Mortgage loan defaults and foreclosures are key factors behind the current economic downturn. In response, Congress passed and the President signed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which authorized the Department of the Treasury to establish the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Under TARP, Treasury created the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) as its cornerstone effort to meet the act's goal of protecting home values and preserving homeownership. This statement focuses on (1) HAMP's program activities to date, (2) status of GAO's July 2009 recommendations to strengthen HAMP's transparency and accountability, (3) preliminary findings from GAO's current work evaluating servicers' implementation of HAMP, and (4) additional challenges HAMP faces going forward. GAO obtained information from 10 HAMP servicers of various sizes that accounted for 71 percent of the TARP funds allocated to participating servicers. GAO reviewed their policies and procedures, interviewed management and quality assurance staff, and observed a sample of phone calls between borrowers and servicers. GAO is also reviewing samples of loan files for borrowers offered and denied HAMP trial modifications. Finally, GAO spoke with officials at Treasury and its financial agents--Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac--and is analyzing program information and data from these sources.
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