Make Harp 3.0 Happen

Advocating for The Expansion of the Home Affordable Refinance Program

Why is HARP 3.0 Stalled?

On January 24, 2012 President Obama delivered his State of The Union Address in which he expressed his desire to launch a broad expansion of home refinance policy that would benefit all responsible underwater home owners. A few days later The White House issued this press release outlining the plan. The White House created the following web site to inform the public and help gain support: http://www.whitehouse.gov/refi. The effort has been referred to in social media circles as #myrefi. Those in the housing industry refer to the initiative as HARP 3.0. At the President’s beckoning legislators in both the House and Senate drafted Bills to make HARP 3.0 a reality. Those Bills are as follows:

It is now a year later and we are no closer to HARP 3.0 becoming a reality than the day The President unveiled his plan. So what happened? First off, none of the proposed Bills made it out of committee for a vote on the floor of the chamber they originated in. Most were sent to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs where they languished. All of these Bills officially died when the 112th Congress ended on January 3, 2013. Secondly, The newly sworn in 113th Congress has not yet taken up any Bills to address home refinancing. The partisan divide in Congress has been too much to overcome. Meanwhile, other issues such as deficit reduction and gun control have trumped the priority of helping the more than 12 million underwater home owners. Despite the lack of new legislation, Congress is not needed for some types of HARP expansion. Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Edward DeMarco has power to make changes almost unilaterally for mortgages owned by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. There have been some rumblings that President Obama is going to fire DeMarco and put in a new guy more receptive to expanding HARP and HAMP. However that would set up a fight with Republicans who seem to like DeMarco. I am sure President Obama does not want to pick this fight now with Republicans while the debt ceiling and sequestration tax cuts are still being negotiated. Underwater home owners need to mobilize on the refinance issue in order to make HARP expansion a priority once again. That is why I am circulating this “We the People” petition: Make a formal request to the FHFA to eliminate the securitization cutoff date for HARP eligibility and allow re-HARPing. If we can get 25,000 people to sign the petition it will elicit a response from the President. In doing so it will help to kickstart the discussions in Washington to expand the Home Affordable Refinance Program. Maybe you are a cynic that doesn’t believe these types of petition can make a difference, but keep in mind that this is already a policy that The White House Administration supports. A little nudge to remind them that we are still Underwater and are running out of patience can only help.

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Updated: January 30, 2013 — 3:01 pm

33 Comments

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  1. We need to expand Harp to allow for non Freddie and Fannie mortgages to become eligible for refinancing. It is just not right that people are trapped in loans simply because they are not insured by Freddie and Fannie and their homes are underwater. Millions of people are literally trapped in their loans. The expansion needs to allow all responsible homeowners the opportunity to refi and release them from the 7 or 8 percent rates that will eventually force them to default. This is ridiculous that nothing has been done to stop this injustice being inflicted by banks.

    1. We have a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced about 2 years ago at 5.375%. We have always been on time with our payments. We can’t refinance because we don’t qualify for Harp because we were given that rate with a Harp. We don’t qualify for a lower refinance because we don’t have equity in the home that we bought in 2007. We are stuck with this rate and can’t better our situation. Our taxes, water, utilities, food, ect, have all increased but not our paycheck. Our credit cards are maxed out because of medical bills. ALL our bills increased yet not the paycheck to adjust for cost of living. I tried to see if the mortgage company can help by getting a lower rate, and they told me no, there is no way. Called the credit card companies to see if they could lower rates, got a “no” because we owe too much. Oddly, if we are in need of lower rates to continue paying on time, as we always have, they won’t work with us….but they said they will lower it for someone with less debt. Doesn’t make sense.

  2. I agree with everyone… I am an NON Fannie or Freddie Loan that is stuck at a 6% rate just because my value has tanked. I have A1 credit but can’t get a refi. The true “RESPONSIBLE” homeowners are the ones getting screwed. At some point these people will get fed up and just walk away. I mean, I can go the the neighborhood next to me and RENT a house a little bigger than what I am in now for about $400 less than I pay on my mortgage right now. No maintenece to deal with, so I would come out way better. I don’t want to ruin my credit but I also don’t want to keep throwing money in a black hole! I am 66,000 UNDERWATER! and stuck at a 6% rate just because my loan isn’t owned by Fannie or Freddie! Total B.S!!

    1. Feel lucky you are at 6%. I am at 7.25 because we bought in Aug of 07. My wife and I have 750+ credit scores and cant do anything. Can sell, cant refi, simply becuase our mortgage didn’t get picked up by the Fannie or Freddie?! How is that my fault!

  3. I too, a NON FNMA and FHA loan and have trouble of getting a refi. To get this economy going back in 2005, government should be able to help people like me to PASSED HARP 3.0. I am currently $150,000.00 underwater. Soooooo!! please help us, too!

  4. Add me and my husband to the regiment of underwater homeowners waiting for HARP 3.0! We followed all the rules, have never missed a payment or even paid late in the last NINE years…but we’re stuck in a townhouse we’re outgrowing and a neighborhood that’s declining because at least 20% of it went into foreclosure over the past five years. The end unit next door to us is a great example of why our house isn’t worth half what we paid: the a$$hats who moved into it in 2008 bragged to us one night about how they were planning to pack up and just walk out on their 300K mortgage. They gutted the house in the process leaving it in shambles, but then a nice girl came along many months later and bought it (for 118K) and her dad remodeled the house. So, here we are paying on our 260K mortgage for an interior unit that probably isn’t worth $120k and that needs a heck of a lot of work. We pay on time TWICE monthly and do our best to keep the house within HOA standards at all times, but we’re the ones being punished instead of the jerks like that family who walked out on their obligations and caused our home to lose half its value. I’m angry and frustrated as I’m sure many of you are too! Where is the help for those of us who’ve remained responsible through all this, even with a severely underwater mortgage and no equity?? WE NEED HARP 3.0!!!!

    1. There is certainly a need for a comprehensive expansion of HARP that includes those with non-GSE held loans. However, the cutoff date is just as problematic and affects more people. It is also easier to fix. The cutoff date requires no Congressional action to change it. Underwater homeowners need to support efforts on all fronts. HARP 3.0, if it comes to pass, likely will not be one piece of legislation or one policy change.

  5. My thought is that the big banks have asked congress to hold off on approving HARP 3.0 because they do not have the staff to support the refinance initiative. Refinance timeframes have been at 90 to 120 days over the past 3 years. The new initiative will allow all of those homeowners to refinance again causing processing delays in excess of 180 days to complete the refinance. One major bank has said they will double processing staff by May 2013. As soon as they give congress the thumbs up that they are ready you will see a bill approved.

    1. I don’t believe that is a real sticking point. The industry will adjust to the demand as needed when needed. Already banks are concerned with refinances slowing down. HARP in its current format is on the back 9. The real hang-ups from critics of HARP expansion are that it could negatively affect the delicate dynamics of the mortgage backed securities (MBS) markets which may cause rates to rise. The second issue is protecting those investors of mortgage backed securities that have pools of underwater loans. Those investors don’t want to see large numbers of loans in those pools paid off via refis. It benefits those investors if people stay stuck in higher interest loans.

    2. The banks would not be overloaded with requests for refinancing if they pass HARP 3.0. There are lots of mortgage companies that would LOVE to refinance those homes. If the bank takes too long then just call a mortgage company and we will do it in less than 30 days… max. If you need help refinancing and are in CA, OR, WA area feel free to call and we can look at your situation and at least eliminate possible options. Sean Gagnon 916 394 5822 ext.222

  6. listen most homeowners without a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed loan was able to apply for a loan mod under the National Mortgage Settlement or Hardest Hit Fund to receive principal reductions.

    many homeowners like myself with a fannie mae backed loan who is over 40% underwater has been unable to receive any help
    Fannie Mae refuses to participate in principal reduction much less refinance my home because we are severely underwater.

    so we all need help

    MR PRESIDENT do you hear your people screaming for help with their mortgages and homeownership !!!!

  7. It would be great to see HARP 3.0 passed to help many who are underwater on their homes but have been responsible in paying every month on time! My wife and I missed the cutoff date for HARP 2.0 by one month…

  8. It’s not fair to those of us who are stuck with high interest rates and underwater not to be able to refinance. I pay my mortgage on time and have a good credit score yet I’m being ripped off by the mortgage company. The price we pay for trying to do the right thing…

  9. The ones who have a loan that originated after 2009 are screwed as well. I want to refinance but since my loan originated after 2009, I am not allowed to refinance. I have excellent credit, I make my payments on time each month, and I put more toward the principle each month. My loan is even owned by Fannie Mae. This is ridiculous and not fair for people like me who have not done anything wrong!

  10. I’m in Stephanie’s boat above, with a twist.

    I refi’d in 3/2010 under HARP 1.0 and knocked a solid point off my 6.5 to 5.5 on my first. Who wouldn’t do that without having to do an appraisal with an underwater loan?

    Now, here I sit with my first at 5.5, my second at 8.39 (ugh!) which I used to employ Americans and reinvest in my property I had bought in 2004 by upgrading an outdated kitchen, putting in a roof, water heater, sump system etc.

    I’ve never missed a payment, am in no risk of losing my home and here I sit unable to consolidate these two loans into one much lower payment with a 3.75-4.25% new loan. I could use that extra money to employ more Americans by redoing my basement… or ‘gasp’ pay my mortgage off even quicker, but no….

    Mired in legislation catered to those who were struck with unforeseeable life events reached beyond their means.

  11. If you are responsible,trustworthy,dependable,and committed to always doing the right thing, there’s no help for you. But if I were to stop paying my mortgage and let it go into foreclosure, I would be given all kinds of opportunities to buy another home, and be forgiven my financial responsibility. I have seen it done by co-workers and friends. It’s really upsetting. Does it make us weak individuals, because we can’t just walk away from our mortgages like so many others? People who never should have been qualified for a home they couldn’t afford.

  12. Also in the same boat. I have a 6.7% rate on first and 8% rate on second. If I could combine both it would save me a TON. On paper the math works out correctly, I have good credit and income is solid and have been employed at same place for 18+ years and have never missed house payment in 12 yrs but until something like HARP 3.0 comes along, HSBC mortgage is not backed by fan or fred will still be overpaying for my house. I just want a level playing field.

    1. I will add my comments about HSBC. My loving Mortgage Holder who willing accepts and expects me to make my $1500 mortgage payment on time, which I have since they bought my Mortgage from someone else in 2006. On time! Every single month! Never late! But when I called HSBC to discuss a refinance to reduce my rate, I get the “canned response” “We are not currently offering refinance services to our customers”. WHAT!!! Oh, unless I am in distress and having problems making my payments, then I could talk to someone to see if I would qualify for a modification. I don’t need that. I need a straight up honest to goodness refinance with a lower rate. Preferrably with another lender at this point as I do not want to give my hard earned money to HSBC any longer than I have to. HARP 3.0 should be for all homeonwers! Why are some entitled and some are not is completely beyond me. We are all American Citizens who bought into the “Dream of being a Homeowner”… well, for me it’s become a nightmare!!!

  13. I am looking forward to Harp 3.0 coming to our rescue. I am with HSBC also at 6.7% rate. Rather than work with me they are
    trying to talk me into a short sale. Harp 3.0 would be such a blessing for us.

  14. We are also with HSBC with a 8% interest rate! They are awful to try and work with!! We are completely stuck unless Harp 3.0 included us with Non Fannie or Freddie backed loans! We have been waiting for Harp 3.0 to pass, its our only hope right now and if they do not include us in this Bill, we will not be able to stay in our home long term! Please Please give us all a chance to take advantage of the low interest rates so we can continue being responsible homeowners!

    1. I’m really astounded by how many of the comments on the site have been complaints about HSBC. You would think a company would care about their customers at least a little bit. Obviously not HSBC. Their complete lack of willingness to work out compromises with the responsible underwater homeowners they serve is shameful.

  15. We’re in similar straits.
    non freddy or fanny current loan and great credit.
    We even had an approved loan to refi until the appraisal showed us less than 50% of the value we bought at just over 5 years ago.
    We’re screwed and In an area of the country with 11+% unemployment.
    No relief in site.
    Wonder what Washington D.C. will do when we pay no more taxes?

  16. We definitely need to push this through. B of A and Wells Fargo both laughed at me when I tried to lower my payment $400/month with an 809 FICO score and a perfect 16 year payment record! WTF??

  17. Im stuck paying 8.79 % and $50,000 underwater. yet I can’t get anyone to refinance me because I have a private sector loan. HARP 3.0 is needed but I am sure the Banking industry will payoff a few congress man and we will get the shaft. I guess that’s the price of living in the United Corporate of America.

  18. My husband and I are in the same situation
    Not a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan
    Current on payments for 7 years
    Underwater by more then 50%
    Not eligible for HARP 2.0 or other programs

    Responsible homeowners need stand up for their rights. if enough of us used Social media, like You Tube, to go public with our concerns our voices would be heard a little louder. Petitions, emails are good but now it’s time to stand up for our rights. The banks created this mess, they have been bailed out with our money but who is helping us to recover from this mess? No one…so we need to help ourselves. I am working on my script to use on You Tube so I can be heard … What about you?

  19. I agree reponsible homeowners should have been included in Harp 2.0. Now we are still waiting for Harp 3.0 to be passed since being introduced in January 2012. This is ridiculous. I have credit scores of 800 plus. Non-deliquent in mortgage payments, which means my lender disqualifed me for HAMP. & they are not offering me any other help. My property appraised @ 265k, which I do not understand, seeing a simlilar property just sold @ 423k 12/2012. I owe 370k. My property appraised @ 450k in 2006. I understand the economy has changed, which is why we shouldn’t be held to the same rules to obtain a refi. I have written U.S. reps & senators on getting this bill passed to help responsible homeowners & I will definitely be calling their offices again & visiting their websites to forward my concerns. Contact info included if you reside in ILL. U.S. Representatives: 888-907-5171 Danny K. Davis; U.S. Senators: 888-907-8362 Dick Durbin/Mark Kirk

  20. We’re in the same boat. Excellent credit, never missed a mortgage payment, can’t get an appraisal to that works in our favor to save our lives. We have a hobby horse farm and had one appraisal that worked for us but the banks (who hired the appraiser) wouldn’t believe the appraiser so hired another one who came in $200K lower than the original appraisal – sorry no loan. So, how does that work? You (the bank) hires the appraiser but we PAY for, then you don’t believe the expert that you hired and won’t give us the loan because your appraiser (who I might add has been doing it for 25 years) couldn’t possibly be right?

    So fed up! I will be calling all IL Representatives in the AM. Wells Fargo and Guaranteed Rate (mortgage brokers) are crooks in my mind. Of course banks don’t want to lower rates for paying customers. If that’s the case then maybe our tax dollars need to be diverted to mortgage payments – let’s see how the government likes that? I bet we’d be in jail faster that you can say refinance! This is discrimination at it’s best!

  21. Come on HARP 3! A point that our “Leaders” don’t understand because they don’t have a our problem is as borrowers we did not choose Fannie/Freddie or otherwise. Thank your loan originator for that. Most of our loan originators have sold our loans to investors (they almost never keep them) and current lending guidelines don’t allow them to help us out of the mess they’ve gotten us into. It’s not that they don’t want to refi us…They do as they’ll make a few grand and then sell the loan so they can do it over and over again. A few grand x everybody= much more than 7-8% over 30 years. Some foreign investor has purchased our loan and it’s serviced by a company in the states most likely. The gov’t will (harp2) payoff the investor if the loan is Fannie/Freddie backed because it’s a conforming loan meaning well documented/low risk and easily resold. The nonFreddie/nonFannie loans might not be able to be resold due to higher risk. If the gov’t would get it’s head out of it’s **s and look it up they would realize there’s many more nonFreddie/nonFannie backed loans out there than there are conforming loans and we need help!

    In most cases we arn’t asking for a principle reduction (doesn’t happen very often anyway) and we have been making our payments on time from the beginning even though real estate is crashing all around us (which are “Leaders” and lenders caused) and all we are really asking is for TODAY’S FRICKIN INTEREST RATE!!

    We need to be heard NOW as I think our “Leaders” may not pass HARP3 because most markets are showing strong signs towards recovery and they may not want to spend the money on us. However, it’s my opinion that if HARP3 is not passed to help us then short sales in many markets will continue for a decade or so at elevated levels. Either we will sell our house as a short sale or we will be stuck with an interest rate about double of what we could have today. Let’s not let either of those happen.

    Karen, a hobby horse farm is a tough appraisal due to the wide range of comparable values. It may be to late now but I would have reviewed the comparables used in both appraisals and the adjustments made. Chances are your more familiar with the local country property in your neighborhood than the appraiser is. If an appraiser submits an appraisal that is rejected by the lender I would demand my money back or file a complaint. The appraiser will submit a report meeting the approval of the lender or give your money back. Promise.

  22. When we bought our home in 07 refinancing was in the plan from the start. We needed to sell off two paid for properties and put that money toward our main home which meant refinancing. Now we are like trapped rats as we are self employed, and have been told we can not refi. I applied at a 3.75 rate with Wells Fargo who laughed us out of the building after dragging us along 4 months. ( enough for the rates to go up 1%. This was despite never being late on any house payment in 37 years and having great credit. We invested money into our home to keep it above water, and in 3 years the payments will go way up. We had 10 years to refi and the last 7 have been impossible for self employed people. The moment the ink was dry on our loan, the bottom fell and through no fault of our own. WE NEED HARP 3 but also we need those rate buy downs left in place long enough to make use of HARP 3. Taking too long DC!!!!

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