Thursday, November 1, 2007

Mortgage Counselors Face Uphill Battle

From the Associated Press:

“Counselors help homeowners examine their finances, what it will take to catch up with payments, if that's feasible, and how the foreclosure process works.

They also work with lenders, often spending hours trying to reach the right representative. Urban jokes that he has passed so time on hold he can play ‘name that tune’ with the canned music that's played.

Officials worry counselors may quit due to burnout or better jobs just as demand is soaring, said Meg Burns, director of the single family program development office for Housing and Urban Development.

‘I don't think people fully appreciate the pressure that's being put on those counselor organizations today,’ she said. ‘Everybody's pointing to counseling as ... (an) end-all be-all solution to this crisis and here we have all these nonprofit organizations struggling to provide services without adequate funding.’”

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Mortgage lenders rarely help homeowners struggling with rapidly increasing adjustable mortgages, according to survey of 33 California housing counseling agencies released on Wednesday…

…Politicians, banking regulators and consumer advocates have urged lenders to avert foreclosures through loan modifications. Banks in turn have publicly embraced the concept but have not provided statistics to show how common loan modification actually is…

…’The most striking thing that came out of this (study) is that there is a huge chasm between what the lenders are stating, which very well may be their policies, and what's happening on the ground. That clearly works to the detriment of homeowners and their communities.’”

From RIS Media:

"The upward trend of calls to the Homeownership Preservation Foundation’s Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline continues, with counselors fielding almost 60,000 calls in the third quarter of 2007. This doubles the call volume from the previous quarter and represents a more than ten-fold increase from the same quarter in 2006."

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