The Obama administration's Housing Scorecard for November was released on Dec. 9 and it notes the progress made in the purchase of new homes, rising home prices and declining foreclosures, but it notes "the overall recovery remains fragile."The scorecard also singles out mortgage servicers and the need "to improve servicer behavior," according to a press release on the latest scorecard findings. "The standards set by the Making Home Affordable program have transformed the mortgage servicing industry, as have our quarterly servicer assessments," said Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler . He added, "While the country as a whole has made significant progress, there is still room for improvement for servicers and the Treasury is committed to applying pressure on the mortgage servicing industry to improve servicer behavior. Although the housing market has largely recovered, there are still homeowners struggling and it is key that we continue to help them." As part of the Making Home Affordable program, the Treasury Department has been assessing servicer performance on a quarterly basis and reporting the findings in three categories of implementation of the program. Those categories are: 1) identifying and contacting homeowners; 2) homeowner evaluation and assistance; and 3) program management and reporting. In a press release announcing the November scorecard results, the administration said third-quarter 2013 servicer assessments had been expanded to include new compliance metrics and related benchmarks. Specifically, the servicer assessments have been modified to tighten the performance benchmarks for existing compliance metrics in addition to expanding the coverage of certain existing metrics. The assessments also have added three new compliance metrics, such as servicer compliance with timely assignment of a single point of contact. The press release announcing the November scorecard with the third-quarter servicer assessments stated, "Although this quarter's results indicate one servicer needs substantial improvement, on average servicer performance has improved since the inception of the Servicer Assessment reports. This is evidenced by an average income calculation error rate of 0.8 percent for this quarter." The third-quarter 2013 servicer assessments found that three servicers need minor improvement in their compliance efforts, three need moderate improvement and one needs substantial improvement. Other findings in the November scorecard include the fact that more than 1.2 million permanent modifications have been completed under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) through October, while HOPE NOW lenders have completed more than 3.8 million proprietary modifications through September. The scorecard noted that in October 69 percent of "eligible non-GSE [non-government-sponsored enterprise] mortgages benefited from principal reduction with their HAMP modification." More than 1.2 million permanent modifications have been completed under HAMP through October.
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