Fannie Mae Announces STAR Program-Here We Go Again!

In yet another futile attempt to show homeowners how much Fannie & Freddie want to "help" them, Fannie announced the STAR Program on February 23, 2011.

Basically, the program provides incentives for servicing companies for doing what they should already be doing...Making decisions that not only benefit Fannie & Freddie financially (and in turn, the taxpayers that are funding them), but also helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Following is an excerpt from the announcement..

"We created the STAR Program to promote transparency, accountability and excellence in mortgage servicing and to recognize those which consistently deliver strong, customer-driven results," said Leslie Peeler, Vice President of Servicing Portfolio Management. "The efforts of servicers are critical to preventing foreclosures and providing homeowners assistance. By creating measurable expectations for our servicers aligned with Fannie Mae's business objectives, we hope to sharpen servicers' focus and encourage them to continue to work with us toward our shared priority: keeping people in their homes."

A key component of the STAR Program is the Servicer Performance Scorecard, which provides monthly performance snapshots and trends for key performance indicators to help servicers effectively assess their progress. Top-ranked servicers will be eligible to receive incentive awards and recognition. Rankings of top performers will be made available to the public in an annual scorecard.  (Notice that only "top-ranked" performers will be made available to the public.  What about the "bottom-ranked" performers?)

"The STAR Program is an innovative approach in managing and evaluating servicers' performance, and we believe it will improve customer satisfaction and overall housing outcomes for struggling customers," said Jay Bray, Executive Vice President of Nationstar Mortgage. "We applaud Fannie Mae's efforts to develop a comprehensive assessment and rewards program." (Of course the servicers applaud being paid financial incentives, on top of the ridiculous fees that they are already charging Fannie/Freddie)

Ok, so let me get this straight...  On one hand, Fannie is now issuing fines to lenders who do not foreclose "in a timely manner".  But now, they want to provide incentives (paid for by the taxpayers) for those lenders who actually do what they're supposed to be doing all along?

Here's a novel idea... How about issuing fines to those servicing companies that ARE NOT doing their job?  How about giving homeowners and their agents a hotline to call when servicers choose to play by their own rules?

Nope, they would rather just give servicing companies more money (for doing what is already expected of them), at the expense of the American taxpayer.

The new STAR Program announced by Fannie is nothing more than an attempt to convince homeowners that they actually give a damn about avoiding foreclosure.  The bottom line is, until the government stops "making them whole" by reimbursing them for foreclosing, they will continue to look at foreclosure as their best alternative.

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Bob Hertzog

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Copyright © By Bob Hertzog 2011 *Fannie Mae Announces STAR Program-Here We Go Again!*