I have noticed a recent shift in the behavior of some of the large banks where they are aggressively contacting borrowers that are behind and telling them they need to list their house with a Realtor and do a short sale. It appears the banks want to get the bad loans off their books faster. Another change seems to be a more aggressive stance in selling off these loans as well. The bottom line is first lien mortgage holders appear to be moving faster and be more amenable to completing short sales. Getting approval for the second mortgages may still be the more difficult part of the problem.
However, that's not going to happen anytime soon. Yet, Fannie and Freddie have lit some fires under the feet several banks, and now some of those banks are starting to dance. Maybe that will "encourage" more banks to engage/negotiate more, but I won't hold my breath.
At the same time, agents are finding that training in short sale specialization (i.e. SFR and CDPE) provides the tools to successfully pursue, procure and process short sale listings. The same training is also valuable when working with short sale buyers.