Survey of Housing Counselors About HAMP

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Contents

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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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To learn more about navigating, exiting, and printing the survey, please click here.

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I. Counselor Background Information

1. How many months have you been performing foreclosure counseling?

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Mean Median Minimum Maximum Number
of respondents
35.8 29 3 99 394

2. Have you been performing foreclosure counseling for less than 3 months?

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Did not answer question YES - STOP! We are interested in having counselors with at least 3 months of experience complete the survey. Thank you for being willing to participate. Please click the EXIT BUTTON at the bottom of this window to exit. NO No response Number of respondents
% % % %
0.0 0.0 99.7 0.3 396

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.)

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Did not answer question 0-5 borrowers - STOP! 6-25 borrowers 26-50 borrowers 51-75 borrowers 76-100 borrowers More than 100 borrowers No response Number of respon
-dents
% % % % % % % %
0.0 0.0 25.0 21.2 15.9 9.1 28.0 0.8 396

4. How many months have you been performing HAMP counseling?

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Mean Median Minimum Maximum Number
of respondents
16.1 17 3 48 392

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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Mean Median Minimum Maximum Number
of respondents
75.5 80 1 99 393

6. How has your volume of HAMP-related borrowers changed since
June 1, 2010?

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Did not answer
question
Increased
Stayed the Same
Decreased
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % %
0.0 37.2 48.9 12.7 1.3 393

7. Under which of the following counseling organizations or agencies do you work?

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Did not answer
question
NeighborWorks Organization
State Housing Finance
Agency
HUD Approved Housing
Counseling Agency
No response

Number of respondents
% % % % %
0.0 17.6 6.9 74.7 0.8 392

What is the abbreviation of the state in which your work site is located (e.g., CA, VA)?

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  %
AK 0.3
AL 1.5
AR 0.3
AZ 9.7
CA 7.4
CO 3.6
CT 0.5
DC 0.8
DE 1.5
FL 2.8
GA 1.8
HI 0.3
IA 1.8
ID 1.0
IL 10.0
IN 2.6
KS 0.5
KY 1.0
LA 1.0
MA 3.3
MD 3.8
ME 0.3
MI 2.6
MN 4.1
MO 1.8
MS 0.3
MT 0.8
NC 1.8
NE 1.0
NH 0.5
NJ 1.3
NM 0.3
NV 0.5
NY 4.9
OH 3.3
OR 2.1
PA 6.7
RI 0.3
SC 0.5
SD 0.3
TN 1.3
TX 2.8
UT 0.8
VA 1.5
VT 0.5
WA 1.5
WI 2.6
WV 0.3

8. What is the primary geographic coverage of the borrowers that you counsel?

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Did not answer
question
City
One County
Several Counties
Statewide
Nationwide
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % % % %
0.0 7.1 20.4 49.4 18.8 4.3 0.0 393

9. Do you primarily spend most of your time counseling borrowers by telephone or face-to-face (exclude initial small group sessions)?

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Did not answer
question
Telephone
Face-to-face
No response
Number of respondents
% % % %
0.0 28.8 70.9 0.3 392

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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Number who gave a written response
59

b. Most frequent reason

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Number of respondents=392 %
A Questions about HAMP program or application 20.9
B Difficulty contacting servicer about HAMP 16.3
C Borrower has difficulty submitting income documentation 3.3
D Servicer claims to have lost HAMP application documentation 25.5
E Servicer misapplying guidelines 3.3
F Borrower feels s/he was wrongly denied HAMP 9.2
G Borrower has been in HAMP trial modification for more than 3 months 15.1
H Servicer referred a loan to foreclosure during HAMP application process 3.1
I Servicer scheduled or conducted a foreclosure sale during HAMP application process 0.3
J High back-end DTI borrowers requiring counseling 1.8
K Other 1.3

c. Second most frequent

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Number of respondents=392 %
A Questions about HAMP program or application 4.3
B Difficulty contacting servicer about HAMP 12.5
C Borrower has difficulty submitting income documentation 5.1
D Servicer claims to have lost HAMP application documentation 21.9
E Servicer misapplying guidelines 6.6
F Borrower feels s/he was wrongly denied HAMP 17.3
G Borrower has been in HAMP trial modification for more than 3 months 19.4
H Servicer referred a loan to foreclosure during HAMP application process 6.1
I Servicer scheduled or conducted a foreclosure sale during HAMP application process 3.6
J High back-end DTI borrowers requiring counseling 2.3
K Other 0.8

d. Third most frequent

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Number of respondents=389 %
A Questions about HAMP program or application 6.4
B Difficulty contacting servicer about HAMP 8.2
C Borrower has difficulty submitting income documentation 3.6
D Servicer claims to have lost HAMP application documentation 12.1
E Servicer misapplying guidelines 9.5
F Borrower feels s/he was wrongly denied HAMP 15.4
G Borrower has been in HAMP trial modification for more than 3 months 19.8
H Servicer referred a loan to foreclosure during HAMP application process 12.9
I Servicer scheduled or conducted a foreclosure sale during HAMP application process 4.6
J High back-end DTI borrowers requiring counseling 4.9
K Other 2.6

10. Percent who selected each response for rank 1, 2, or 3

Number of respondents=392 %
A Questions about HAMP program or application 31.6
B Difficulty contacting servicer about HAMP 37.0
C Borrower has difficulty submitting income documentation 12.0
D Servicer claims to have lost HAMP application documentation 59.4
E Servicer misapplying guidelines 19.4
F Borrower feels s/he was wrongly denied HAMP 41.8
G Borrower has been in HAMP trial modification for more than 3 months 54.1
H Servicer referred a loan to foreclosure during HAMP application process 21.9
I Servicer scheduled or conducted a foreclosure sale during HAMP application process 8.4
J High back-end DTI borrowers requiring counseling 8.9
K Other 4.6

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?

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Did not answer
question
Very positive
Positive
Neither positive
nor negative
Negative
Very negative
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % % % %
0.0 0.8 7.6 15.0 43.4 33.0 0.3 394

Please provide a brief explanation:

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Number who gave a written response
312

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?

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Did not answer
question
Less than 1 month
1 to 3 months
4 to 6 months
7 to 9 months
10 to 12 months
More than 12 months
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % % % % %
0.0 0.3 12.9 40.8 24.6 13.4 7.6 0.5 395

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?

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Did not answer
question
YES, longer for
denials
YES, longer for
offers
No difference
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % %
0.0 18.7 23.0 51.1 7.1 395

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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Number who gave a written response
64

b. Highest ranked reason

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Number of respondents=390 %
A Borrower reports having difficulty providing servicer with required information 4.6
B Borrower reports that servicer has asked for updated financial information 28.5
C Borrowers application is complete, but borrower reports servicer has lost documentation 38.7
D Servicer informed borrower/counselor that it has a backlog of HAMP applications 22.1
E Waiting for results of NPV test 0.8
F Servicer has not heard from investor on whether or not they approved the modification 3.8
G Other 1.5

c. Second highest ranked reason

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Number of respondents=385 %
A Borrower reports having difficulty providing servicer with required information 6.5
B Borrower reports that servicer has asked for updated financial information 29.9
C Borrowers application is complete, but borrower reports servicer has lost documentation 25.7
D Servicer informed borrower/counselor that it has a backlog of HAMP applications 18.2
E Waiting for results of NPV test 2.6
F Servicer has not heard from investor on whether or not they approved the modification 15.8
G Other 1.3

d. Third highest ranked reason

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Number of respondents=384 %
A Borrower reports having difficulty providing servicer with required information 11.2
B Borrower reports that servicer has asked for updated financial information 22.9
C Borrowers application is complete, but borrower reports servicer has lost documentation 9.4
D Servicer informed borrower/counselor that it has a backlog of HAMP applications 16.9
E Waiting for results of NPV test 3.9
F Servicer has not heard from investor on whether or not they approved the modification 28.6
G Other 7.0

14. Percent who selected each response for rank 1, 2, or 3

Number of respondents=391 %
A Borrower reports having difficulty providing servicer with required information 22.0
B Borrower reports that servicer has asked for updated financial information 80.3
C Borrowers application is complete, but borrower reports servicer has lost documentation 73.1
D Servicer informed borrower/counselor that it has a backlog of HAMP applications 56.5
E Waiting for results of NPV test 7.2
F Servicer has not heard from investor on whether or not they approved the modification 47.6
G Other 9.7

15. In your experience, how long are borrowers typically in trial modifications before receiving a decision about conversion to a permanent modification?

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Did not answer
question
3 months or less
4 to 6 months
7 to 9 months
10 to 12 months
More than 12 months
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % % % %
0.0 3.1 45.9 34.6 11.0 4.1 1.3 390

16. In your experience, what is the primary reason for trial modifications lasting longer than 3 months before conversion to a HAMP permanent modification?

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Did not answer
question



Borrower has difficulty
providing servicer
with information

Servicer loses
documentation



Servicer informed
borrower/counselor
that it has a backlog
of HAMP applications
Unknown (servicer
does not disclose
reasons)

Other




No response




Number of respon
-dents
% % % % % % %
0.0 1.3 16.2 29.5 43.3 8.2 1.5 390

If Other, please specify:

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Number who gave a written response
49

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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Number who gave a written response
96

b. Highest ranked reason

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Number of respondents=383 %
A Borrowers could not provide exact documentation because the requirements were too rigid 5.2
B Borrowers did not know how to obtain the required documentation 2.6
C Documentation provided was not supportive of the stated income used in the HAMP trial modification application 4.7
D Servicer lost the borrowers documentation 33.4
E Servicer continues to request borrowers updated financial documentation 51.4
F Other 2.6

c. Second highest ranked reason

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Number of respondents=374 %
A Borrowers could not provide exact documentation because the requirements were too rigid 9.9
B Borrowers did not know how to obtain the required documentation 5.6
C Documentation provided was not supportive of the stated income used in the HAMP trial modification application 9.1
D Servicer lost the borrowers documentation 32.9
E Servicer continues to request borrowers updated financial documentation 37.4
F Other 5.1

d. Third highest ranked reason

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Number of respondents=343 %
A Borrowers could not provide exact documentation because the requirements were too rigid 19.5
B Borrowers did not know how to obtain the required documentation 10.8
C Documentation provided was not supportive of the stated income used in the HAMP trial modification application 27.4
D Servicer lost the borrowers documentation 14.6
E Servicer continues to request borrowers updated financial documentation 9.3
F Other 18.4

17. Percent who selected each response for rank 1, 2, or 3

Number of respondents=384 %
A Borrowers could not provide exact documentation because the requirements were too rigid 32.3
B Borrowers did not know how to obtain the required documentation 17.7
C Documentation provided was not supportive of the stated income used in the HAMP trial modification application 38.0
D Servicer lost the borrowers documentation 78.4
E Servicer continues to request borrowers updated financial documentation 96.1
F Other 24.0

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?

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Did not answer
question
Never
Once or twice
About once a month
Two to three times
a month
Every week
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % % % %
0.0 22.6 34.5 13.5 15.2 8.6 5.6 394

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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Number who gave a written response
137

b. Highest ranked difference

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Number of respondents=332 %
A Target back-end DTI 21.7
B Assist borrowers with front-end DTI lower than 31 percent 34.9
C More likely to offer principal reductions 6.3
D Fewer occupancy and property restrictions 8.4
E Higher threshold for unpaid principal balance 15.7
F Other 13.0

c. Second highest ranked difference

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Number of respondents=284 %
A Target back-end DTI 26.1
B Assist borrowers with front-end DTI lower than 31 percent 19.0
C More likely to offer principal reductions 10.2
D Fewer occupancy and property restrictions 16.9
E Higher threshold for unpaid principal balance 18.3
F Other 9.5

d. Third highest ranked difference

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Number of respondents=253 %
A Target back-end DTI 18.2
B Assist borrowers with front-end DTI lower than 31 percent 16.6
C More likely to offer principal reductions 9.5
D Fewer occupancy and property restrictions 9.5
E Higher threshold for unpaid principal balance 27.7
F Other 18.6

19. Percent who selected each response for rank 1, 2, or 3

Number of respondents=334 %
A Target back-end DTI 57.5
B Assist borrowers with front-end DTI lower than 31 percent 63.5
C More likely to offer principal reductions 22.2
D Fewer occupancy and property restrictions 29.9
E Higher threshold for unpaid principal balance 52.1
F Other 35.0

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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Number who gave a written response
270

An "Ineffective" example:

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Number who gave a written response
265

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?

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Did not answer
question
Often
Sometimes
Seldom
Never
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % % %
0.0 15.4 45.3 35.7 3.0 0.5 395

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?

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Did not answer question YES - a substantial number of denials were related to miscalculationsof the borrowers' monthly gross income. (Skip to question 23.) NO - denials were related to something other than a miscalculation of the borrowers' monthly gross income. (Skip to question 24.) No response Number of respondents
% % % %
0.0 53.1 45.6 1.3 239

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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Number who gave a written response
31

b. Highest ranked concern

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Number of respondents=124 %
A Concerns about including one or more non-borrower (non-co-signers) incomes in the income calculation 17.7
B Miscalculation of self-employment income 25.8
C Concerns with unemployment and other benefit program income inclusion 20.2
D Miscalculating annual income (e.g., confusing bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and weekly pay) 24.2
E Miscalculation of overtime pay 4.0
F Other 8.1

c. Second highest ranked concern

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Number of respondents=120 %
A Concerns about including one or more non-borrower (non-co-signers) incomes in the income calculation 17.5
B Miscalculation of self-employment income 22.5
C Concerns with unemployment and other benefit program income inclusion 23.3
D Miscalculating annual income (e.g., confusing bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and weekly pay) 15.0
E Miscalculation of overtime pay 17.5
F Other 4.2

d. Third highest ranked concern

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Number of respondents=112 %
A Concerns about including one or more non-borrower (non-co-signers) incomes in the income calculation 27.7
B Miscalculation of self-employment income 15.2
C Concerns with unemployment and other benefit program income inclusion 17.9
D Miscalculating annual income (e.g., confusing bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and weekly pay) 16.1
E Miscalculation of overtime pay 15.2
F Other 8.0

23. Percent who selected each response for rank 1, 2, or 3

Number of respondents=124 %
A Concerns about including one or more non-borrower (non-co-signers) incomes in the income calculation 59.7
B Miscalculation of self-employment income 61.3
C Concerns with unemployment and other benefit program income inclusion 58.9
D Miscalculating annual income (e.g., confusing bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and weekly pay) 53.2
E Miscalculation of overtime pay 34.7
F Other 19.4

(Optional) Please provide more detail about the highest ranked concern:

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Number who gave a written response
40

VI. HAMP Solution Center

24. Since June 1, 2010, about how many complaints have you referred to the HAMP Solution Center?

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Did not answer
question
None
1 - 10 complaints
11 - 25 complaints
26 - 50 complaints
More than 50 complaints No response
Number of respondents
% % % % % % %
0.0 44.7 41.1 9.6 1.3 0.8 2.5 394

25. Roughly, what percentage of your clients seeking HAMP modifications does this represent? (Provide whole percent up to 99)

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Mean Median Minimum Maximum Number
of respondents
19.7 10 1 99 204

26. How has the number of complaints you have referred to the HAMP Solution Center changed since June 1, 2010?

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Did not answer
question
Increased
Stayed the Same
Decreased
No response
Number of respondents
% % % % %
0.0 30.4 51.7 13.0 4.8 207

Please explain any increase or decrease:

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Number who gave a written response
82

27. In your experience, how effective has the HAMP Solution Center been in resolving borrower complaints concerning HAMP denials and cancellations?

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Did not answer
question
Very effective

Effective

Neither effective
nor ineffective
Ineffective

Very ineffective
No response

Number of respondents
% % % % % % %
0.0 5.3 20.9 25.7 24.3 18.0 5.8 206

Please provide a brief explanation if you would like:

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Number who gave a written response
89

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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Number who gave a written response
66

b. Highest ranked action

(View question)

Number of respondents=392 %
A Target back-end DTI 3.1
B Release of NPV model (e.g., more insight into what NPV test results are based on) 16.3
C Strengthen escalation process 7.7
D Require more training for servicer representatives 11.0
E Enforce sanctions on servicers for not complying with guidelines 28.3
F Ensure that servicers work with borrowers who are not yet 60 days delinquent 8.9
G Require servicers to make more timely decisions 17.1
H Require servicers to send HAMP applicants a clear explanation of how income is calculated under HAMP guidelines 4.1
I Other 3.6

c. Second highest ranked action

(View question)

Number of respondents=388 %
A Target back-end DTI 1.0
B Release of NPV model (e.g., more insight into what NPV test results are based on) 10.3
C Strengthen escalation process 13.1
D Require more training for servicer representatives 13.4
E Enforce sanctions on servicers for not complying with guidelines 20.9
F Ensure that servicers work with borrowers who are not yet 60 days delinquent 16.5
G Require servicers to make more timely decisions 17.5
H Require servicers to send HAMP applicants a clear explanation of how income is calculated under HAMP guidelines 7.2
I Other 0.0

d. Third highest ranked action

(View question)

Number of respondents=381 %
A Target back-end DTI 3.1
B Release of NPV model (e.g., more insight into what NPV test results are based on) 9.7
C Strengthen escalation process 13.9
D Require more training for servicer representatives 12.1
E Enforce sanctions on servicers for not complying with guidelines 11.0
F Ensure that servicers work with borrowers who are not yet 60 days delinquent 16.3
G Require servicers to make more timely decisions 17.1
H Require servicers to send HAMP applicants a clear explanation of how income is calculated under HAMP guidelines 14.2
I Other 2.6

28. Percent who selected each response for rank 1, 2, or 3

Number of respondents=392 %
A Target back-end DTI 7.1
B Release of NPV model (e.g., more insight into what NPV test results are based on) 36.0
C Strengthen escalation process 34.2
D Require more training for servicer representatives 36.0
E Enforce sanctions on servicers for not complying with guidelines 59.7
F Ensure that servicers work with borrowers who are not yet 60 days delinquent 41.1
G Require servicers to make more timely decisions 51.0
H Require servicers to send HAMP applicants a clear explanation of how income is calculated under HAMP guidelines 25.0
I Other 6.1

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