Our Payments Are Getting Harder To Make ... Is Help Coming?

Have you been hanging on paying your home loan hoping that help is on the way? Some new programs have been, or will soon be, implemented that may be beneficial to you. One of the most wide-sweeping will be the recently announced Bank of America Nationwide Homeownership Retention Program for Countrywide Customers that is projected to assist 400,000 customers.

The centerpiece of the program is a proactive loan modification process intended to provide relief to eligible borrowers who are seriously delinquent, or are likely to become seriously delinquent, as a result of loan features, such as rate resets or payment recasts. The following statement by a BofA representative is one of the most sensible things we've heard from a lender in a long time, "By taking projected foreclosure losses and instead directing those funds into these proactive foreclosure prevention efforts, we create a solution in the best interests of both our customers and the investors whose loans and securities we service." Now we might get somewhere in helping folks stay in their homes.

The program is the result of a collaborative effort between BofA and several State Attorneys General. It is intended to protect the consumer while dismissing loan origination litigation against Countrywide. Bank of America acquired Countrywide July 1, 2008, and is looking to achieve affordable and sustainable mortgage payments for borrowers who financed their homes with subprime loans or pay option adjustable rate mortgages serviced by Countrywide and originated prior to December 31, 2007. "We are confident that together with the Attorneys General we have developed a comprehensive program that provides more solutions than ever before to assist troubled borrowers and put them back on the path to sustained home ownership,"

Modification options include, among others: FHA refinancing under the HOPE for Homeowners Program; interest rate reductions, which may be granted automatically through streamlined processing; and principal reductions on Pay Option adjustable rate mortgages that restore lost equity for certain borrowers. The program applies to eligible mortgage loan customers serviced by Countrywide and who occupy the home as their primary residence. Some loan modifications will be subject to compliance with servicing contracts and some will require investor approval. Details will vary according to loan and borrower circumstances.

Our advice: Countrywide will begin its proactive outreach to eligible borrowers on December 1, 2008. This is the first we've seen where a lender will consider working with a distressed borrower before they are behind in payments. If you have a Countrywide subprime, or Pay Option ARM loan we suggest that you investigate this program further to see how it could help you. A fact sheet on the BofA program can be found at http://my.countrywide.com/media/FinancialAssistance1.html. For a fact sheet on the FHA assistance program go to http://www.hud.gov/fha/home080730.cfm. BofA's is a proactive program which means they will be contacting you, but we advise that you do your homework before you are contacted.

Check out the websites, make some calls, and see what help is available to you. The relief is coming ... slowly and with conditions, but it is on the way and it could help you or somebody you know. Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472, carsonvalleyland@hotmail.com, www.carsonvalleyland.com


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