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Press Release
Statement of New York Superintendent of Banks Richard H. Neiman
Another 91,000 HAMP Trial Modifications Canceled in June; Concerns Raised That Hundreds of Thousands of Homeowners May be Left Worse Off

July 20, 2010

New York, N.Y.: Richard H. Neiman, Superintendent of Banks for New York State, expressed concerns today that 91,118 Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) trial modifications were canceled, according to the latest Servicer Performance Report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“The ever-increasing number of homeowners being pushed out of HAMP does, and should, raise serious questions about whether these cancellations are being properly processed by servicers or if they continue to be plagued by the same documentation mistakes that we have seen in the past.”

“With servicers now required to gather all documentation upfront, before any mortgage modification can be made, these types of mistakes now threaten to keep deserving homeowners that might otherwise qualify out of the program, and unable to receive the relief of reduced payments. HAMP cannot be effective if borrowers are so hampered by servicer miscommunications about what should be a standardized qualification process.”

"Fortunately, today’s HAMP report from Treasury also includes some progress in transparency, with breakdowns for the largest eight servicers on the current status of these canceled modifications and new data on how servicers are handling consumer calls.  Although this improvement is a great step forward in getting needed information to help homeowners, it is not enough.”

“We cannot rely solely on servicers and hotlines to address the growing needs and concerns of borrowers – whether it’s homeowners that have just applied to the program or those whose trial periods have ended. That is why I, along with others such as Sens. Franken and Snowe, have been calling for the creation of a dedicated Office of the Homeowner Advocate within the Treasury Department.”

“Such an independent office would be able to counteract the unresponsiveness of mortgage servicers prior to and during mortgage modifications.  It would be able to help those who feel they have been incorrectly pushed out of trial modifications after months of making timely payments, or feel they are now unfairly charged with sudden lump sum payments and exorbitant late fees.”

“The time is long overdue to make mortgage modifications work.”

The New York State Banking Department is the regulator for all state-chartered banking institutions, virtually all of the United States offices of international banking institutions, all of the State’s mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, check cashers, money transmitters and budget planners. The aggregate assets of the depository institutions supervised by the Banking Department are more than $2.4 trillion.

In addition to regulating banking institutions, the Banking Department is active in informing and educating all New Yorkers on banking matters. To contact the Banking Department, please call 1-877-BANK-NYS or visit our Web site at www.dfs.ny.gov.