Re: "Walker survives recall vote in Wisconsin," June 5
The Wisconsin debate over public employee unions illustrates the divide between Republican and Democratic philosophies. Republicans believe that government is there to support the people, while Democrats believe people are there to support the government.
Public unions, including teachers unions, have not produced the results warranted by the sheer amount of money taxpayers put into the system. Public unions have become an end in themselves, complete with built-in perks not available to the general public. Double-dipping, exorbitant overtime pay and the benefits of at least 10 federal holidays with numerous "weather" days push public employee benefits beyond that of the normal private sector employee.
The video of the Wisconsin congresswoman singing "Hit the road, Scott" sealed the deal. No wonder there is gridlock.
Foreclosure programs help homeowners, save millions
Re: "Maryland foreclosure programs delay problem," May 24
This Examiner article contains a number ofinaccuracies that are misleading to your readers and fails to mention how housing counselors can help struggling homeowners achieve better outcomes.
The Capital Area Foreclosure Network, a joint initiative of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, has found that homeowners who work with nonprofit housing counselors -- whether in Maryland or Virginia -- have better outcomes than those who do not.
Research by the Urban Institute indicates that the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program "prevented nearly one in seven foreclosures that would have been completed without counseling." The research adds that "each foreclosure prevented by the NFMC program was estimated to have saved an average of $70,600 in avoided costs."
Assuming that the 13,000 loans that avoided foreclosure because of counseling between 2008 and 2010 do not go into foreclosure in the future, the NFMC Program has helped save local governments, lenders and homeowners $920 million, or about $1,200 per client.
As for errors, the reporters use the terms "loan modification" and "mediation" interchangeably.While mediation involves an in-person meeting between a loan servicer, a homeowner and a trained neutral mediator, loan modifications occur when the mortgage servicer agrees to change a fundamental term of the mortgage, such as the interest rate, the term of the loan or the amount of principal owed.
It is up to the mortgage servicer -- not the state -- to decide whether a loan modification will be granted, so the state has little authority in determining terms for a loan modification.Loan modifications are occurring in both Maryland and Virginia.The U.S. Department of Treasury's March 2012 Making Home Affordable Summary Results indicates Maryland had 2,164 loan modifications and Virginiahad 1,511 since the inception of the Home Affordable Modification Program.
The article also includes a quote that "in nine and a half out of 10 cases, modifications don't work and the homes are eventually foreclosed on." In fact, 94 percent of homeowners granted permanent modifications are still current on their mortgage six months after the modification.
Finally, the article mentions that Maryland has a longer foreclosure time line than Virginia, but neglects to mention that experts disagree about the impact of the longer foreclosure time line on the housing market recovery.As the data in your article indicates, state foreclosure policy is only one of many factors that determines how quickly the housing market recovers.
Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington
Director of Community Planning and Services,
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments