April 29, 2010 9:17 pm

Senior Treasury Advisor and HAMP architect Wheeler resigns

This article is provided to FT.com readers by Debtwire—the most informed news service available for financial professionals in fixed income markets across the world. www.debtwire.com

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Seth Wheeler, a senior advisor at the US Treasury Dept. who helped craft the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), has resigned, a Treasury spokesman confirmed to Debtwire.

Formerly a banker at Morgan Stanley, Wheeler was one of few holdovers in the Obama Administration hired under former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Wheeler wrote in a 15 April email that he would be leaving his position, one investor said.

“It looked like he just couldn’t get things done, and he was very frustrated,” the investor speculated. “I think he was hamstrung by a lot of things that were going on there.” Wheeler did not respond to a telephone call for comment this morning.

The current administration initially intended HAMP to reach 3m-4m US homeowners but fell far short of its goal. According to Treasury’s March report on the program’s progress, just 230,801 borrowers had obtained a permanent modification, while 108,212 were pending and an additional 780,951 resided in trial payment periods.

While some contend the program was created to act as a temporary crutch to stall a wave of foreclosures and falling home prices, Congressional furor over the few permanent modifications the program has churned out has grown. During a 14 April hearing before the House Financial Services Committee to determine why so few modifications have cleared, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) asked, “Do we need to hire more FBI agents, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin?”

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