ING Direct to Suspend Foreclosures Until March

November 24, 2008 No Comments »

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It appears ING Direct has answered Fannie and Freddie’s call to help struggling homeowners by freezing foreclosures through the holidays.

The Dutch-bank and Internet-based mortgage lender said today it will suspend foreclosure sales on owner-occupied single-family residences through the end of March 2009.

Additionally, it will suspend evictions from occupied single-family properties until January 15, “in the spirit of the holidays.”

“As a responsible lender, ING Direct keeps the mortgages we originate; we do not sell them to Wall Street,” said Arkadi Kuhlmann, ING Direct CEO. “We help customers buy homes with mortgages only if we believe they are suitable and affordable. Consequently, once we get customers into a home, we work hard to help them stay there.

“We hope this foreclosure suspension will provide some relief during the holidays to those experiencing financial hardships. I call on others in the mortgage industry to step up and help homeowners with foreclosure relief during these difficult times.”

However, it’s unclear if ING, a provider of hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages, is launching a streamlined loan modification program to accompany the move.

The company provides 5/1 and 7/1 ARMs, which though more risky than standard 30-year fixed-mortgages, are a far cry from the option-arms and short-term ARMs offered by now struggling and defunct lenders.

On November 12, ING reported a $750 million third-quarter loss, its first ever quarterly loss, thanks to the ongoing housing and financial crisis.

Last week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they would suspend all foreclosure sales and related evictions from November 26 to January 9, essentially delaying 16,000 proposed sales.

The pair also called on individual lenders to do their part, so we may see a number of other banks and lenders announce similar action over the next few weeks.

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