The announcement of President Barack Obama's Making Home Affordable plan took the mortgage industry by storm but, so far, it's been slow going to actually get consumers help.
So slow, in fact, that Treasury officials last week disclosed how many eligible mortgages had been modified by major banks—seen as an attempt to shame the laggards, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, into moving more aggressively.
"This is a big problem—3.1 million people are 60 days past due. The pipeline of troubled borrowers is still very large," says Faith Schwartz, executive director of Hope Now
, an alliance of housing counselors, mortgage lenders and other industry professionals.
Why has the plan not been more of an immediate success?
Part of the answer is that many homeowners who need help are confused. Also, many servicers weren't ready to deal with the influx of people needing modifications.
Here's how to figure out if you're eligible:
You have to meet a litany of requirements. You must be the occupant, you can't owe more than $729,750 on a one-unit home, your first mortgage must have originated before January 1 and your monthly payment has to be more than 31 percent of your pretax income. You're also going to have to prove financial hardship.