M&T Bank : What is HARP
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What is HARP?

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was introduced in 2009 and aimed to assist “underwater borrowers” (those who owed more on their mortgage than the market value of their home) by giving them the opportunity to refinance their Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages.

For various reasons the program fell short of its intended goals, and as a result, a newer version of the program called HARP 2.0 was born in November 2011. HARP 2.0 offers borrowers expanded eligibility and lower borrowing costs.

Expanded Eligibility
The government relaxed eligibility standards for HARP 2.0 in order to open the refinance opportunity to a larger group of borrowers. One significant change allows eligibility for borrowers with Loan-to-Value ratios (LTVs) above 125%. This change is especially relevant in states hit hard by declining home values.

HARP 2.0 also has more relaxed credit history requirements. The original HARP program required borrowers to make 12 consecutive monthly mortgage payments, while the new program allows borrowers one 30 day delinquency in a 12 month period*.

Learn more about HARP eligibility guidelines.

Lower Borrowing Costs
Under the original HARP program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charged interest rate adjustments to borrowers with higher LTVs or lower credit scores making it difficult for borrowers with decreased home values to take advantage of the program. HARP 2.0 reduces, and in some cases eliminates these rate adjustments, greatly assisting with lowering monthly mortgage payments.

HARP 2.0 also allows for reduced closing costs. Credit score & income verification are not required, eliminating the costs to perform those services. And in many cases full appraisals are not required, allowing lenders to pass on additional savings. Some estimates indicate that HARP 2.0 closing costs could be up to half of what they were under the original program.

Visit makinghomeaffordable.gov for more details about HARP 2.0.

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was also introduced by the federal government in 2009. The HAMP program is designed to assist borrowers who are having difficulty making their monthly mortgage payments, while HARP provides a refinance opportunity to borrowers who are current, but their home value has decreased.

Get started now
To speak with an M&T Mortgage professional regarding your HARP eligibility, please call 1-888-253-0799 (8:30am – 7:00PM ET, Monday – Friday).
*Delinquency cannot have occurred in the most recent 6 month period.
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