BofA Opens Outreach Center to Help Troubled Borrowersby Tim Manni
Bank of America recently opened up a “customer outreach center” in the Boston area to better serve struggling mortgage borrowers. While we know this news will only serve to help a finite group of borrowers, we think that the strategy BofA is incorporating to help these borrowers will be a successful one. Professionals from BofA’s home loan department will be meeting with borrowers one-on-one:
Homeownership retention specialists at the outreach center will meet with homeowners by appointment only in order to maximize the value of each session and assure that each borrower arrives prepared with required documentation, is met promptly and receives the full attention of a Bank of America associate.
To determine eligibility for the federal government’s Making Home Affordable program or other Bank of America modification or foreclosure avoidance programs, customers will be asked to sign an authorization for the bank to receive each borrower’s income tax return and bring specific financial documents to their appointment.
The phone number to make an appointment at customer outreach center is 781.251.4000. Appointments are available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The center is not set up for walk-in consultations.
Last year we wrote about a successful foreclosure-prevention program in Philadelphia that brought borrower and lender together in the same room for a “conciliation conference.” Last November we wrote how the Philly program was becoming a national model. While it seems BofA is certainly taking the first step in trying to replicate this successful foreclosure-prevention strategy, there’s one key difference:
But in Philadelphia there is one crucial difference: the mortgage companies have no choice but to participate. They have to attend the conferences and negotiate in good faith or they cannot proceed with a sheriff’s sale.
Regardless of the differences, it’s encouraging to hear that a lender — especially one that has been highly criticized by our readers — is stepping up their efforts to keep borrowers in their homes.
If any of you attend one of these “customer outreach centers” please let us know — we’d love to hear all about it!