Freddie and Fannie are (rightfully) the target of some serious criticism in the consumer defense sector -- FHFA Director Ed DeMarco's refusal to allow Freddie and Fannie to grant principal reductions on mortgages makes very little sense.
However, the FHFA has recently announced the Streamlined Modification Initiative, which begins July 1, and is available to borrowers at least 90-days past due. The new program is designed to push servicers to consider loss mitigation earlier rather than later -- a large chunk of the cost to struggling homeowners is curing missed payments and foreclosure fees in a loan modification. By considering homeowners for a modification earlier, this program can hopefully help eliminate some of that cost.
Additionally, the program will not require a large amount of paperwork. This measure is also designed to reduce timeframes for individuals seeking a loan modification. Once three trial payments are made, modification takes permanent effect. Hopefully, this will result in fewer situations where borrowers are trapped in a trial loan modification for months on end without ever receiving a permanent modification.
If you are a struggling homeowner and your loan is backed by Freddie or Fannie, then you should be opening all mail from your servicer -- you might just find that you've been included in this program.