Re-Default Risk of Modified Mortgages

38 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2014 Last revised: 11 Jun 2014

See all articles by Jian Chen

Jian Chen

IFE Group; CreditWise Technology Company Limited; Caixin Insight Group; MSCI Inc.

Jin Xiang

Integrated Financial Engineering Inc.

Tyler T. Yang

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) - Portfolio Management

Date Written: May 19, 2014


During the recent housing recession and financial crisis, mortgage modification has been heavily promoted by government as a way to stabilize the housing and the national banking systems. Numerous programs, such as the Home Owners Preserving Equity (HOPE), Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP), and Home Affordability Refinance Program (HARP), were introduced or enhanced to allow more aggressive modifications than traditionally observed prior to the crisis. Loan modification is believed to be a way to avoid foreclosure and help borrowers to keep their homes. However, the effectiveness of modification in preventing eventual foreclosure has not been quantified.

In this paper, we use FHA modified loans to analyze their re-default risk. We use loan-level data to trace the performance of loans with heavy modifications. We have three major empirical findings. First, the empirical model shows that modified loans tend to have much higher re-default risk than otherwise identical never-defaulted loans. Second, the re-default model shows that re-default hazard is less sensitive to traditional risk drivers, compared with non-modified loans. Third, the re-default risk declines initially with the magnitude of the payment reduction associated with the modification received. However, as the payment reduction becomes substantial, the re-default probability increases.

Our empirical results suggest payment reduction is most effective around 10% to 30% level, in order to reduce the re-default risk. The effect is relatively flat between 30% to 40% level. Payment reduction beyond 40% level turned to increase re-default risk, controlling for all observable variables. These findings have profound implications in how lenders may design optimal modification policies.

Keywords: Residential Mortgage, Default Risk, Credit Risk

JEL Classification: G21, G32, H81, R51

Suggested Citation

Chen, Jian and Xiang, Jin and Yang, Tyler T., Re-Default Risk of Modified Mortgages (May 19, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Jian Chen (Contact Author)

IFE Group ( email )

51 Monroe St., Suite 1100
Rockville, MD Maryland 20850
United States
3013096560 (Phone)
3013096562 (Fax)

CreditWise Technology Company Limited


Caixin Insight Group




Jin Xiang

Integrated Financial Engineering Inc. ( email )

51 Monroe Pl, Suite 1100
Rockville, MD 20850
United States
3013096560 (Phone)

Tyler T. Yang

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) - Portfolio Management ( email )

McLean, VA 22101
United States

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