Mortgage Hotline Calls Surge in Fourth Quarter

January 15, 2008 No Comments »

The Homeownership Preservation Foundation said today that its HOPE Hotline received 143,000 calls during the fourth quarter, up from roughly 60,000 the previous quarter.

“We’re encouraged because more homeowners are being proactive in reaching out for help,” says Colleen Hernandez, president and executive director of HPF, in a statement.

“It’s reassuring that homeowners are addressing their mortgage issues earlier, however we need to continue to reach out to troubled homeowners to let them know there is help available,” she added.

The volume was more than 10 times the amount received during the first quarter of 2007, boosted by the promotion of the HOPE NOW Alliance.

According to HPF, more than 37,000 homeowners received counseling during the fourth quarter, a staggering increase from the 10,000 completed sessions in all of 2006.

Of all homeowners who called the hotline during the quarter, 31 percent were less than one month behind in mortgage payments, up from 24 percent during third quarter.

California accounted for 18 percent of the calls, followed by Ohio with 9 percent and Illinois with 5 percent.

In the previous quarter, California made up 14 percent, followed by Ohio with 12 percent and Illinois with 6 percent.

Those with adjustable-rate mortgages made up 48 percent of the calls, while fixed-rate mortgage holders accounted for 28 percent.

In the previous quarter, ARM holders accounted for 44 percent of the calls, and fixed-mortgage holders represented 33 percent of total calls.

The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) is a nonprofit organization that operates a national 24/7 hotline providing free, bilingual assistance to help at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The hotline, which is a service of the HOPE NOW Alliance, can be reached 888-995-HOPE.

In related news, the California Reinvestment Coalition announced today that mortgage counseling agencies will receive $4.6 million over the next two years, potentially adding 50 or more new staff members at centers throughout the state.

The money was pledged by eight mortgage lenders, including Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, along with the San Francisco Foundation and the California Community Foundation.

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