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?
Borrowers should contact us at the earliest opportunity to share their situation and provide as much detail about their circumstances as possible. This will enable us to collect valuable data that can be used to help them through their financial hardship.
Many times, borrowers in trouble fear the bank and
avoid contact. However, if borrowers avoid contact, the bank cannot
provide any assistance. Customers should know that we are eager
to work with any borrowers who have the desire and ability to stay
in their home.
When should borrowers call you -- before they're late with their first payment, or sometime later on (e.g., 60 to 90 days after missing the first payment)?
Customers should call us as soon as they know they are in danger of falling behind on their payments. This could be at the onset of a life-changing event or after the realization that they cannot continue making payments.
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Should a borrower ask to speak with someone specific?
They should contact our collections department at (877) 908-4357.
Our loan counselors are trained to ask for and obtain key information
to assist the borrower with the appropriate workout options.
What information should borrowers have available when they call?
Customers should be ready to share their financial information. Detailed and complete financial information will better assist our loan counselors in placing the borrower into the most appropriate workout option.
What types of solutions might be available to borrowers?
We currently offer repayment plans, loan modifications, a short sale and deeds-in-lieu options to our customers. Each workout option is chosen based on the customer's specific situation. It is important to know that not all customers may qualify for the workout options presented.
Do you accept partial payments?
As a general rule of thumb, we do not accept partial payments except under specific circumstances related to a particular workout scenario.
What percentage of borrowers can expect to get some type of workout of their mortgage?
The ability to achieve a workout is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The key component in any workout scenario is for the borrower to contact the bank and seek assistance.
Are there any fees involved in the workout process?
Depending on the specific workout solution, there may be certain fees involved. These fees are not intended to be punitive in nature but are fees that the bank incurs (i.e., property inspection fees, foreclosure fees and costs, etc.).
Does the process differ depending on whether you are a borrower who is missing a regular payment or a borrower whose mortgage is about to reset?
We are reviewing all scenarios. While the primary focus may be on delinquent loans, we have had campaigns that target homeowners whose mortgage loans are about to reset.
Is it helpful if they contact a credit counselor who can work with you on the process?
We will work with anyone who is authorized to address the customer's situation. However, it is important for customers to know that if they contact us, we are trained and skilled at helping them find the most beneficial solution for them and that we will work with them free of charge. We also encourage our customers to contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency for assistance.
How did it go? Tell us about your experience using this information to work out a solution with your lender.