Harp 2.0 – Making Home Affordable Refinance Program – Valiant Enough Effort?

Making Home Affordable Refinance Program

Many homeowners have been inquiring about how the new “Making Home Affordable Refinance Program”, also known as “HARP 2.0”, can benefit them.  So what can Making Home Affordable do for you?  In short, this newer version improves on the initial HARP program by removing the 125% LTV limitation.  However, there don’t seem to be any of the “big banks” who are servicing the majority of the country’s existing mortgages stepping up and actually adopting these new capabilities, unless that is, you already have your loan with them.

Making Home Affordable Refinance Program – Who gets access and it enough?

making home affordable refinance

There are a few key requirements to qualify for the Making Home Affordable Refinance program.  First, your loan must currently be insured by by Fannie or Freddie and it must have been insured by them on or before 5/31/09.  Next, you must still qualify, though with somewhat looser guidelines, for this transaction just like any refinance.  Every lender is different and has come up with their own interpretation and “credit overlays” on what the government has set as the bar.  This is outlined in the next section:

Making Home Affordable Refinance – The Big Banks Credit Overlays:

Just when we thought the Government was doing some real good and stepped up with this more aggressive refinance program, we now have to deal with the stubborn “big banks” who are refusing to also take similar necessary measures to help the regular folks in this time of need.  Specifically, the “big banks” profit wildly by servicing the millions of loans that they do.  To help keep as many customer in their camp as possible, the big banks are refusing to allow you the choice of shopping around for the best deal on your HARP refinance by restricting the “unlimited LTV” capability to their one bank.  In a plain terms example:  under the Bank of America Making Home Affordable Refinance program, you can only enjoy the unlimited LTV feature of the program if you stay with Bank of America.  What does this do?  This means they can charge whatever rate they want and as long as its a bit lower than what you have now, you’ll probably accept it.  This completely takes away the competitive “open market” mentality that makes shopping for any type of lower rate work.  Similarly, if you’re with Wells Fargo, you can only enjoy the full benefits of the new program if you stay with Wells Fargo.  The same goes for Chase customers, PNC, etc.

When you compare mortgage rates for a “Making Home Affordable refinance”, the first question should be, can this lend actually do this deal given my property’s current LTV?  Don’t wast your time.  Ask if they have LTV restrictions first, and then get into the rate talks.

Making Home Affordable Refinance: What does this show us about Government help/intervention?

I’m sure there will be many homeowners who take advantage of the newer Making Home Affordable Refinance program, but with all of the “big banks” credit overlays, is this real help, or just a way for the banks to further increase their profits with all this fan fair and retain customers?  Only time will tell, but I think it will take the Government stepping in to force the big banks to really open things up for this to have any widespread benefit.

Author Joe Karns is sales and marketing leader and master of the Making Home Affordable Refinance, is dedicated to bringing his subscribers relevant and useful information. Want a free mortgage checkup? Check out Joe Karns at the following link for more a FREE refinance consultation and expert advice on finding the Best Refinance Lenders. Or, click here for a free quote on Making Home Affordable Refinance.

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