Bankrate asked 10 top lenders -- Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, Countrywide, IndyMac, National City, Residential Capital (GMAC), Wachovia, WaMu and Wells Fargo -- to outline their procedures for helping struggling borrowers save their homes.
What is the first thing borrowers should do if they are at risk of missing a payment?
Notify Bank of America. It is at that early stage that the most remedies can be explored.
When should they call you -- before they're late with their first payment, or some time later (e.g., 60 to 90 days after missing the first payment)?
Ideally, as soon as they know they may miss a payment. Consumers might delay, if for no other reason than embarrassment. We encourage people to see us as a helpful resource.
Who should they ask to speak to?
If they see a service center number on their mortgage statement,
they will be directed to the right person. Otherwise, they should
What information should they have available when they call?
They should have information about their current financial situation. We will already have the mortgage balance, etc., on hand.
What types of solutions might be available to them?
- Repayment plans that allow a delinquent loan to be brought current.
- Forbearance plans that would suspend borrower payments for a short period of time.
- Modifications and refinances that can help make a loan affordable for the long term.
Again, the sooner borrowers contact Bank of America, the better we will be able to help them.
|Find your lender
Do you accept partial payments?
This depends on the customer's individual circumstance.
What percentage of people can expect to get some type of workout of their mortgage?
We prefer to not tie solutions to percentages because it is a customer-by-customer situation.
Does the process differ depending on whether you are a homeowner who is missing a regular
payment or a homeowner whose mortgage is about to reset?
Is it helpful if they contact a credit counselor
who can work with them on the process?
Perhaps. Borrowers need to make sure the credit counselor is reputable and has their interest at heart, rather than simply to collect fees. The customer is usually better off dealing directly with Bank of America, because we know all the details about their situation. Their local NeighborWorks America is a great place to bounce ideas off nonbiased credit counselors.
Are there fees associated with a workout option?
How did it go? Tell us about your experience using this information to work out a solution with your lender.