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Authors

Alan M. White

Abstract

This article examines voluntary efforts by mortgage servicers to resolve the mortgage debt overhang by renegotiating mortgage terms with borrowers. Data from national reports on mortgage modifications, as well as from monthly remittance reports by mortgage servicers to their investors is analyzed. The author provides background of the voluntary plan to resolve the subprime mortgage crisis and previous reports on voluntary loan modifications, and presents data on loan modification outcomes. The author concludes that the voluntary mortgage renegotiation plan, while significantly reducing hardship for individual homeowners temporarily, does little to get at the underlying problem of debt overhang. Furthermore, that the subprime crisis will drag on without a solution such as bankruptcy reform or legislated debt reduction.

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