Rep. Mike Turner questioned representatives from four of the largest mortgage loan servicers in the country about the effectiveness of the Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing to examine efforts by participating loan servicers to implement HAMP. The modification program commits funds to participating lenders in an effort to reduce mortgage payments of qualified borrowers in financial distress or who possess underwater mortgages.
Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District has been hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis. The region has averaged roughly 7,000 foreclosures each of the last three years; 3,311 have been initiated through the first of May, 2010.
The following is an excerpt from the opening statement:
“Now we have an absolute crisis and it is not over. I am from Montgomery County, Ohio, and the foreclosure rate is staggering in my community. Ohio has seen the foreclosures continue to mount. Clearly this needs to be addressed, not only by Treasury addressing the program and giving people real answer on its goals and objectives, but also by the financial institution. We cannot lose focus; the financial institutions got us in this mess. It was not a government created crisis. Their lending practices did not make sense, they did not make not sound business decisions, did not protect the banks, and did not protect capital investments.”
“The concern that I have when I look towards the Treasury and the financial institutions is that decisions are being made currently that do not protect capital. Every Member of Congress can tell you the realtors in their communities tell them it’s virtually impossible to get loan servicers, banks, and financial institutions to work with the home buyer to get a short sale or take other measures that would avoid foreclosure.”