Frustrated borrowers stuck with the risky and unaffordable Pay Option ARM loans may be getting a break on their applications for a Wachovia loan modification. The recent final approval for the purchase of Wachovia by Wells Fargo Bank may open the door for a more aggressive loan modification program for homeowners facing default on their mortgage loans. Prior to the announcement of the purchase, Wachovia had implemented a beneficial loan workout program that offered their clients a low, step rate loan modification to help them avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.
However, during the finalization of the Wells Fargo take over, borrowers experienced an extremely uncooperative response when applying for a Wachovia loan modification. The previous program was discontinued, and borrowers were routinely told that Wachovia was not offering any type of loan modification program to needy borrowers. The most a homeowner could hope for was a payment deferral or repayment plan. These two options are short term solutions at best, and not beneficial to the majority of borrowers as a long term solution.
Now that shareholders have given the final approval for the buy out, predictions are that a more aggressive Wachovia loan modification program will be implemented to quickly resolve the high default rate on Pay Option ARM loans written for the majority of Wachovia customers. Wells Fargo $12.7 billion acquisition faces immediate stress as home foreclosures keep rising and unemployment forecasts paint a dim, and lengthy recession threat.
Wells Fargo now owns $482.4 billion dollars in a loan portfolio that will produce $60 billion in losses over the next three years, and about 60% of that will come from the Pay Option Arm mortgages. That is a big incentive to find a cost effective, far reaching and streamlined Wachovia loan modification program to help the lender get those bad loans off their books. Homeowners who have been facing a brick wall may now find that they will have the opportunity to obtain a loan workout to avoid foreclosure and stay in their home.
Borrowers trying to get a Wachovia loan modification will have to be patient and persistent for now. There is no time line in place yet, however homeowners who are actively pursuing a loan workout with Wachovia should stay the course and work within the current system so that they will be in position to move forward as soon as any new program is implemented. Wells Fargo will have to make some tough decisions on how to best write down these loans, but borrowers could see a real benefit as the lender moves forward to clean up the mess they inherited.