisis continues unabated.
Since the Panel's last examination of foreclosure mitigation efforts in October 2009, Treasury has taken steps to address concerns that the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) did not adequately address foreclosures caused by unemployment or negative equity, including by establishing a voluntary principal reduction program. Despite these and other efforts, foreclosures continue at a rapid pace. In 2009, 2.8 million homeowners received a foreclosure notice, and nearly one in four homeowners with a mortgage currently has negative equity. While housing prices have begun to stabilize in many regions, home values in several metropolitan areas continue to fall sharply.
The Panel finds that "Treasury's response continues to lag well behind the pace of the crisis" and that, even when HAMP is fully operational, they "will not reach the overwhelming majority of homeowners in trouble." The report raises specific concerns about the timeliness, sustainability, and accountability of Treasury's foreclosure programs.