Posted by Marcus on November 24th, 2013
I soon will launch a new feature on makeharp3happen.com that will highlight the struggles of folks that do not currently qualify for the Home Affordable Refinance Program. If you have been denied refinancing under HARP 2.0 and are desperately hoping for HARP 3.0 to rectify your situation then I want to hear from you. I want to post your story on this site. This is your chance to be heard. If you would like to participate here is what you have to do. Comment on this post with your name and your email address and indicate your willingness to participate. I’ll create a profile for you on makeharp3happen.com with contributor posting privileges. Once you can login to the site click the “Posts” tab on the left, then click “Add New”. Compose a 500-1000 word post describing your situation. Include as much of the following as you can:
- Why you can’t use HARP now
- Struggles caused by not being able to HARP
- Why you need HARP 3.0. How much it could save/help you. Include some details on your mortgage. What are the terms? Do you also have a second mortgage?
- Road blocks you’ve encountered such as your mortgage servicer, politicians, etc. Don’t be shy. I expect vitriol. Be pissed off.
- At least some personal info. First name and city and state at a minimum. If you want to include contact info and dare your mortgage servicer or a certain politician to contact you then have at it. Bonus points and reweets if you include your Twitter handle.
The plan is to publish 1 new story each week. The best written ones will go to the front of the line. Have fun with it. As always, thank you for your support.
Posted by Marcus on November 22nd, 2013
Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid imposed the “Nuclear Option” today to break the filibustering by Republicans on cloture of presidential nominees. The “Nuclear Option” is essentially a rule change that requires a simple majority to confirm judicial and executive nominees instead of a super majority. It now takes just 51 votes instead of 60 for confirmation. The controlling party, in this case the democrats, can now confirm the president’s nominations without any bipartisan support. This appears to clear the way for Mel Watt to become Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt was blocked from confirmation on October 31, 2013 when cloture was denied by a vote of 56-42. If Majority Leader Harry Reid calls for cloture again on Mel Watt’s FHFA nomination it would this time require just 51 votes. This could have a big impact on the HARP program. The FHFA oversees HARP and has authority to make some modifications to the program.
Posted by Marcus on November 3rd, 2013
I do a lot of searching online for information on the HARP program, HARP 3.0, and Underwater Homeowners. It saddens me the lack of true information people get. A Google search for “HARP 3.0″ yields 694,000 results. The vast majority are links to sites backed by mortgage industry professionals that declare that HARP 3.0 is coming. The information they are providing is either stale or highly speculative. These sites are more concerned about selling you on their services than they are about providing quality information. If you want the real scoop you need to come to MakeHarp3Happen.com. So without further ado, here is the real truth on the status of HARP 3. There has been no significant headway made this entire year toward rolling out a new version of HARP. Here is a recap of the status of HARP 3.0:
- Two pieces of HARP legislation were introduced this year. H.R. 736 and S. 249, both dubbed The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013, were introduced in their respective chambers of Congress back in February. Neither have made it past committee. This legislation has been idle for more than 8 months, and given the gridlock within this Congress there is little likelihood that they will be passed.
- President Obama nominated Representative Mel Watt to take over as Director of the FHFA in Late April. Mr. Watt is much more open to making changes to the HARP program that would benefit Underwater Homeowners than acting director Ed DeMarco. Watt was seen as a long shot of being confirmed due to Republican opposition. Republicans hold enough votes in the Senate to block the nomination. The Senate dragged their feet most of the Summer before finally Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed for a cloture vote on October 31st. Cloture was denied by a vote of 56-42 meaning more of the status quo from the FHFA.
Posted by Marcus on November 1st, 2013
President Obama’s nomination of Mel Watt as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency fell 4 votes shy of the 60 votes needed to push a Senate confirmation vote. The vote took place on Thursday, October 31st. Only two Republican Senators broke ranks, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Rob Portman of Ohio. Acting FHFA Director Ed DeMarco will remain in charge for the foreseeable future. This does note end Watt’s nomination. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could still push for an up/down confirmation vote at a later date. However time is running out. If Mel Watt is not confirmed soon he will likely pull himself from consideration and instead concentrate on a reelection bid next year for his seat in the House of Representatives.
Posted by Marcus on October 29th, 2013
Senate Democrats and the White House have made a renewed push to confirm Representative Mel Watt to take over the Directorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. A straight up or down vote by the Senate has been delayed for months as Democrats have failed gain enough support for a confirmation. On Monday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the procedural steps needed to bring the vote to the Senate floor later this week. 60 votes are required for confirmation but Democrats only hold 55 votes. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is the sole Republican to endorse Mr. Watt. Advisers for the White House have been meeting with noted real estate and finance professionals to gain industry endorsements to pressure Republicans into confirming the selection. If Mr. Watt is confirmed he will take over for Acting Director Ed DeMarco. DeMarco has repeatedly denied requests to make regulatory changes to aid underwater homeowners. To voice your support of Mel Watt’s confirmation call 866-200-6444 and urge your Senator to vote yes to confirm Mel Watt as Director of the FHFA.
Posted by Marcus on October 27th, 2013
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced a slight change to the HARP eligibility date that will benefit a small number of home owners. The eligibility date is now based on the date of the mortgage note. The date of eligibility remains May 31, 2009. Previously, home owners that closed on their loans prior to 5/31/2009 but had their loans sold to Fannie and Freddie after that date were not eligible for HARP. Now those homeowners will be eligible. This is a welcome change for those people that closed on loans in May of 2009. If you feel this benefits you call your lender immediately to reap a potentially huge savings.
Posted by Marcus on May 9th, 2013
- FHFA announced last month that the HARP Program would be extended through 2015, though if the program is not expanded it is hard to envision it helping very many people beyond this year.
- Mortgage Officials met with the White House in April at which time the Obama Administration continued to indicate its support for expanding HARP to private-label loans and extending the HARP eligibility date:
At this point talk is cheap. Underwater homeowners want to see a little less talk and a lot more action, however so far the Obama Administration has not been willing to flex the political muscle needed to make the changes necessary to bring HARP 3.0 to fruition.
- One positive piece of news is the nomination of Mel Watt to replace Ed Demarco as director of the FHFA. If Watt is confirmed it is conceivable he will lift restrictions such as the May 31, 2009 securitization cut off date for HARP eligibility.
- There is no update to pending HARP legislation. The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013, bills H.R. 736 and S. 249, continue to sit idle in chamber committees.
- The change.org petition to expand the Merkley Mortgage to other states is still active. Please sign the petition if you have not already done so.
Posted by Marcus on May 1st, 2013
President Obama has finally taken the action to oust Ed Demarco as head of the FHFA. Congressman Mel Watt, D-N.C. has been nominated for FHFA director. The choice is curious to say the least. The Senate must confirm the selections and this is a very partisan selection. Republicans are already criticizing the nomination and they have enough power to block the confirmation. Republicans previously blocked the selection of Joseph Smith who appeared to be a much more qualified candidate. Smith had experience as a Banking Regulator. Mel Watt does not. I want to see Ed Demarco ousted but I’m not real confident that the Mel Watt nomination will standup, and frankly I’m not overly impressed with his credentials to run such an important agency. I would have much preferred Mark Zandi or Ted Tozer who were also to be rumored as candidates for the position.
Posted by Marcus on April 11th, 2013
I keep getting asked if I will start a new petition. Well, here it is.
I can’t put nearly the effort in this one as I did the last. So it is up to all of you to make this happen. Here are the details:
U.S. Treasury and State Housing Agencies that disperse Hardest Hit Funds: Help Underwater Homeowners by Implementing the Merkley Mortgage
Refinancing can save thousands of dollars per month and prevent foreclosures for families underwater on their home loans. Millions of Americans are underwater and are unfortunately not eligible for existing programs such as HARP. The Rebuilding American Homeownership Assistance Pilot Project (aka. The Merkley Mortgage) expands on HARP by allowing people with non-Fannie and Freddie held loans to refinance. It would also allow refinancing for people that have been disqualified due to the arbitrary securitization cut-off date set by the FHFA.
And this is the letter/email that will be delivered:
The President of the United States
The U.S. Senate
Sen. Jeff Merkley, OR
Florida Housing Finance Corporation
Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority
alabama housing finance authority
Arizona Department of Housing
California Housing Finance Agency
Georgia Housing and Finance Authority
Illinois Housing Development Authority
Kentucky Housing Corporation
Michigan State Housing Development Authority
Mississippi Home Corporation
Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation
New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
North Carolina Housing Finance Agency
Ohio Housing Finance Agency
Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services
South Carolina State Housing and Development Authority
Tennessee Housing Development Agency
District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency
Millions of underwater homeowners stand to benefit by refinancing. Unfortunately, many are not eligible for the current programs such as HARP. Senator Merkley of Oregon has advanced the Rebuilding American Homeownership (RAH) plan using the U.S. Treasury TARP “Hardest Hit Funds” to serve as a more inclusive underwater refinance plan. The Merkley plan would equally benefit those with GSE backed loans and non-Fannie and non-Freddie backed loans . The plan is currently being piloted in Oregon’s Multnomah County. The RAH Pilot Program could serve as the template for assisting underwater homeowners in need of refinancing in your state. Please implement RAH using your allocated “Hardest Hit Funds”.
Posted by Marcus on March 19th, 2013
It has been rumored for some time that President Obama would like to replace interim FHFA Director Ed Demarco. Demarco has drawn the ire of the White House and Housing Advocacy Groups for his unwillingness to implement policies that would aid underwater homeowners. As director of the FHFA Demarco has almost sole authority over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For one reason or another Demarco has managed to retain his post for more than 3 years despite clear opposition to his policies from the White House Administration and the U.S. Treasury. There is mounting pressure for the President to appoint a new permanent FHFA director. Last month 45 Democratic Congressmen signed a letter urging the President to replace Demarco. Yesterday Attorney Generals from 9 different states also signed a letter requesting the President to fire Ed Demarco. One of the major reasons Demarco has retained his position is that he is well regarded by Republicans. Under Demarco’s watch the balance sheets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been stabilized. There is no question that Demarco has improved the bottom line of Fannie and Freddie with his risk averse policies. However, that has come at a great opportunity cost. Millions of American homeowners remain underwater and countless numbers of foreclosures could have been prevented if Demarco had been willing to allow targeted principal reductions and less restrictive limitations on HARP refinances. Replacing Demarco will require Senate confirmation of a new appointee which will prove difficult to attain given Republican opposition. However a path of least opposition exists; make a recess appointment of a new FHFA director during the Congressional Easter Recess. Congress will be on recess from March 25 thru April 5. No confirmation would be needed during a recess appointment. There is pending litigation concerning the constitutionality of recess appointments, however it will take time for those rulings and appeals to fully play out. In the mean time Demarco would be gone and a new FHFA director that is willing to implement policies that actually help underwater homeowners would be in place. Here’s hoping that President Obama doesn’t miss on this Easter opportunity to fire Ed Demarco.