On June 2, Bank of America began its new mortgage program for eligible underwater borrowers which includes an earned principal forgiveness in a loan modification. Bank of America mailed out an initial round of letters notifying customers who may qualify. Upon review of these customer applications, the first trial offers for the program could find their way to distressed borrowers as early as the second half of June.
For qualifying borrowers, the bank will employ a principal reduction as the first step toward reaching HAMP’s affordable payment target of 31 percent of household income, ahead of lowering the interest rate and extending the term. The reduced principal balance will be a non-interest bearing forbearance amount and the homeowner may earn forgiveness of the forborne amount by remaining in good standing on payments for several years.
To be eligible for principal forgiveness under the Bank of America plan, the amount of principal owed must exceed the current property value by at least 20 percent and the loan must be at least 60 days past due. In addition, the loan must have been originated by Countrywide before January 1, 2009.