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The North Carolina Banking Institute Symposium on the foreclosure crisis: overview.

I. INTRODUCTION

The national foreclosure epidemic is growing: foreclosures were filed against one in forty-five homeowners in 2009, affecting almost three million American residences. (1) The government responded quickly to the mortgage foreclosure crisis by implementing different programs to help prevent foreclosures, (2) but, despite these initiatives, the mortgage crisis has not abated. (3) Accordingly, four staff members of the North Carolina Banking Institute have teamed with two editors to create the North Carolina Banking Institute Symposium on the Mortgage Crisis to review the effectiveness of attempted solutions to date, as well as to analyze other potential avenues for relief.

The Symposium begins with this Overview of the mortgage foreclosure crisis and current governmental responses. (4) Part II of this Overview will review the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the role of securitization and predatory lending in the collapse. (5) Part III details the effects of the crisis, (6) and Part IV outlines the governmental responses to the crisis. (7) Part V concludes that, so far, governmental responses have been insufficient to stem foreclosures rates, and that future responses to the mortgage crisis must help homeowners in a way that is sustainable to the industry. (8)

The student Notes within the Symposium more closely examine some of the governmental policies affecting mortgages. Leila A. Hicks explores the safe harbor from litigation provided by the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act (Helping Families), (9) which insulates servicers who modify home mortgages held in a securitization vehicle from investor suits. (10) S. Adeline McKinney surveys municipal responses to foreclosure blight and advocates that local resources would be better spent through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) (11) rather than in litigation. (12) In addition, two student Notes discuss additional means to address the mortgage crisis. Marjorie B. Maynard discusses the proposed amendment to the Bankruptcy Code to allow for cramdown of home mortgage loans in bankruptcy and analyzes the incentive effects that it will have on modifications outside of bankruptcy. (13) Daniel J. Behrend explores the "right to rent" alternative to the modification of mortgage loans, in which permit homeowners to rent the homes that they previously owned after foreclosure. (14)

II. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MORTGAGE CRISIS

Through much of the twentieth century, the federal government has promoted homeownership as beneficial to American society because it provides an investment for homeowners, stability to U.S. neighborhoods, and property tax revenue to local governments. (15)

Homeownership was further promoted in the 1990s because of the vast wealth created through securitization. (16) Securitization was premised upon the assumption that when loans are pooled, the overall risk associated with each individual loan is spread over a larger number of investors, thus creating a higher credit rating for the pool of loans than each loan could have garnered on its own. (17) Mortgage brokers originate loans and immediately sell the loans to special purpose vehicles (SPVs), which then pool the loans and sell partial interests in the pool as securities. (18) The role of the SPV is to serve as a vehicle that collects the cash flow from the mortgage payments and then distributes the cash flow to investors. (19) The pool of loans is divided into "tranches" and sold to investors. (20) Payment to each tranche is dictated by the "waterfall" of priority, wherein investors in the upper tranches are paid before those that are lower on the waterfall. (21) Credit rating agencies classify each tranche based on the likelihood of repayment on the investment, that is, the likelihood that enough homeowners will pay their mortgages on time and supply the cash flow to repay the investors in the order of priority dictated by the waterfall. (22) The tranches that receive cash flow first from the payments on the underlying mortgages are the lowest risk investments and are generally given a AAA rating. (23) Once the investors in the top tranche are paid, the cash flow received from homeowners is then distributed among the lower tranches in order of priority. (24) Those investors with interests in the lower priority tranches hold securities that carry a higher risk of default and, therefore, their investments are generally given lower credit ratings. (25) The higher rated tranches offer a lower return because the likelihood of repayment is greater. (26) What made the mortgaged-backed securities such an appealing investment is that the most secure tranches, which were rated AAA, provided a higher rate of return than similarly rated investments such as Treasury Bonds. (27) The problem with the ratings of the mortgaged-backed securities was that the risk level for a bond backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government should not have been rated as being on par with the risk level of a security backed by the expected future mortgage payments of homeowners.

The securities' popularity was their downfall. Investors clamored for more securities even after all qualified borrowers took out prime loans. (28) Brokers then made mortgage loans to subprime borrowers, those more likely to default on their mortgages and thus charged a premium to compensate lenders for the additional risk. (29) Subprime lending (30) fulfills the governmental policy of increased homeownership (31) and creates more mortgages to fuel the securitizations. (32) Lenders offered subprime mortgages without fear of the increased default risk because, in addition to receiving a fee for originating the loan, they planned to keep them off their books by selling the loans to SPVs, passing on to the SPVs the risk that the borrowers might default. (33) The SPVs, in turn, passed on the risk to investors in mortgaged backed securities. (34)

Some of the mortgages offered to subprime borrowers misused legitimate derivations from standard mortgages in harmful ways, (35) using practices known collectively as "predatory lending." (36) For example, some subprime borrowers were eligible for prime-rate mortgages, but their brokers, who gain a higher commission or a "yield spread premium" on the more expensive subprime loans, (37) convinced them otherwise. (38) In addition to enriching mortgage brokers, the loan terms set many borrowers up for failure. (39) For example, in some cases, lenders did not require escrow accounts for property tax or insurance each month, surprising homeowners with steep annual bills. (40) Other predatory lenders confirmed that a borrower could afford to pay an adjustable-rate mortgage at its original, low "teaser" rate, without confirming whether the borrower could afford the higher rate once it adjusted. (41) Nevertheless, many borrowers defaulted on their loans even before the mortgage adjusted from the low introductory rate. (42)

In many areas, rising home prices initially masked some of the problems with these predatory loans. (43) A borrower facing an increased monthly payment when the interest rate adjusted upward might be able to refinance based on an increased valuation of the home and thereby lower the monthly payment to an affordable amount, at least until another interest rate reset. (44)

When the housing bubble burst, however, and home prices began to decline, many homeowners discovered that the refinancing option was not available, despite their eagerness to refinance. (45) Indeed, many homeowners then discovered that they were "underwater," owing more on their mortgage than the house's market value. (46) The securitized tranche structure was not designed to withstand substantial borrower defaults and plummeting home prices. (47) Consequently, SPVs began missing payments to investors, (48) decreasing investors' interest in buying mortgage-backed securities. (49) Mortgage brokers could no longer sell new mortgages to SPVs, forcing issuers to keep their loans. (50) Banks stopped offering credit, (51) sending the economy into a recession just as major investment firms, other banks, and financial institutions dependent on the securitized lending system faced major losses. (52) The foreclosure crisis had unfolded.

III. EFFECTS OF THE MORTGAGE CRISIS

While the stock market has rebounded from its freefall in 2008, delinquencies and foreclosures continue to plague the home mortgage market. (53) Many homeowners' outstanding principal exceeds the value of their home, preventing them from selling or refinancing. (54) Between 2007 and 2009, lenders initiated between five and six million foreclosure actions, (55) with approximately 2.25 million foreclosures in 2008 alone. (56) RealtyTrac reported foreclosure filings on 1.5 million homes in the first six months of 2009. (57) While the number of foreclosures dropped slightly from July 2009 to August 2009, that month was the sixth consecutive month with more than 300,000 foreclosure filings, an eighteen percent increase from the year prior. (58) Between the second and third quarters of 2009, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported that the percentage of delinquent loans jumped 180 basis points to 9.64%. (59) By the end of the third quarter of 2009, more than four percent of outstanding home loans were in foreclosure. (60)

Foreclosures not only negatively impact the individual homeowner but also destabilize communities. (61) Studies have shown that home values in a neighborhood drop approximately one percent for each foreclosure, hurting even those homeowners who are current on their mortgages. (62) Moreover, the cost of rehabilitating abandoned properties further burdens communities. (63)

A. Refinancing and Modification Options

If lenders and borrowers renegotiate the terms of a delinquent mortgage, they both potentially benefit. (64) The homeowners can stay in their homes, and the lenders and mortgage servicers (those who manage the collection of mortgage payments on a homeowner's mortgage after it has been sold into an SPV) recover more by renegotiating or modifying the mortgage than by foreclosing. (65) Some lenders are voluntarily modifying mortgage loans, (66) but even though renegotiation and modification can be in the best interests of both parties, it is not widely applied. (67)

Mortgage servicers and lenders may be responsible for the low levels of renegotiations and voluntary modifications. (68) For example, servicers may be explicitly prohibited from modifying mortgages because of provisions in pooling and servicing agreements (PSAs) that govern the administration of securitized pools of home mortgage loans. (69) Accusations abound that servicers are not properly reviewing mortgages or are denying modifications for eligible homeowners. (70) Servicers may also lack personnel, training, and other infrastructure necessary to accommodate modifications on a large scale. (71) Servicers and lenders, by contrast, blame incomplete borrower applications, in part, for the lack of modifications. (72)

Second lienholders are also often a barrier to refinancing, (73) particularly because approximately half of all at-risk liens have second mortgages. (74) Large banks, which typically hold second liens, have been reluctant to participate in loan refinancing because some programs tend to extinguish subordinated debt; thus, second lienholders receive nothing if a borrower refinances. (75) Because these external factors often prevent voluntary modifications, the government has stepped in to help before the crisis worsens. (76)

B. The Future of the Mortgage Crisis

While subprime loans have stood at the heart of the foreclosure crisis, prime borrowers are now also likely to be delinquent as the economic downturn continues. (77) The high unemployment rate is a major factor, (78) and some experts do not anticipate foreclosures to slow until at least 2011. (79) Because there is no sure sign that the mortgage crisis will abate in the near future, lenders, borrowers, and the government must work together for a viable solution to both prevent and mitigate the foreclosure crisis.

IV. GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSES TO THE CRISIS

A. Federal Responses to the Mortgage Crisis

Federal legislators and administrators have implemented programs intended to curtail the mortgage crisis. (80) HOPE for Homeowners (H4H), the Making Home Affordable Program (MHA), Helping Families, and NSP all address similar goals: to reduce the likelihood of foreclosure, to encourage workouts at the servicer and lender level, and to help state and local governments mitigate losses associated with foreclosed and abandoned properties. (81)

1. HOPE for Homeowners

H4H was one of the first governmental attempts to encourage mortgage refinancing for troubled homeowners. (82) The program was created in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) (83) and is administered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (84) The Bush Administration launched H4H in the summer of 2008, hoping to encourage lenders and servicers to "refinance mortgages for borrowers who [had] difficulty making their payments, but [could] afford a new loan insured by HUD's FHA." (85)

To be eligible, homeowners must show, among other things, that they have made at least six mortgage payments, that future payments are unfeasible, and that existing payments account for more than thirty-one percent of their monthly income. (86) Qualifying homeowners may exchange existing home loans for FHA-insured loans with more favorable terms. (87) Borrowers who successfully refinance into an FHA-insured loan are guaranteed that the principal owed will not exceed "90 percent of the new appraised value" of the home. (88) Existing lien-holders are required to waive penalties and accept H4H funds as satisfaction of the borrower's entire debt, (89) enabling them to remove at-risk loans from their books. (90)

H4H failed to meet the Bush Administration's goal of preventing 400,000 foreclosures. (91) Amazingly, by August 2009, H4H had helped only one family avoid foreclosure. (92) Several problems such as "steep borrower fees and costs, complex program requirements, and lack of operational flexibility in program design," as well as trouble renegotiating with second lien holders, contributed to H4H's early failure to meet expectations. (93) Congress and administrators later tried to address some of the problems with H4H, primarily by providing better incentives to servicers and lenders who agreed to refinance. (94)

2. Making Home Affordable

The Obama Administration launched the MHA in February 2009 as an integral part of its Financial Stability Plan. (95) The program's primary objective is to aid "homeowners making a good-faith effort to make their mortgage payments, while attempting to prevent the destructive impact of the housing crisis on families and communities." (96) At its outset, MHA consisted of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, (97) an initiative that includes the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). (98)

HARP allows homeowners to refinance if government-sponsored entities own or insure their mortgages, if their payments are current, and if their LTVs are high, including some that are higher than 100%. (99) This refinancing will enable homeowners to take advantage of historically low interest rates. (100) In some cases, borrowers can even transition from adjustable rate mortgages to fixed rate mortgages. (101) Initially, HARP capped the LTV for eligible homeowners at 105%; however, homeowners in states such as California, Florida, and Nevada experienced such drastic increases in their LTVs that they were ineligible for HARP. (102) The LTV cap has since increased to 125%. (103)

By comparison, HAMP is intended to help at-risk borrowers modify their existing mortgage to reduce their monthly mortgage payments. (104) HAMP seeks to reduce mortgage payments so that a homeowner's debt-to-income ratio (DTI) does not exceed thirty-one percent of homeowners' pre-tax income. (105) Eligible homeowners must produce complete documentation of income, and the original mortgage must have an unpaid principal balance no greater than $729,750. (106) Only mortgages originated "on or before January 1, 2009" are eligible. (107) Qualifying homeowners must complete a trial modification period before they are permitted to permanently modify their mortgages. (108)

HAMP incentivizes lenders and servicers to participate. (109) Lenders must modify mortgages so that DTI does not exceed thirty-eight percent, (110) and the Treasury matches these reductions so that final mortgage payments are thirty-one percent of the homeowners' pre-tax income. (111) Servicers may receive "pay for success" fees, including a $1,000 up-front fee for each mortgage modified, and an additional $1,000 fee is available for each year that the modified mortgage is still performing. (112) In addition, lenders and servicers who modify while the mortgage is current get an additional $1,500 and $500 bonus fee respectively. (113) HAMP also includes incentive payments for homeowners: they may receive "pay for performance" reductions from the principal balance of the loan up to a total of $5,000 over the course of the program. (114)

Since its inception, MHA has undergone several modifications. The Second Lien Program (SLP) encourages second lienholders to modify, (115) offering second mortgage servicers "pay for success" rewards for mortgages that remain current following modification. (116) Lenders are compensated if they agree to extinguish instead of modify second liens. (117)

3. Helping Families Save their Homes Act of 2009

Congress passed Helping Families on May 20, 2009, to "strengthen our nation's housing sector and facilitate the goals of the Administration's Making Homes Affordable Program by helping millions of American homeowners stay in their homes." (118) Helping Families increases incentives to servicers and lenders to refinance loans under H4H and lowered some of the required borrower qualifications. (119)

Helping Families allows principal write-downs to increase the homeowner's equity, provides payments to servicers who refinance mortgages, and allows lenders to recover a share of the subsequent appreciation of home prices. (120) Helping Families also "grant[s] servicers immunity from lawsuits so long as [the servicer] can claim that investors will be better off-even by a penny-under a modified mortgage." (121) For more information on the litigation safe harbor provision for servicers who modify home mortgages held in a securitization vehicle, please see the Symposium's student Note by Leila A. Hicks. (122)

4. Neighborhood Stabilization Program

In recognition of the crippling effect that the foreclosure crisis has had on communities, in July 2008, Congress authorized grants under HERA to combat the destabilizing effect of mass foreclosures. (123) HERA provided $3.92 billion in federal aid, to be administered by HUD, to state and local governments "for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes and residential properties." (124) HUD established the NSP to distribute these funds. (125)

The first phase of NSP funds (NSP 1) was distributed according to a formula that accounted for "the number and percentage of home foreclosures," "homes financed by a subprime mortgage related loan," and "homes in default or delinquency." (126) Each state received at least $19.6 million in funding. (127) States that received NSP 1 funds were charged with further allocating the money to local communities based on need and ensuring that funds are used within eighteen months for community rehabilitation and development purposes. (128)

In February 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (129) (ARRA), providing an additional $1.93 billion in NSP funding (NSP 2) (130) for communities that continue to suffer from extensive foreclosures. (131) ARRA also required NSP 2 grants to be distributed on a competitive basis (132) HUD must consider a community's unique needs, its "capacity to execute projects, leveraging potential, [and] concentration of investment to achieve neighborhood stabilization," (133) and whether potential grantees could use all of the NSP 2 funds within three years. (134)

Recipients of NSP funds must use the grants for the following purposes:
   (A) [establishing] financing mechanisms for
   purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed upon
   homes and residential properties ...; (B)
   [purchasing] and [rehabilitating] homes and
   residential properties that have been abandoned or
   foreclosed upon, in order to sell, rent, or redevelop
   such homes and properties; (C) [establishing] and
   [operating] land banks for homes that have been
   foreclosed upon; (D) [demolishing] blighted
   structures; and (E) [redeveloping] demolished or
   vacant properties. (135)


Additional limitations are imposed on NSP grants, (136) at least twenty-five percent of which must be used to purchase and rehabilitate homes for eligible families. (137) Furthermore, when state and local governments purchase foreclosed homes with NSP funds, they must discount one percent from the homes' appraised value. (138) Then, when governments sell the homes, the sale price cannot exceed the amount that the government has spent on the property. (139)

ARRA also authorized a third NSP fund, NSP-TA, to allocate $50 million to technical assistance providers working with NSP grantees. (140) The NSP-TA channeled funds into national and local organizations that assist state and local governments with stabilization efforts. (141) For more information about the use of NSP funds to resolve foreclosure blight, please see the Symposium's student Note by S. Adeline McKinney. (142)

5. Effects of Federal Efforts

The federal response to the mortgage crisis has been swift and ambitious, but despite the government's efforts, most of the programs have yet to achieve meaningful results. (143) While almost four million homeowners refinanced their mortgages by December 2009, creating savings in excess of $6.8 billion, (144) HAMP, the program that stands to help the most homeowners modify their mortgages, has been less successful. (145) At the close of 2009, servicers had approved only 112,521 permanent modifications. (146) Of these permanent modifications, approximately half were active; the remaining 46,056 were awaiting borrower acceptance. (147) Another 787,231 borrowers were still in the trial modification phase. (148) When announced, the Obama Administration boldly stated that the HAMP would assist three to four million at-risk borrowers, (149) but the program's performance to date indicates that it will likely fall far short of this goal.

Analysts have proposed myriad theories postulating why HAMP has not been more successful. (150) Many agree that the current regulatory framework is not successfully addressing the mortgage crisis. (151) But the sheer volume of the arguments suggests that the problem defies a single diagnosis. In addition to the difficulties with any mortgage renegotiation, constantly changing guidelines further hinder HAMP's success. (152) While the causes of HAMP's relative lack of success can be debated, what is certain is that the housing and lending markets continue to be plagued by delinquencies and foreclosures. (153)

B. North Carolina: One State's Response to the Mortgage Crisis

Most state governments have responded to the mortgage crisis, but with varying levels of success. (154) North Carolina, for example, which has a history of lending protection laws, (155) enacted new legislation in response to the foreclosure crisis in 2008 and 2009. (156)

1. North Carolina's Legislation

In 2008, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Emergency Program to Reduce Home Foreclosures Act (Emergency Program). (157) Among other provisions, this legislation established a forty-five day waiting period before a lender can foreclose on an eligible home, (158) encouraging homeowners and lenders to use the time to renegotiate. (159) The Emergency Program gives the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks the discretionary power to extend the waiting period before foreclosure for thirty more days if the additional time would allow renegotiations to continue. (160)

Then in 2009, the North Carolina General Assembly established another way to delay foreclosures: the Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009 allows the clerk of court to grant a continuance in a foreclosure hearing for up to sixty days, giving the parties additional time to negotiate a solution other than foreclosure. (161) The North Carolina General Assembly also modified the Emergency Program in 2009. (162) It redefines certain terms and requires that subprime lenders ensure that the borrower can repay after considering the borrower's financial situation, "including the borrower's current and reasonably expected income, employment, assets other than the collateral, current obligations, and mortgage-related obligations." (163)

2. Effects in North Carolina

North Carolina's leaders have been eager to protect homeowners and lenders from foreclosures' challenges and costs, (164) and they have largely succeeded. North Carolina's Emergency Program succeeded politically because it balanced the concerns of the state's lending community with those of homeowners facing foreclosure. (165) Practically, however, the Emergency Program has prevented fewer foreclosures than anticipated; it hoped to prevent 25,000 foreclosures within two years (166) but had only helped 2500 homeowners avoid foreclosure in its first year. (167) Still, North Carolina is faring better in the mortgage crisis than many other states. (168) North Carolina's foreclosure rate was sixteen percent lower in 2009 than in 2008, and two percent lower in 2009 than in 2007, making it one of only two states to experience a decline in foreclosure activity over both of these time periods. (169)

V. CONCLUSION

Government programs to prevent foreclosures can be a valuable tool to encourage stability in the housing sector, provide justice to homeowners, and help lenders avoid the losses associated with foreclosure. (170) But existing federal and state efforts are insufficient to fully address the foreclosure crisis given that foreclosure rates are expected to worsen before they improve. (171) Unfortunately, many homeowners, with prime and subprime mortgages alike, will face default and foreclosure on their homes in the immediate future, (172) and some analysts argue that legislative efforts to prevent foreclosure actually prolong the crisis. (173)

Government initiatives' lack of progress, particularly in light of the grim short-term forecast for foreclosures, (174) suggests that an effective solution will require major changes to existing programs. Analysts note, moreover, that legislators and administrators may "have grossly misdiagnosed the causes of defaults," (175) suggesting that the primary cause of foreclosure is negative equity in homes coupled with job loss. (176) Until both problems are addressed, high foreclosure rates will persist. (177)

Possible solutions to the crisis abound. Some commentators have suggested modifying existing programs to permit either loan forbearance until borrowers secure employment or interest-only loans. (178) Nevertheless, even if government programs fully achieve their stated goals, foreclosures will continue above a sustainable level; as one analyst testified, "we should still expect millions of foreclosures." (179) Thus, efforts beyond current governmental programs are necessary to mitigate the ongoing effects of the mortgage crisis. (180)

Others encourage the use of further legislative and administrative solutions. (181) One alternative to existing government programs is the right to rent plan that allows homeowners to remain in their homes as tenants or, alternatively, gives homeowners leverage to renegotiate mortgages prior to foreclosure. (182) To learn more about the right to rent proposal, please see the Symposium's student Note by Daniel J. Behrend. (183)

Still others want to empower the judiciary through mortgage modification legislation. (184) Allowing cramdowns of mortgages may enable bankruptcy judges to revise the terms of a debtor's mortgage (185) and give borrowers leverage to induce modification in lieu of bankruptcy. (186) For more on the debate around allowing U.S. bankruptcy courts to modify mortgages, please see the Symposium's student Note by Marjorie B. Maynard. (187)

State governments that have not yet responded to the crisis may look to North Carolina as a model. (188) Municipal governments and communities may also participate by seeking a solution through innovative methods. For more information on municipal governments' efforts to combat foreclosure blights, please see the Symposium's student Note by S. Adeline McKinney. (189)

The North Carolina Banking Institute Symposium offers a few insights into potential responses to the ongoing mortgage crisis, but the full scope of the response will require more than the solutions described here. Certainly, the current responses to the mortgage crisis are insufficient to avoid its ill effects on American households and neighborhoods. (190) We in the North Carolina Banking Institute Symposium look forward to creative solutions to resolve this crisis that both consider and protect the interests of lenders and homeowners.

* We gratefully acknowledge the substantial contributions of staff members Daniel J. Behrend, Leila A. Hicks, Marjorie B. Maynard, and S. Adeline McKinney to the research for this introduction.

(1.) Press Release, RealtyTrac, RealtyTrac Year-End Report Shows Record 2.8 Million U.S. Properties with Foreclosure Filings in 2009 (Jan. 14, 2010), http:// www.realtytrac.com/contentmanagement/ pressrelease.aspx?channelid=9&accnt=0&it emid=8333 [hereinafter RealtyTrac, Year-End Report].

(2.) E.g., Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-22, 123 Stat. 1632 (creating programs to address the mortgage and foreclosure crises); Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-289, 122 Stat. 2654 (enacting legislation to address the mortgage and foreclosure crises).

(3.) E.g., RealtyTrac, Year-End Report, supra note 1 (including statement from RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio that "the long term a massive supply of delinquent loans continues to loom over the housing market, and many of those delinquencies will end up in the foreclosure process in 2010 and beyond as lenders gradually work their way through the backlog").

(4.) See infra pp. 193-216 and notes 15-169.

(5.) See infra Part II, pp. 193-98.

(6.) See infra Part III, pp. 198-203.

(7.) See infra Part IV, pp. 203-16.

(8.) See infra Part V, pp. 216-18.

(9.) Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 [section] 2301, 122 Stat. at 2850-2854.

(10.) Leila A. Hicks, Note, The North Carolina Banking Institute Symposium on the Foreclosure Crisis: The Unintended and Unconstitutional Consequences of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Mortgage Act, 14 N.C. BANKING INST. 237 (2010).

(11.) Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 2301-2305; American and Reinvestment Recovery Act of 2009 [section] 1201, 123 Stat. at 214-15.

(12.) S. Adeline McKinney, Note, The North Carolina Banking Institute Symposium on the Foreclosure Crisis: Municipalities Fight Effects of Foreclosure with Litigation and Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grants, 14 N.C. BANKING INST. 257 (2010).

(13.) Marjorie B. Maynard, Note, The North Carolina Banking Institute Symposium on the Foreclosure Crisis: Mortgage Cramdown in Bankruptcy as a Necessary Incentive to Encourage Mortgage Modifications, 14 N.C. BANKING INST. 275 (2010).

(14.) Daniel J. Behrend, Note, The North Carolina Banking Institute Symposium on the Foreclosure Crisis: The Right to Rent, Another Approach to Combat the Foreclosure Crisis, 14 N.C. BANKING INST. 219 (2010).

(15.) See, e.g., Kristen D. Adams, Homeownership: American Dream or Illusion of Empowerment?, 60 S.C. L. REV. 573, 589-91 (2009) ("Homeownership has been associated with control, independence, tax breaks, wealth-building, security, ... stability[,] ... increased educational achievement, civic participation, better health, and a lower incidence of crime."); Peter Pappas, Did the Home Ownership Tax Break Cause the Housing Crisis?, TAX LAWYER'S BLOG, (Dec. 19, 2008), http://blog.pappastax.com/index.php/2008/12/19/did-the-home- ownership-tax-break-cause-the-housing-crisis/ ("The truth is that in 1997 everyone believed that increasing home ownership was a good thing for American society.").

(16.) See, e.g., Alan Greenspan, Chairman, Fed. Reserve Board, Remarks at the Economic Development Conference of the Greenlining Institute (Oct. 11, 1997), available at http://www.federalreserve.gov/ boarddocs/speeches/1997/19971011.htm (commentary on the "efficiencies" created by the securitization of mortgages); SCOTT FRAME ET AL., FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, A SNAPSHOT OF MORTGAGE CONDITIONS WITH AN EMPHASIS ON SUBPRIME MORTGAGE PERFORMANCE 18 fig. 14 (Fed. Res. Bd., Working Paper, 2008), available at http://federalreserveonline.org/pdf/MF_Know ledge_Snapshot-082708.pdf (graphing American homeownership and noting the "rate increased dramatically from 1995 to 2005, rising from roughly 64 percent of U.S. households to almost 70 percent").

(17.) Adam J. Levitin et al., Securitization: Cause or Remedy of the Financial Crisis? 3-4 (Geo. U. L. Center Bus., Econ. and Reg. Pol'y Working Paper Series, Research Paper No. 1462895, Inst. for L. & Econ., U. of Pennsylvania Law School, Research Paper No. 09-31, 2009), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1462895 (click on "download link").

(18.) Andreas A. Jobst, Tranche Pricing m Subordinated Loan Securitization, JOURNAL OF STRUCTURED FINANCE, 64, 64 (Summer 2005).

(19.) Id.

(20.) Id. at 64-65.

(21.) See id.

(22.) Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 4. See also Jobst, supra notel8, at 64-65 (discussing junior, mezzanine, and senior level tranches).

(23.) Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 4.

(24.) Jobst, supra note 18, 64-65.

(25.) Id.

(26.) Id.

(27.) See Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 4.

(28.) See id. at 6-7 (explaining the rise of Alt-A loans).

(29.) Souphala Chomsisengphet & Anthony Pennington-Cross, The Evolution of the Subprime Mortgage Market, FED. RES. BANK ST. LOUIS REV. 31, 36 (Jan./Feb. 2006), available at http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/06/01/ChomPenn Cross.pdf.

(30.) Subprime lending gives access to those who would not otherwise receive credit at the prime rate. ELLEN SCHLOEMER ET AL., CTR. FOR RESPONSIBLE LENDING, LOSING GROUND: FORECLOSURES IN THE SUBPRIME MARKET AND THEIR COST TO HOMEOWNERS 8 (2006), http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/VFPTF/ Reports/losing_ground.pdf; see also Greenspan, supra note 16 (encouraging bankers to "applaud the 'democratization' of our credit markets" but noting that "[a]lthough legitimate lenders may be able to manage risks associated with the overall expansion of lending, the same may not be true of many consumers, especially those with limited means to weather a storm or who have been encouraged to borrow improvidently.").

(31.) See Greenspan, supra note 16 (advocating widespread homeownership despite risks).

(32.) See Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 4.

(33.) See id. at 8 ("There was little understanding of the default risk in the new, fast-growing market, and firms did not have a strong incentive to focus on default risk. The bulk of new products were 'originate-to-distribute,' so they were sold off instead of held in firms' portfolios."). See generally Jobst, supra note 18, at 65 (explaining how risk is transferred through loan securitizations).

(34.) See Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 3-5; Jobst, supra note 18, at 65.

(35.) See Chomsisengphet & Pennington-Cross, supra note 29, at 36; Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 7-8 (describing how certain mortgages designed for specific borrowers became risky when sold to other borrowers).

(36.) Freddie Mac, How to Avoid Predatory Lending, http://www.freddiemac.com/corporate/buyown/english/ mortgages/lenders/avoiding__predlend.html (last visited Feb. 2, 2010) ("Although predatory lending is not defined by federal law and states define it differently, this type of lending usually involves loans with terms you can't meet ... and practices that strip away equity in your home.").

(37.) Center for Responsible Lending, 8 Signs of Predatory Lending, http://www.responsiblelending.org/mortgage-lending/tools.resources/ 8_signs_of_ predatory-lending.html (last visited Feb. 6, 2010). See generally Laurie Burlingame & Howell E. Jackson, Kickbacks or Compensation: The Case of Yield Spread Premiums, 12 STAN. J.L. BUS. & FIN. 289 (2007) (describing yield spread premiums, the controversy behind them, and potential regulatory solutions).

(38.) Rick Brooks & Ruth Simon, Subprime Debacle Traps Even Very CreditWorthy, WALL ST. J., Dec. 3, 2007, at A1, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/ SB119662974358911035.html?mod=hps_us_whats_news (describing "a compensation structure that rewarded brokers for persuading borrowers to take a loan with an interest rate higher than the borrower might have qualified for"); see also The Private Sector and Government Response to the Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis: Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Fin. Serv., 111th Cong. 3-4, 18 (2009) (testimony of Julia Gordon, Senior Policy Counsel, Center for Responsible Lending), available at http://www.house.gov/apps/ list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/fchr_120809.shtml.

(39.) Center for Responsible Lending, supra note 37. See Foreclosure Prevention and Intervention: The Importance of Loss Mitigation Strategies in Keeping Families in Their Homes: Hearing Before Subcomm. on Housing and Community Opportunity of the H. Comm. on Financial Services, ll0th Cong. 5-6 (2007) (written testimony of Tara Twomey, Of Counsel, National Consumer Law Center), available at http:// www.consumerlaw.org/issues/predatory_mortgage/ content/Twomeytestimony.pdf [hereinafter Twomey Testimony].

(40.) Center for Responsible Lending, supra note 37.

(41.) Twomey Testimony, supra note 39, at 5; STATE FORECLOSURE PREVENTION WORKING GROUP, DATA REPORT NO. 1, ANALYSIS OF SUBPRIME MORTGAGE SERVICING PERFORMANCE 5 (2008), http://www.csbs.org/ Content/ NavigationMenu/ Home/StateForeclosurePreventionWorkGroupDataReport.pdf. Contra FRAME ET AL., supra note 16, at 12 (maintaining that the high default rates occurred because "adjustable-rate subprime mortgages attracted riskier borrowers").

(42.) STATE FORECLOSURE PREVENTION WORKING GROUP, supra note 41, at 1, 11.

(43.) Vikas Bajaj & Ron Nixon, Re-Refinancing, and Putting Off Mortgage Pain, N.Y. TIMES, July 23, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/ 2006/07/23/business/23mortgage. html?pagewanted=l&_r=l.

(44.) Id.

(45.) See Press Release, Mortgage Bankers Association, Refinancing Drives Increase in Mortgage Applications in Latest MBA Weekly Survey (Jan. 23, 2008), http://www.mbaa.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/59540-htm [hereinafter Press Release, Refinancing Drives Increase in Mortgage Applications]; Les Christie, Refinancing: Only for the Privileged Few, CNN MONEY, Feb. 8, 2008, http:// money.cnn.com/2008/02/08/real_estate/who_can_refi/index.htm.

(46.) See David Streitfeld, No Help in Sight, More Homeowners Walk Away, N.Y. TIMES, Feb. 2., 2010, at A1, N.Y. edition, available at http://www.nytimes.com/ 2010/02/03/business/03walk.html ("The number of Americans who owed more than their homes were worth was virtually nil when the real estate collapse began in mid2006, but by the third quarter of 2009, an estimated 4.5 million homeowners had reached the critical threshold, with their home's value dropping below 75 percent of the mortgage balance."); Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 6 ("Home prices plummeted so sharply that by the spring of 2009, some have estimated that every fifth borrower owed more than his or her home was worth.").

(47.) See Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 4 ("Since the U.S. had never experienced an economy-wide decrease in home prices of more than 1 percent, the agencies considered this to be a reasonable assumption, and the firms issuing the securities assumed their diversification had removed any risk of considerable losses.").

(48.) See Hearing: Helping Families Save Their Homes: The Role of Bankruptcy Law: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on the Judiciary, 110th Cong. 4-5 (2008) (testimony of Adam J. Levitin, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center), available at http://www.law.georgetown.edu/ faculty/levitin/documents/ LevitinSenateJudiciaryTestimony.pdf.

(49.) See Levitin et al., supra note 17, at 15.

(50.) See id.

(51.) Thomas Porter, Note, The Federal Reserve's Catch-22: A Legal Analysis of the Federal Reserve's Emergency Powers, 13 N.C. BANKING INST. 483,486 (2009).

(52.) See, e.g., William K. Sjostrom, Jr., The AIG Bailout, 66 WASH. & LEE L. REV. 943 (2009) (describing the effects of the mortgage crisis and credit crunch on American International Group, Inc., the largest insurance company in the United States, which was bailed out by the U.S. government).

(53.) See Press Release, Mortgage Bankers Association, Delinquencies Continue to Climb in Latest MBA National Delinquency Survey (Nov. 19, 2009), http:// www.mbaa.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/71112.htm [hereinafter Press Release, Delinquencies Continue to Climb].

(54.) Streitfeld, supra note 46. Borrowers with a loan-to-value ration (LTV) of eighty percent or greater often have difficulty refinancing. Press Release, U.S. Dep't. of the Treas., Making Home Affordable: Summary of Guidelines (Mar. 4, 2009), http://treas.gov/press/releases/ reports/guidelines_summary.pdf [hereinafter MHA: Summary of Guidelines].

(55.) The Worsening Foreclosure Crisis: Is It Time to Reconsider Bankruptcy Reform?: Hearing Before Subcomm. on Admin. Oversight and the Courts of the S. Comm. on the Judiciary, 111th Cong. 1 (2009) (written testimony of Adam Levitin, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center), available at http://judiciary.senate.gov/pdf/07.22_09LevitinTestimony.pdf.

(56.) Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman, Fed. Reserve Bd. of Governors, Speech at the Federal Reserve System Conference on Housing and Mortgage Markets: Housing Mortgage Markets, and Foreclosures (Dec. 4, 2008), http://www.federalreserve.gov/ newsevents/speech/bernanke 20081204a.htm (using data from Mortgage Bankers Associations and First American Loan Performance).

(57.) Press Release, RealtyTrac, 1.9 Million Foreclosure Filings Reported on More Than 1.5 Million U.S. Properties in First Half of 2009, (Jul. 16, 2009), http:// www.realtytrac.com/ contentmanagement/pressrelease.aspx?channelid=9&ItemID=6 802.

(58.) Daniel Taub, U.S. Foreclosure Filings Top 300,000 for Sixth Straight Month, BLOOMBERG, Sept. 10, 2009, http://www.bloomberg.com/ apps/news?pid=20601103& sid=a3dnPxhcGAxs.

(59.) Press Release, Refinancing Drives Increase in Mortgage Applications, supra note 45.

(60.) Id.

(61.) Alan Mallach, Stabilizing Communities: A Federal Response to the Secondary Impacts of the Foreclosure Crisis, BROOKINGS, Feb. 2009, at 2, http://www.brook ings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/ reports/2009/02_foreclosure_crisis_mallach/02_foreclosure_ crisis_mallach_brief.pdf.

(62.) See, e.g., STATE FORECLOSURE PREVENTION WORKING GROUP, supra note 41, at 3 ("[T]he Woodstock Institute found that each foreclosure within a city block of a single-family home reduces that home's property value by approximately [one percent]."); see also Dan Immurgluck & Geoff Smith, The External Costs of Foreclosure: The Impact of Single-Family Mortgage Foreclosures on Property Values, 17 HOUSING POL'Y DEBATE 1, 1 (2006) ("Our most conservatives estimate indicate that each conventional foreclosure within an eighth of a mile of a single-family home results in a decline of 0.9 percent in value.").

(63.) See generally Mallach, supra note 61 (discussing the widespread impact of the foreclosure crisis on American communities and the effect of federal policies); Joseph Schilling, Code Enforcement and Community Stabilization: The Forgotten First Responders to Vacant and Foreclosed Homes, 2 ALBANY GOV'T L. REV. 101, 110-112 (2009) (discussing the effects of foreclosures on communities and the impact of code enforcement on rehabilitative efforts).

(64.) John P. Hunt, What Do Subprime Securitization Contracts Actually Say About Loan Modification?, BERKELEY CENTER FOR L., BUS., AND THE ECON. 1, 1 (Mar. 25, 2009), available at http://www.law.berkeley.edu/ files/Subprime Securitization Con tracts_3.25.09.pdf.

(65.) See id; see, e.g., STATE FORECLOSURE PREVENTION WORKING GROUP, supra note 41, at 5-6 ("Servicers agreed that it was in their interest and in the interests of secondary market investors who own securities backed by mortgage loans to work out loan delinquencies and avoid foreclosures whenever reasonably possible.").

(66.) See, e.g., Credit Loss Mitigation Strategies Executive Bank of America Home Loans: Hearing Before the H. Subcomm. on Housing and Community Opportunity of the H. Comm. on Financial Services, 111th Cong. 2 (2009) (testimony of Jack Schakett, Credit Loss Mitigation Strategies Executive, Bank of America), available at www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/ schakett_-_bank_of_america.pdf [hereinafter Schakett Testimony] ("Bank of America and its affiliates completed loan modifications for approximately 170,000 customers from January through July of 2009.").

(67.) STATE FORECLOSURE PREVENTION WORKING GROUP, DATA REPORT NO. 3, ANALYSIS OF SUBPR1ME MORTGAGE SERVICING PERFORMANCE 2 (2008), http:// www.csbs.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Home/ SFPWGReport3.pdf ("Nearly eight out of ten seriously delinquent homeowners are not on track for any loss mitigation outcome.").

(68.) Diane E. Thompson, Why Servicers Foreclose When They Should Modify and Other Puzzles of Servicer Behavior 5-14 (2009), http://www.consumerlaw.org/issues/ mortgage_servicing/content/ Servicer-Reportl009-pdf. Often servicers' compensation arrangements incentivize them not to modify. Progress of the Making Home Affordable Program: What Are the Outcomes for Homeowners and What are the Obstacles to Success: Hearing Before the H. Subcomm. on Housing and Community Opportunity of the H. Comm. on Fin. Services, 111th Cong. 10-11 (2009) (written testimony of Alys Cohen, Staff Attorney, National Consumer Law Center, available at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/ financialsvcs_dem/cohen_-_nclc.pdf [hereinafter Cohen Testimony].

(69.) See, e.g., Christopher Mayer et al., A New Proposal for Loan Modifications, 26 YALE J. ON REG. 417, 422 (2009). Contra Hunt, supra note 64, at 6-7 ("[E]xplicit bans on material modifications are rare. Only 9.3% of the aggregate principal balance of loans we reviewed were subject to such express bans on material modification."); Progress of the Making Home Affordable Program: What Are the Outcomes for Homeowners and What Are the Obstacles to Success?: Hearing Before the H. Subcomm. on Housing and Community Opportunity of the H. Comm. on Financial Services, 111th Cong. 4 (2009) (testimony of Mark A. Calabria, Ph.D., Director, Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute), available at http:// www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/ calabria_-_cato.pdf [hereinafter Calabria Testimony] ("Boston Fed researchers [found] that there is little difference in modification rates between loans held in portfolio versus those held in securitized pools.").

(70.) Cohen Testimony, supra note 68, at 27-29; John W. Schoen, Flaws Plague Foreclosure Relief Program, MSNBC, Jan. 26, 2010, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/ 35062033/ns/business-answer_mess/.

(71.) Thompson, supra note 68, at 2 (describing servicers' lack of training for large scale renegotiations). See Progress of the Making Home Affordable Program: What Are the Outcomes for Homeowners and What Are the Obstacles to Success?: Hearing Before the H. Subcomm. on Housing and Community Opportunity of the H. Comm. on Financial Services, 111th Cong. 5 (2009) (written testimony of Michael S. Barr, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, U.S. Dept. of the Treas.) available at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/ hearing/financialsvcs_dem/barr_-_treasury.pdf [hereinafter Barr Testimony].

(72.) Schackett Testimony, supra note 66, at 4. See Roger Lowenstein, Walk Away from Your Mortgage!, N.Y.TIMES, Jan. 7, 2010, at 15, available at http://www.ny times.com/2010/01/10/ magazine/10FOB-wwln-t.html; Floyd Norris, Why Many Home Loan Modifications Fail, N.Y. TIMES, Dec. 4, 2009, at B1, available at http://www.ny times.com/2009/12/04/business/ economy/04norris.html (describing lenders' frustrations with homeowners who do not have proper documentation).

(73.) See Renae Merle, Face-Lift for Foreclosure Prevention, WASH. POST, May 26, 2009, at A10, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20 09/05/25/AR2009052502272.html.

(74.) MAKING HOME AFFORDABLE: PROGRAM UPDATE (Apr. 28, 2009), http:// www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/ docs/042809SecondLienFactSheet.pdf [hereinafter MHA: PROGRAM UPDATE].

(75.) Id.; Press Release, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Bush Administration Launches "Hope for Homeowners" Program to Help More Struggling Families Keep Their Homes (Oct. 1, 2008), http://www.hud.gov/news/ release.cfm?content=pr08-150.cfm [hereinafter Press Release, Bush Administration Launches "Hope for Homeowners"] (outlining original H4H guidelines including the provision that subordinate debt is extinguished under the program).

(76.) See infra pp. 203-12 and notes 80-142.

(77.) Financial Crisis Impacts on the Economy: Hearing Before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, 4-6 (2010) (testimony of Julia Gordon, Senior Policy Counsel, Center for Responsible Lending), available at http://fcic.gov/hearings/pdfs/2010-0113-Gordon.pdf [hereinafter Gordon Testimony]; see also Press Release, Delinquencies Continue to Climb, supra note 53 ("The foreclosure numbers for prime fixed-rate loans will get worse.").

(78.) Kathleen M. Howley & Mike Dorning, Prime Mortgages Are Next Hurdle, BOSTON.COM, Jan. 5, 2010, http://www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/articles/ 2010/01/05/prime_mortgages_are_next_hurdle/.

(79.) See, e.g., Hubble Smith, Housing Analyst: Slow Rally, LAS VEGAS REV. J., Jan 16, 2010, at 10 ("[H]igh foreclosure rates will prevent new-home demand from reaching intrinsic growth levels until 2011.").

(80.) Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-289, 122 Stat. 2654.

(81.) See infra pp. 203-12 and notes 82-142.

(82.) See Press Release, Bush Administration Launches "Hope for Homeowners," supra note 75.

(83.) Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 1402 (codified at 12 U.S.C. [section] 1715z-23).

(84.) Press Release, Bush Administration Launches "Hope for Homeowners," supra note 75.

(85.) Id.

(86.) Id. Eligibility is also conditioned on a borrower producing evidence that the home to be refinanced is the primary residence, that the mortgage was originated on or before January 1, 2008, and that the borrower "[has] not been convicted of fraud in the past [ten] years, [has not] intentionally defaulted on debts, and [has] not knowingly or willingly provided material false information to obtain their existing mortgages." Id.

(87.) Preserving Homeownership.. Progress Needed to Prevent Foreclosures: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 111th Cong. 1 (2009) (statement of Hon. William Apgar, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mortgage Finance, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Dev.) [hereinafter Apgar Testimony]. Some homeowners may be able to refinance into fixed rate, thirty-year mortgages. Press Release, Bush Administration Launches "Hope for Homeowners," supra note 70. The FHA "provides mortgage insurance on loans made through FHA-approved lenders" to mitigate losses sustained by lenders in the event of default. Fed. Housing Admin., http://www.fhasecure.gov/offices/hsg/fhahistory.cfm (last visited Feb. 6, 2010). FHA insured loans, which are considered "safe" typically give greater flexibility to lenders when formulating loan terms. See id.; Press Release, Bush Administration Launches "Hope for Homeowners," supra note 75. The expense of FHA insurance is passed onto the homeowner through monthly mortgage payments. Fed. Housing Admin., supra.

(88.) Press Release, Bush Administration Launches "Hope for Homeowners," supra note 70.

(89.) Id.

(90.) Id.

(91.) See Merle, supra note 73.

(92.) Id.; Apgar Testimony, supra note 87, at 1.

(93.) Apgar Testimony, supra note 87, at 4.

(94.) See infra pp. 201-08 and notes 118-122.

(95.) MHA: PROGRAM UPDATE, supra note 74, at 4; Press Release, U.S. Dept. of the Treas., Obama Administration Announces New Details on Making Home Affordable Program (May 14, 2009), http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pr_051409.html [hereinafter Press Release, Obama Administration]. The Financial Stability Plan is a collection of programs designed to address the mortgage and credit crises from multiple directions. FinancialStability.gov, About the Financial Stability Plan, http://www.financialstability.gov/about/index.html, (last visited Feb. 6, 2010). The primary goals of the Obama administrations plans are: "1. [r]estore confidence in the strength of U.S. financial institutions; 2. [r]estart markets critical to financing American households and businesses; [and] 3. [a]ddress housing market problems and the foreclosure crisis." Id.

(96.) FinancialStability.gov, Making Home Affordable, http://www.financialstab ility.gov/roadtostability/homeowner.html (last visited Feb. 6, 2010).

(97.) See Press Release, U.S. Dept. of the Treas., Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (Feb. 18, 2009), http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/tg33.htm [hereinafter Press Release, HASP].

(98.) Press Release, U.S. Dept. of the Treas., Making Home Affordable: Updated Detailed Program Description (Mar. 4, 2009), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/ reports/housing_fact_sheet.pdf [hereinafter MHA Description].

(99.) Apgar Testimony, supra note 87, at 3.

(100.) Id. The prevailing prime interest rate in January 2010 was 3.25 percent. Board of Governors of the Fed. Reserve Sys., Selected Interest Rates, http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/ h15/data/Monthly/H15_PRIME_NA.txt (last visited Feb. 2, 2010).

(101.) See MHA: Description, supra note 98.

(102.) Apgar Testimony, supra note 87, at 3.

(103.) Id.; MHA: Description, supra note 98.

(104.) MHA: Summary of Guidelines, supra note 54.

(105.) Press Release, U.S. Dept. of the Treas., Home Affordable Modification Program Guidelines (Mar. 4, 2009), http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/ modification_program_guidelines.pdf [hereinafter HAMP Guidelines].

(106.) MHA: Summary of Guidelines, supra note 54.

(107.) Id.

(108.) MakingHomeAffordable.gov, Understanding the Trial Period, http://making homeaffordable.gov/understandtp.html (last visited Feb. 6, 2010).

(109.) See MHA: Summary of Guidelines, supra note 54.

(110.) See HAMP Guidelines, supra note 105.

(111.) Id.

(112.) Id.

(113.) Id.

(114.) Id.

(115.) MHA: PROGRAM UPDATE, supra note 74.

(116.) Id.

(117.) Id.

(118.) Press Release, The White House: Office of the Press Sec'y, Reforms for American Homeowners and Consumers: President Obama Signs the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act and Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (May 20, 2009), http://www.whitehouse.gov/ the_press_office/reforms-for-american- homeowners-and-consumers-president-obama-signs- the-helping-families-save-their-homes-act-and-the- fraud-enforcement-and-recovery-act/.

(119.) See Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 [section] 203; see also Press Release, The White House: Office of the Press Sec'y, supra note 118.

(120.) Merle, supra note 73.

(121.) Eric Brenner & Hamish Hume, How Big Banks Want to Game the Mortgage Mess, WALL ST. J., May 4, 2009, at A15, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12 4139532998281787.html; see also Hicks, supra note 10 (discussing servicer litigation safe harbor).

(122.) See generally Hicks, supra note 10 (discussing servicer litigation the safe harbor provision).

(123.) See Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 1338 (codified at 12 U.S.C.A. [section] 4568).

(124.) Id. at [section] 2301. One thousand two hundred and one state and local governments were eligible for NSP 1 funds. Dep't. of Housing and Urban Dev., Methodology for Allocation of $3.92 Billion of Emergency Assistance for the Redevelopment of Abandoned and Foreclosed Homes, http://www.hud.gov/offices/ cpd/communitydevelopment/programs/ neighborhoodspg/nspfa_methodology.pdf (last visited Feb. 6. 2010). Of those eligible, "308 grants [were] made to states and local governments (including Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and [] four insular areas." Id.; see also Notice of Allocations, Application Procedures, Regulatory Waivers Granted to and Alternative Requirements for Emergency Assistance for Redevelopment of Abandoned and Foreclosed Homes Grantees Under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, 2008, 73 Fed. Reg. 58330 (Oct. 6, 2008) [hereinafter Notice of Allocations, Oct. 6, 2008] (listing NSP 1 grant recipients).

(125.) Notice of Allocations, Oct. 6, 2008, supra note 124, at 58330. The CDBG Program "is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs." Dep't of Housing and Urban Dev., Community Development Block Grant Program--CDBG, http://www.hud.gov/ offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/programs/ (last visited Feb. 6, 2010). In addition to the NSP, the CDBG distributes grants through programs including the Small Cities CDBG program, the Insular Areas program, and the Colonias program "to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses." Id.

(126.) Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 2301 (codified at 42 U.S.C.A. [section] 5301).

(127.) Notice of Allocations, Oct. 6, 2008, supra note 124, at 58344.

(128.) Id. HERA required that States distribute funds "[giving] priority emphasis and consideration to those metropolitan areas, metropolitan cities, urban areas, rural areas, low- and moderate-income areas, and other areas with the greatest need." Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 2301 (codified at 42 U.S.C.A. [section] 5301). Communities receiving government aid should include those "(A) with the greatest percentage of home foreclosures; (B) with the highest percentage of homes financed by a subprime mortgage related loan; and (C) identified by the State or unit of general local government as likely to face a significant rise in the rate of home foreclosures." Id.

(129.) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-005, 123 Stat. 115.

(130.) Dept's of Housing and Urban Dev., Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2, http://hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/ programs/neighborhoodspg/arrafa ctsheet.cfm (last visited Feb. 6, 2010).

(131.) See id.

(132.) See American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [section] 1201. Under NSP 1, nonprofit organizations could not receive grants directly from HUD, see Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 2301 (codified at 42 U.S.C.A. [section] 5301), but can under NSP 2. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [section] 1201.

(133.) Id.; see also EUGENE BOYD & OSCAR R. GONZALES, CRS REPORT FOR CONGRESS, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANTS: NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION PROGRAM; ASSISTANCE TO COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY FORECLOSURES, 7-8, (Mar. 13, 2009) (describing the distribution of funds under NSP 2).

(134.) BOYD & GONZALES, supra note 133, at 8.

(135.) Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 2301 (codified at 42 U.S.C.A. [section] 5301); Notice of Allocations, Application Procedures, Regulatory Waivers Granted to and Alternative Requirements for Emergency Assistance for Redevelopment of Abandoned and Foreclosed Homes Grantees Under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, 2008; Revisions to Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and Technical Corrections, 74 Fed. Reg. 29223, 29228, June 19, 2009 [hereinafter Notice of Allocation, June 19, 2009]. Prior to the passage of ARRA, NSP grantees could establish, but not operate land banks. See Notice of Allocations, Oct. 6, 2008, supra note 124, at 58345-58349; Notice of Allocations, June 19, 2009, supra. After ARRA was passed, the eligible uses of both NSP 1 and NSP 2 funds were amended to include both the establishment and operation of land banks. BOYD & GONZALES, supra note 133, at 8. See also Notice of Allocations, June 19, 2009, supra.

(136.) See Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 2301 (codified at 42 U.S.C.A. [section] 5301); Notice of Allocations, June 19, 2009, supra note 135, at 29225. See also BOYD & GONZALES, supra note 133, at 4-5 (describing restrictions on state and local governments).

(137.) Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 2301 (codified at 42 U.S.C.A. [section] 5301). This provision applies to families who live on fifty percent or less of the median income of the local community. Id. Low and moderate-income individuals and families are those whose income "does not exceed 120 percent of area median income." Id.

(138.) Notice of Allocations, June 19, 2009, supra note 135, at 29225. See also BOYD & GONZALES, supra note 133, at 4-5 (describing the restrictions on state and local governments).

(139.) Id. at 4. Governments may use NSP funds to "acquire, redevelop or rehabilitate the property." Id.

(140.) Dep't Housing and Urban Development, Neighborhood Stabilization Program Technical Assistance, http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/ programs/neighborhoodspg/nspta.cfm (last visited Feb. 6, 2010).

(141.) See Press Release, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, HUD Announces $50 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Assist Local Communities Stabilize Neighborhoods Hard Hit by Foreclosure (Aug. 26, 2009), http:// www.hud.gov/news/release.cfm?content=pr09-159.cfm.

(142.) See generally McKinney, supra note 12 (discussing effects of foreclosures on communities and NSP efforts to stabilize blighted neighborhoods).

(143.) See e.g., Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 [section] 203 (improving mortgage refinancing program); Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [section] 1338 (codified at 12 U.S.C.A. [section] 4568) (creating funding for neighborhood rehabilitation); Press Release, Bush Administration Launches "Hope for Homeowners," supra note 70 (announcing original H4H plan in the early days of the foreclosure crisis); Press Release, Obama Administration, supra note 91 (announcing MHA program); infra pp. 212-13 and notes 144-152 (discussing failures of government programs).

(144.) Id.

(145.) See FinancialStability.gov, Making Home Affordable Program: Servicer Performance Report Through December 2009, http://financialstability.gov/docs/ report.pdf.

(146.) Id.

(147.) Id.

(148.) Id.

(149.) Press Release, HASP, supra note 97.

(150.) See, e.g., Cohen Testimony, supra note 68 (suggesting that lack of transparency, lack of servicer initiative and incentive, problems with program implementation, and eligibility requirements that are too strict all contribute to HAMP's lack of success); Schakett Testimony, supra note 66 (stating that customers failure to respond to bank outreach efforts, borrowers failing to provide adequate documentation, and high unemployment rates have hindered HAMP's effectiveness).

(151.) Gordon testimony, supra note 77, at 1-3.

(152.) Id.

(153.) See Press Release, Delinquencies Continue to Climb, supra note 53.

(154.) See generally LAUREN STEWART, NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION, ISSUE BRIEF: 2009 STATE RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE LAWS (Jan. 13, 2010), http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/ 1001FORECLOSURELAWS2009.pdf ("In 2009, 33 states and Puerto Rico enacted at least 99 new laws addressing foreclosure and mortgage issues."); Carolyn E. Waldrep, Note, North Carolina's Emergency Measures to Reduce Home Foreclosures, 13 N.C. BANKING INST. 453 (2009) (comparing North Carolina's legislation in response to the mortgage crisis with other states' legislation as of early 2009).

(155.) MARK E. PEARCE, N.C. OFFICE OF THE COMM'R OF BANKS, RISING FORECLOSURES IN NORTH CAROLINA: H. SELECT COMM. ON RISING HOME FORECLOSURES (Jan. 23, 2008), http://www.nccob.org/NR/rdonlyres/63F9E8B2-3F B4-4693-80BE-EC2931F6E700/0/HouseForeclosureCommitteeJanuary2008.pdf. North Carolina's early consumer financial protection laws include the Predatory Lending Act of 1999, N.C. GEN. STAT. [section] 24-1.1E and Act of Aug. 29, 2001, ch. 393, 2001 N.C. Sess. Laws (codified at N.C. GEN. STAT. [section] 53-243.01 (2007)) (repealed by S.L. 2009-374) (regulating mortgage brokers and bankers). Id.

(156.) See Emergency Program to Reduce Home Foreclosures Act, ch. 226, 2008 N.C. Sess. Laws (to be codified at N.C. GEN. STAT. [section] 45-100); Act of July 30, 2009, ch. 457, 2009 N.C. Sess. Laws (to be codified at N.C. GEN. STAT. [section] 24-1.1E); and Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009, ch. 974, 2009 N.C. Sess. Laws (to be codified at N.C. GEN. STAT. [section] 45-21.16).

(157.) See generally Waldrep, supra note 154 (describing the background and goals of the Emergency Program).

(158.) Emergency Program [section] 1; Act of July 30, 2009 [section] 2. The Emergency Program applies only to primary residences in North Carolina whose mortgages were created in 2005, 2006, or 2007 and whose annual percentage rate is at least 1.5 percentage points higher than "the average prime offer rate for a comparable transaction as of the date the interest rate for the loan is set," 1.75 percentage points above the prevailing conventional mortgage interest rate (as defined by the Freddie Mac mortgage commitment data in the Federal Reserve Board's Statistical Release H.15), and at least three percent greater than the yield on U.S. Treasury securities (based on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act triggers). Id.

(159.) Emergency Program [section] 1.

(160.) Id.

(161.) Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009 [section] 3; see also James T. Martin and Deborah E. Sperati, The Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009, P.S. SUBLICATIONS: FULL OF IDEAS (Poyner Spruill, Raleigh, N.C.), Sept. 29, 2009, http://www.poynerspruill.com/ publications/Pages/ConsEcoProtAct09.aspx; Press Release, N.C. Office of the Governor, Governor Signs Bill to Protect Consumers from Home Foreclosures, (Sept. 9, 2009), http://www.governor.state.nc.usfNews Items/PressReleaseDetail.aspx?newsItemID=611 [hereinafter Press Release, Governor Signs Bill to Protect Consumers] ("Gov. Bev Perdue today signed Senate Bill 974, The Consumer Economic Protection Act Of 2009 (CEPA), which will help homeowners facing foreclosure, preserve communities, and protect consumers from unfair debt collectors.").

(162.) Act of July 30, 2009.

(163.) Id.

(164.) See, e.g., Press Release, Governor Signs Bill to Protect Consumers, supra note 161 (announcing legislation recognizing that "everybody loses when foreclosure happens.").

(165.) See Waldrep, supra note 154, at 475-476.

(166.) See id.

(167.) Press Release, North Carolina Office of the Comm'r of Banks, 2,500 Foreclosures Prevented Through State Home Foreclosure Prevention Program (Dec. 21, 2009), http://www.nccob.org/NR/rdonlyres/ E7EFB2F6-5B4D-4C3E-8867-7E10953DBC19/0/ foreclosureprevention122109.pdf; see also Press Release, North Carolina Office of the Comm'r of Banks, N.C. Commissioner of Banks, AG Roy Cooper and Partners Join Together to Fight Foreclosure in North Carolina (Sept. 15, 2009), http://www.necob.org/NR/ rdonlyres/4F928562-CA04-400A-A714-B1A1C104135F/0/ SHFPPpressrelease91509.pdf ("To date [from November 1, 2008 through September 15, 2009], the program has helped prevent almost 2,000 foreclosures and provided foreclosure prevention and budgeting advice to over 5,700 homeowners."); Press Release, N.C. Office of the Governor, Gov. Perdue Announces State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project Prevents More Than 1,000 Foreclosures in NC (Jun. 19, 2009), http://www.law.unc.edu/ news/story.aspx?cid=301 ("Gov. Bev Perdue ... announced that the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project ... has helped more than 1,000 North Carolina homeowners avoid foreclosure since the program's inception in Nov. 2008.").

(168.) See RealtyTrac, Year-End Report, supra note 1 (ranking North Carolina as the 37th worst state in terms of foreclosure rates).

(169.) Id.

(170.) See Press Release, Governor Signs Bill to Protect Consumers, supra note 161.

(171.) Press Release, Delinquencies Continue to Climb, supra note 53.

(172.) Id.

(173.) Id.; see also Venessa Wong, Foreclosures: An Increase of 21% in 2009 and Climbing, BUSINESSWEEK, (Jan. 14, 2010), http://news.yahoo.com/s/bw/20100114/ bs_bw/jan2010bw20100113985068 (quoting Rick Sharga, an executive at RealtyTrac who "estimates an additional 200,000 to 400,000 homes should have gone into foreclosure in 2009 but because of ... legislation in state and federal government, they will only enter the process [in 2010]"). Accord Peter S. Goodman, U.S. Effort Is Seen as Adding to Housing Woes, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 1, 2009, at A1, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/02/business/economy/02modify.html ("'We have simply slowed the foreclosure pipeline, with people staying in houses they are ultimately not going to be able to afford anyway.'"(quoting Kevin Katari, Managing Member, Watershed Asset Management)).

(174.) See Gordon Testimony, supra note 77, at 3-6 (discussing continued rise in foreclosure rates including increased incidence of prime loan foreclosures).

(175.) Calabria Testimony, supra note 69, at 2.

(176.) Id. at 3.

(177.) See id.

(178.) Schoen, supra note 70.

(179.) Barr Testimony, supra note 66, at 66 ("Some of these foreclosures will result from borrowers, who as investors, do not qualify for the program. Others will occur because borrowers do not respond to our outreach. Still others will be the product of borrowers who bought homes well beyond what they could afford and so would be unable to make monthly payment[s] even on a modified loan.").

(180.) Schoen, supra note 65.

(181.) See, e.g., Behrend, supra note 14 (discussing right to rent plan); Maynard, supra note 13 (discussing judicial modification legislation)

(182.) Behrend, supra note 14.

(183.) Id.

(184.) E.g., Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009, ch. 974, 2009 N.C. Sess. Laws (to be codified at N.C. GEN. STAT. [section] 45-21.16) (empowering the clerk at a North Carolina foreclosure hearing to inquire about parties' use of negotiation and to continue the hearing as necessary to allow for solutions other than foreclosure). See also Jessica Holzer, Barney Frank Threatens to Revive Mortgage Bankruptcy Plan, WALL ST. J., Sept. 9, 2009, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125251560012096255.html (stating that Barney Frank "threatened" to endorse mortgage cramdown legislation unless servicers made greater efforts to help homeowners).

(185.) See Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act of 2009, S. 61, 111th Cong. (2009); Emergency Homeownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act, H.R. 225, 111th Cong. (2009); Helping Families, H.R. 200, 111th Cong. (2009); Emergency Homeownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act, H.R. 3609, 110th Cong. (2007).

(186.) See Steven Seidenberg, Battle on the Home Front: A Proposal to Modify Mortgages in Bankruptcy Fails in Congress, But Proponents Say It's the Missing Weapon in Fighting Foreclosures, A.B.A.J., Aug. 2009, at 52, 55-56.

(187.) Maynard, supra note 13.

(188.) See supra pp. 214-16 and notes 157-169.

(189.) McKinney, supra note 12.

(190.) Goodman, supra note 173 (describing how the government "has clearly failed to reverse the foreclosure crisis"); see also Wong, supra note 173 (discussing rise in foreclosure rates in 2009 because of ARMs resetting and insufficient government aid).
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Author:Johnson, Kathryn E.; Waldrep, Carolyn E.
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Date:Mar 1, 2010
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