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June 24th, 2011 (Modified on June 26th, 2011)

Foreclosure assistance: A strategy to increase your chances of success

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ApprovedThe same complaints this blog has been receiving (for years) from frustrated homeowners regarding the federal modification program, HAMP, have reached the Huffington Post:

…the bank told him he had to miss payments to qualify for help. When he missed the payments, the bank began pursuing a foreclosure. One day someone from Chase would say one thing, the next, someone else would say something completely different.

Dozens of homeowners have told HuffPost over the past two years that every time they call their bank about their modification, they reach a different employee who has a different set of facts about the case. And the facts are critical facts: One employee will say a modification has been approved, while another will say the home is going into foreclosure.

Demand a single point of contact

In light of these common frustrations, a new strategy (one I believe should have been in place since day one) has slowly and spottily been adopted between homeowners and lenders: developing a “single point of contact.”

The single point of contact has been something both housing advocates and housing counselors have pushed for a long time now. According to this strategy’s proponents, the results speak for themselves:

But in the rare instances in which borrowers have a single point of contact with their bank, the foreclosure relief process involves far less anguish and results in a lot more loan modifications.

“It definitely makes a big difference,” says Linda Ingram, Director of Foreclosure Intervention at Beyond Housing, a homeowner counseling agency based in St. Louis. “You’re not calling into La La Land with someone who maybe got the job yesterday and doesn’t know how to read the system or follow their notes.”

‘Single point’ could be harder than ever these days

While a spokesperson from Chase said that their single point of contact strategy has been in place for nine months now, Chase admitted their program is ”still evolving.”

While I’ve heard nothing that lends me to believe that the single point of contact is something that’s being implemented by lenders across the board, things may get even tougher for homeowners in this regard.

Housing counselors have played a big part in facilitating a single point of contact for homeowners, but with recent HUD cuts, many housing counselors are expected to lose their jobs, making this direct contact harder than ever these days.

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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