Grading The Treasury’s HAMP Reporting

Written by John Clapp
on January 21, 2010 No Comments
Categories : Blog View

BLOG VIEW: Is it me, or is the Treasury Department's monthly reporting of HAMP statistics, and all the punditry it brings, starting to feel a little too routine, a little too predictable?

Each month, one of the program's megaservicers is the first to break the ice, announcing its own HAMP results in advance of the Treasury report. Whether this strategy is in the interest of increased transparency or in the hope that the servicer's results will soon be forgotten, overshadowed by the Treasury's official numbers, is unknown. But it happens every time.

Then, usually a day later, the Treasury issues its report card, which features more graphs, charts, bells and whistles each time out. January's edition, for example, included a new graph that revealed curtailment of income as the most common reason borrowers sought modifications.

Unfortunately, equally predictable is the continual obscuring of modification figures.

Or, as law professor Alan White put it in his Consumer Law & Policy blog last week: "Treasury tries to mask the sad reality by reporting only cumulative numbers each month, rather than giving a more honest report of month-by-month numbers, requiring those of us who care about what is actually happening to do some arithmetic to get at the truth."

Also disappointing is the most recent report's complete lack of servicers' operational metrics. Previously, the Treasury's Herbert Allison stated these metrics – hold times, response times, etc. – would be included in the January report. His talk was tough.

"We're putting [servicers] on notice," he told a House committee last month. "We will�be publicly outspoken about who's performing well and who's not."

Come Jan. 15, however, no operational metrics were to be found.

Much like the program it covers, the monthly HAMP report under-delivers on big promises.

– John Clapp, editor, Servicing Management

(Please address all comments regarding this opinion column to clappj@sm-online.com.)

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