Federal Response to the Foreclosure Crisis
Default and foreclosure rates for home mortgages are showing signs of improvement but remain high. The federal government has been seeking ways to help stem the wave of foreclosures and defaults that has adversely affected homeowners, local communities, and the nation's economic recovery.
- A range of federal programs has offered relief for millions of struggling homeowners facing potential foreclosure. These programs, such as loan modifications and refinancing into loans with lower interest rates, include $38.5 billion allocated to housing programs funded under Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
- Other federal efforts include programs implemented by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Veterans Affairs (VA), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (two government-sponsored enterprises).
Challenges to addressing the foreclosure crisis include:
- The need for comprehensive data-gathering and analysis. This will help ensure that federal foreclosure mitigation programs are effective and fiscal costs are limited.
Problems with mortgage servicers' foreclosure processes. Federal laws do not specifically address the foreclosure process, and federal agencies' past oversight of servicers' foreclosure activities has been limited and fragmented.
- It is unclear the extent to which efforts by mortgage servicers to implement federal agencies’ servicing standards that were in effect as of January 2014 will address previously identified issues such as communication with borrowers and accuracy of information in foreclosure documentation.