What does 2014 have in store for the HARP Mortgage Program?
A new director at the helm of the FHFA, new changes could be just around the corner. With a final vote of 57 – 41 Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) has been confirmed as the new director of the FHFA. Watt who has been on the House Financial Services Committee for two decades now, was Presidents Obama’s choice to replace former director Edward Demarco. Demarco who has continuously butted heads with the administration passed fee increases on the eve of his ousting for states that have strong anti-foreclosure laws (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida). Demarco even opposed allowing lenders to sell foreclosed homes back to the previous owners, even if they had been victims of predatory loans and made the best offer to purchase the house.
So what does the appointment of Mel Watt mean for homeowners and HARP? Principal forgiveness for underwater homeowners has been favored by Watt and fellow Democrats as a way to help boost the economy and housing market. This is obviously not an option that banks are thrilled about. But with the FHFA controlling the housing giants Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac (which provided 90% of new mortgages) the banks will have to tread lightly.
With new leadership, the expansion of the HARP Mortgage program looks promising for 2014. With nearly 10 million homeowners still underwater the HARP mortgage program still has an obvious need.