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?
They should call Chase at the phone number that is on their mortgage statement.
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)?
Borrowers concerned they may miss a payment should call their lender. It is never too early to start the discussion.
Should a borrower ask to speak with someone specific?
If a borrower calls Chase to discuss possible payment difficulties, the initial discussions will be handled through the customer care department.
A borrower who goes into default will be assigned an individual Chase representative who is trained to understand the customer's individual financial situation. The representative will help the customer try to bring the loan up to date.
If the problem is long term, each customer will be assigned to a homeowner's assistance representative. The specially trained representative gets to know the customer's individual circumstances, income and expenses.
What information should borrowers have available when they call?
Initially, the borrower should have their loan information including the loan number that can be found on their statement.
As the process moves forward Chase may ask borrowers for additional information. For example, in the loan modification process Chase asks borrowers to provide their two most recent bank statements, their two most recent pay stubs, their most recent federal income tax returns and a hardship letter.
What types of solutions might be available to borrowers?
Chase continues to explore and implement additional ways to assist customers and keep them in their homes. These include:
- The Foreclosure Rescue Program. Designed to help any customer serviced by Chase at any point during the foreclosure process. Up until five days before a foreclosure, Chase will put it on hold and review the file to see if anything can be done to prevent foreclosure.
- The Enhanced Streamline Refinance Program. Uses prequalification and streamlined documentation to convert more customers with Chase-owned adjustable-rate mortgages to fixed-rate mortgages with minimal processing.
- Local efforts. These include foreclosure prevention meetings at a local hotel or church that connect Chase representatives face-to-face with struggling homeowners. Sponsored by community groups, the government or simply by Chase, the meetings have shown promising early results.
In December 2007, Chase joined with government and industry leaders in supporting a new federal initiative designed to keep more homeowners in their homes. The five-year, interest-rate freeze for qualifying borrowers will help Chase further streamline its process to review and approve loan modifications for qualified homeowners.
|To qualify for the 'fast track' program, borrowers must:|
|1.||Live in the home.|
|2.||Be current on the loan.|
|3.||Have less than 3 percent equity in the home, either at origination or currently.|
|4.||Have a current FICO credit score less than 660 and it cannot have risen more than 10 percent since the loan was originated.|