A credit rating agency says that between 65%-75% of HAMP loans are likely to go bad as borrowers continue to struggle with increasing debt.

The Fitch Ratings report said that on average, HAMP-modified borrowers have 64% of their monthly pretax income already committed to existing debt, and have no cash reserves to deal with an unforeseen emergency or expense.

When the borrowers default again, lenders often offer them foreclosure alternatives like a short sale rather than a second loan modification.

From an article at CNNMoney.com:

Currently, according to the Fitch report, about half of prime borrowers who lose their homes now do so through foreclosure.

The other 50% go through short sales, in which they sell their homes for less than what they owe the bank, or deed-in-lieu, a transaction where the bank takes back the property directly and forgives the outstanding balance.

The servicers have been encouraged to rev up their short sale engines by the Treasury Department, which runs HAMP and its sister program, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA), which provides cash incentives to the parties who agree to short sales..

Now, when borrowers re-default on HAMP mods or other bank workouts, banks are much more likely to offer help to execute a short sale or deed-in-lieu.

“HAFA gave the servicers an indication that this is where they should take these [re-defaulting loans],” said Pendley. “The banks are now assisting borrowers; they’re being much more proactive, like helping them find real estate brokers for short sales.”

The benefit of these transactions for borrowers is that it lets them move on more quickly with their lives. They can get out from under the unaffordable mortgage payments, find a cheaper rental, start to, perhaps, save a little cash and start to rebuild their credit scores.

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