Survey of Housing Counselors About HAMP

U.S. Government Accountability Office

  Introduction and Instructions:
 
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  Thank you in advance for taking the time to share this information with GAO. We understand that borrowers have a range of experiences with HAMP, but please respond to the questions with the experience of the typical borrower in mind. Unless stated otherwise, please include your experiences with borrowers since June 1, 2010, when servicers were required to evaluate borrowers for HAMP with verified, rather than stated, income.
 
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  This survey is divided into seven sections and is primarily composed of multiple choice, close-ended questions. A few questions are open-ended, and there is a space provided for you to type in your answer. This survey should take about 20 minutes to complete. In our report to Congress, we will generally use only the aggregated results of this survey. While we may use individual responses, we will do so in a manner designed to ensure that individual respondents, or servicers identified by individual respondents, cannot be identified. Further, GAO will not otherwise release individually identifiable versions of responses unless required by law or requested by a member of Congress. Thank you for your participation.
 
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I. Counselor Background Information

1.  How many months have you been performing foreclosure counseling?
  Months
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2.  Have you been performing foreclosure counseling for less than 3 months?
(Select one.)
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3.
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3.  Approximately how many borrowers have you counseled in-depth on HAMP-related matters since June 1, 2010? (Please do not include borrowers who have contacted you to only ask general questions on HAMP.)
(Select one.)
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4.  How many months have you been performing HAMP counseling?
  Months
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5.  Approximately what percent of all borrowers you counseled in-depth since June 1, 2010 would you consider to be those you counseled on HAMP? (Provide whole percent up to 99)
 %
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6.  How has your volume of HAMP-related borrowers changed since
June 1, 2010?
(Select one.)
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4.
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7.  Under which of the following counseling organizations or agencies do you work?
(Select one.)
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4.
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  What is the abbreviation of the state in which your work site is located (e.g., CA, VA)?
  State Abbreviation
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8.  What is the primary geographic coverage of the borrowers that you counsel?
(Select one.)
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9.  Do you primarily spend most of your time counseling borrowers by telephone or face-to-face (exclude initial small group sessions)?
(Select one.)
1.
2.
3.
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II. General Borrower Experiences

10.  Think of the typical HAMP borrowers you have worked with since June 1, 2010. Then, rank the three most common reasons or issues for which borrowers have contacted you about HAMP based on frequency of contact. (Enter the letter of the most frequent reason first, second most next, third last -- after the "Other" specify box.)

a. Questions about HAMP program or application
b. Difficulty contacting servicer about HAMP
c. Borrower has difficulty submitting income documentation (cannot
     locate required documents, etc.)
d. Servicer claims to have lost HAMP application documentation
e. Servicer misapplying guidelines
f. Borrower feels s/he was wrongly denied HAMP
g. Borrower has been in HAMP trial modification for
    more than 3 months
h. Servicer referred a loan to foreclosure during HAMP application
    process
i. Servicer scheduled or conducted a foreclosure sale during HAMP
    application process
j. High back-end DTI borrowers requiring counseling
k. Other
 
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  If Other, please specify:
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  a. Most frequent reason
 
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  b. Second most frequent
 
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  c. Third most frequent
 
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11.  Please think about the borrower's experience with HAMP -- from the time they first inquire about HAMP to the point at which they receive a decision about whether or not they are offered a HAMP trial modification. Based on your experience as a housing counselor, how would you characterize the borrower's overall experience with HAMP?
(Select one.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
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  Please provide a brief explanation:
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III. Trial Modifications

12.  In your experience, typically how long does it take for borrowers to receive a decision about a HAMP trial modification from the time the borrower requests a HAMP evaluation?
(Select one.)
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7.
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13.  Does the length of time to receive a decision about a HAMP trial modification differ based on whether the borrower has been denied or offered a HAMP trial modification?
(Select one.)
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2.
3.
4.
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14.  Based on your experience, please rank the three principal reasons for servicers taking longer than 30 days to provide borrowers with a decision about whether or not they have been offered a HAMP trial modification. (Enter the letter of the highest ranked reason first, second most next, third last -- after the "Other" specify box.)

a. Borrower reports having difficulty providing
     servicer with required information
b. Borrower reports that servicer has asked for
     updated financial information
c. Borrower's application is complete, but borrower reports
     servicer has lost documentation
d. Servicer informed borrower/counselor that it has a backlog
     of HAMP applications
e. Waiting for results of NPV test
f. Servicer has not heard from investor on whether or not
     they approved the modification
g. Other
 
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  If Other, please specify:
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  a. highest ranked reason
 
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  b. second highest ranked
 
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  c. third ranked
 
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15.  In your experience, how long are borrowers typically in trial modifications before receiving a decision about conversion to a permanent modification?
(Select one.)
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16.  In your experience, what is the primary reason for trial modifications lasting longer than 3 months before conversion to a HAMP permanent modification?
(Select one.)
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4.
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6.
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  If Other, please specify:
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17.  One of the most common reasons for trial modification cancellations is insufficient documentation. Please rank the three principal challenges borrowers face in providing the required documentation. (Enter the letter of the highest ranked challenge first, second most next, third last -- after the "Other" specify box.)

a. Borrowers could not provide exact documentation because
     the requirements were too rigid
b. Borrowers did not know how to obtain
     the required documentation
c. Documentation provided was not supportive of the stated income
     used in the HAMP trial modification application
d. Servicer lost the borrower's documentation
e. Servicer continues to request borrower's
     updated financial documentation
f. Other
 
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  If Other, please specify:
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  a. highest ranked challenge
 
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  b. second highest ranked
 
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  c. third ranked
 
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IV. Proprietary Modifications

18.  Since June 1, 2010, how often does a borrower discuss with you that they were offered a non-HAMP loan modification by a servicer before being evaluated for a HAMP loan modification?
(Select one.)
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19.  In your experience, how do effective non-HAMP (proprietary) loan modifications differ from HAMP modifications? Please rank the three principal differences, if any. (Enter the letter of the highest ranked difference first, second most next, third last -- after the "Other" specify box.)

a. Target back-end DTI
b. Assist borrowers with front-end DTI lower than 31 percent
c. More likely to offer principal reductions
d. Fewer occupancy and property restrictions
e. Higher threshold for unpaid principal balance
f. Other
 
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  If Other, please specify:
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  a. highest ranked difference
 
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  b. second ranked
 
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  c. third ranked
 
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20.  Please provide one example of an "effective" and an "ineffective" non-HAMP (proprietary) loan modification -- including the characteristics of the modifications that made them effective or ineffective, and the servicer that offered them:
 
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  An "Effective" example:
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  An "Ineffective" example:
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V. HAMP Denials of Trial Modifications

21.  One reason for HAMP denials of requests for loan modifications has been that borrowers were ineligible because their front-end DTI was already below 31 percent. How often has this been true of the borrowers you have counseled?
(Select one.)
1. (Skip to question 22)
2. (Skip to question 22)
3. (Skip to question 24)
4. (Skip to question 24)
5.
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22.  If you answered "Often" or "Sometimes" in the previous question, were there concerns about how the servicer calculated the borrower's gross monthly income for those denied a HAMP modification because their DTI was already below 31 percent?
(Select one.)
1. (Skip to question 23)
2. (Skip to question 24)
3.
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23.  If you answered "YES" in the previous question, please rank the three principal concerns with how the servicer calculated the borrower's gross monthly income. (Enter the letter of the highest ranked concern first, second most next, third last -- after the "Other" specify box.)

a. Concerns about including one or more non-borrower
     (non-co-signers) incomes in the income calculation
b. Miscalculation of self-employment income
c. Concerns with unemployment and other benefit program
     income inclusion
d. Miscalculating annual income (e.g., confusing bi-weekly,
     semi-monthly, and weekly pay)
e. Miscalculation of overtime pay
f. Other
 
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  If you answered "Other", please specify:
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  a. highest ranked concern
 
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  b. second ranked
 
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  c. third ranked
 
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  (Optional) Please provide more detail about the highest ranked concern:
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VI. HAMP Solution Center

24.  Since June 1, 2010, about how many complaints have you referred to the HAMP Solution Center?
(Select one.)
1. (Skip to question 28)
2.
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6.
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25.  Roughly, what percentage of your clients seeking HAMP modifications does this represent? (Provide whole percent up to 99)
 %
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26.  How has the number of complaints you have referred to the HAMP Solution Center changed since June 1, 2010?
(Select one.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
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  Please explain any increase or decrease:
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27.  In your experience, how effective has the HAMP Solution Center been in resolving borrower complaints concerning HAMP denials and cancellations?
(Select one.)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
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  Please provide a brief explanation if you would like:
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VII. Ways Treasury Could Improve HAMP

28.  Based on your experience with HAMP, please rank the three actions Treasury could take to improve the rate of successful modifications (both converting to permanent HAMP modifications and maintaining monthly payments). (Enter the letter of the highest ranked action first, second most next, third last -- after the "Other" specify box.)

a. Target back-end DTI
b. Release of NPV model (e.g., more insight into
     what NPV test results are based on)
c. Strengthen escalation process
d. Require more training for servicer representatives
e. Enforce sanctions on servicers for not complying with guidelines
     (e.g., misinterpreting guidelines, taking longer than specified time)
f. Ensure that servicers work with borrowers who are not yet 60 days
     delinquent (borrowers in imminent default)
g. Require servicers to make more timely decisions
h. Require servicers to send HAMP applicants a clear explanation of
     how income is calculated under HAMP guidelines
i. Other
 
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  If Other, please specify:
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  a. highest ranked action
 
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  b. second ranked
 
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  c. third ranked
 
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