Notary Bulletin HAMP, HARP Mortgage Assistance Programs Extended Through 2016 By Michael Lewis on July 08, 2014 in Mortgage Finance & Economic News Financially strapped homeowners in need of mortgage relief are getting more time to take advantage of the federal government’s HAMP and HARP initiatives. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew recently announced that both programs are being extended for a second time — until December 31, 2016. Since its inception in April 2009, HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) has helped more than 3.1 million homeowners refinance their mortgages. The program is specifically set up to assist people whose homes have lost value, particularly those who owe more than their homes are worth — the so-called “underwater mortgages”. In the first quarter of 2014, HARP loans accounted for 23 percent of all refinanced mortgages. HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) is designed to help homeowners who cannot afford their current mortgages by arranging loan modifications. To date, the program has arranged more than 1.3 million permanent loan modifications. Both programs were initially slated to end on December 31, 2013. Last year the federal government announced a first extension through 2015. The announcement comes as foreclosures continue to decline. Total foreclosure activity in May fell to its lowest level since the boom days in 2005, according to online foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac. Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association. Email Share CommentsAdd your commenthopefloats111 Jul 2014Mr Reed - I figured out what was wrong with these folks - they are not perfect like us. Or the lending instutions or the folks who drove the economy into the dirt. But, hey, lets jump on the small frys.Cheryl11 Jul 2014Herbert, See my previous post. But if I were you, I'd contact NACA or go to one of the events put on by banks or groups like NACA. If you are going into your local branch, the chances are you are talking to a regular banker who knows refis and home purchase loans. You need to call your bank's loss mitigation customer service area. These are the folks who can talk to you about all your options. Everyone's situation is different and there is no silver bullet for some folks, but there are people out there trying to help.Cheryl11 Jul 2014Sher, rolling two loans into one would be a straight refi and there are no government plans for that. You have to have enough equity, a low enough debt service ratio, and a good credit rating. Georgette - that is the HARP plan. If your only issue was the value of your home - you were making your payments and had good credit, you could apply for a HARP. You don't even have to be underwater. HAMP is (basically speaking) for folks who are barely treading water or have started to drown. You still have to be able to make the payments for the new loan. This is where folks don't seem to understand why they aren't getting a loan. While all the various products can help, none of them is a free ride. You have to be able to make the payments. This means that you have to be pulling in more than will go out, even with the new rates and payments. Some people just can't. This is when, no matter how hard it hurts your pride, you need to go to a bankruptcy attorney and get advice. At least go to a non-profit credit counseling service. A lot of folks will let a mortgage slide to pay credit cards, others will pay the first and ignore the second etc. You need to get budget help because whichever debt you are kicking down the road - it will come back to bite.Jim Reed10 Jul 2014Mr. Fields, You decided to take out that adjustable rate on that home you bought. Take responsibility for that (where all adults here). I can't figure how you did a refi in 2010, when you bought in 2006 (Peek of the market), when you would have very little, if no equity. I get it, with the refi you did in 2010, you TOOK OUT MONEY, for fun and games, and now you want good OLD GOV to bale you out. I you got three options, Keep paying your mortgage until your equity increases and your not upside down, or do a ShortSale, or walk away.Gerogette10 Jul 2014What bank refinances the property because the home owner wants to reduce their interest rate and they actually pay their mortgage on time but cant get the property value.Sher10 Jul 2014I sure would like to know how people are taking advantage of this. We tried every which way to get our 1st and second just rolled into ONE loan and can't do it. We are self employed, as one must be these days to keep your job, and evidently that means that we qualify for NOTHING. I am so sick of hearing about how mortgage holders are getting government help, as we need it but it sure isn't there from what we have seen!!Lynn Cisneros10 Jul 2014I wholeheartedly agree, Herbert!Pat Kearney10 Jul 2014Good newsHerbert B. Fields10 Jul 2014What good is this program for people like me who bought their home back in 2006 and had to settle for an adjustable rate mortgage. I had to refinance in March 2010 to get a fixed rate. This was a regular refi, and was not part of any program. Now I am upside down with my home and no one will help because of when I did the the refinance. I believe if it is Government Money and they truly want to help people in need,then they should let anyone that is need use the programs.Leave a Comment Required * Name * Email *(for verfication purposes only) Comment * Enter the text shown in this image *(text is case sensitive)All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.