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Countrywide Pledges to Help More Borrowers


Countrywide said today that it has expanded its home retention efforts by reaching an agreement with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) to take a “systematic approach” to loan workouts.

The Calabasas, CA-based mortgage lender will assist borrowers with subprime hybrid ARMs who have strong payment history but face difficulty with higher monthly payments as the result of an interest rate reset.

Solutions include refinancing these borrowers into prime loans or executing a loan modification program that offers a five-year extension of the interest rate prior to the reset.

“Through this partnership, Countrywide and ACORN have agreed to a set of home retention standards to help borrowers who are in various situations of financial difficulty to establish suitable repayment plans or other solutions,” Steve Bailey, Countrywide’s senior managing director of loan administration, said in a statement.

For delinquent subprime borrowers in both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans, the partnership will streamline affordable home retention options that include short-term repayment plans or loan modifications aligned with identified affordability standards.

“Countrywide and ACORN share the belief that no subprime borrower who has demonstrated the ability and willingness to make payments should face foreclosure,” said Maude Hurd, ACORN’s president, in a statement.

“We hope others in the mortgage servicing industry will adopt similar practices,” Hurd added.

Last month, Countrywide said it helped more than 80,000 borrowers stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure through loan modifications and other workout methods, but consumer advocacy groups like ACORN demanded more.

Those in need of assistance can call Countrywide’s Home Retention Division directly at 800-669-6650 or contact the ACORN Housing call center at 866-67-ACORN for counseling assistance.

Shares of Countrywide were up 13 cents, or 1.98 percent, to $6.71 in midday trading on Wall Street.

Details of the plan will be released later today…updates to follow…

(Photo: BigPru)

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