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?
Contact the Wachovia at the first sign of being unable to make your mortgage payment. The number to contact is usually on the billing statement provided by Wachovia.
When should they call you -- before they're late with their first payment, or some time later on (e.g., 60 to 90 days after missing the first payment)?
Contact Wachovia as early as possible once the borrower knows there will be a challenge with the payment.
Who should they ask to speak to?
Ask for the loss mitigation or loan collections department. Or, directly dial the following:
- Customer service: (800) 642-0257.
- Loan counseling: (800) 282-3451.
What information should they have available when they call?
Have a complete package of financial information available, including income data (W-2 forms) and expenses information (all bills, expenses, etc., for which the borrower is currently responsible).
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What types of solutions might be available to them?
Solutions range from a payment plan for short-term relief to a loan modification for longer-term financial challenges. If you are having problems paying your mortgage or think you will have problems, contact Wachovia -- the earlier the better, as more and better options will be available to you.
Wachovia has people who are trained to handle these calls. We will work with you whether or not you have already missed payments. But if you already have missed payments, there are generally three options for making you current on your mortgage.
These options are:
- Increase your monthly payments over time by an agreed upon amount
to make up the difference in missed payments.
- Add the missed payments onto the end of the mortgage term.
- Rewrite the terms of the loan.
Do you accept partial payments?
Yes we do, depending on the amount of delinquency, the reason for default and the current status of the loan.
What percentage of people can expect to get some type of workout of their mortgage?
It's difficult to determine the percentage of borrowers who can receive payment assistance. The factors that make mitigation successful are the borrower's ability and willingness to pay going forward.
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?
We review the entire state of the loan. Different mitigation options are available depending on the tenure of the loan, the current payment amount and the specific financial situation of the borrower.
Is it helpful if they contact a
credit counselor who can work with them on the process?
Yes, by talking with a certified credit counselor, borrowers will be able to better understand their options for other debts and begin the education process for more effective financial planning for the long term.
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.