Monday, August 3, 2009

Mortgage Servicers Have Incentives Not to Modify Loans, Not to Approve Short Sales and Not to Foreclose (At Least for Quite a While)

According to this New York Times article, Lucrative Fees May Deter Efforts to Alter Loans, mortgage servicers make more money by charging late fees, legal fees, insurance fees, etc. than they would by offering the home owner a loan modification (i.e such as Making Home Affordable), approving a short sale or even foreclosing. Therefore, many homes will sit in limbo for many months even when the current owner is several months behind in their mortgage payments, but could pay a lower payment, or even if there is a buyer willing to buy the home. Apparently, the longer the loan is delinquent the more the mortgage servicer stands to profit. Of course, during this time the home is likely being neglected, which will ultimately result in the home being worth less when it ultimately sells. Since the mortgage servicer does not own the loan they are not losing any money and do not really care. According to the article, in June 2009 nearly 3,000,000 homeowners were 90+ days delinquent on their home loans (up from 1,800,000 in June 2008), but the number of homes taken back by the banks decreased to 245,000 (from 333,000 in June 2008). This goes hand in hand with what I wrote in earlier blog posts, More Evidence Banks Are Holding Back Foreclosures and Government Meddling and Banks' Incompetence Will Cause More Home Price Declines, where I stated that banks are not openly selling anywhere near number of true foreclosures. The number of seriously delinquent loans continues to grow. These loans should be modified or the properties should be sold via short sale or foreclosure. Instead, the mortgage servicers are just letting them fester. Of course, they will eventually have to be dealt with on way or the other. Most likely this will be via foreclosure after the owners just give up and move on.