Foreclosure prevention group Hope Now released a new set of universal guidelines today aimed at expediting its services and keeping more borrowers in their homes.
Among the changes, the new guidelines establish a streamlined timetable that will be utilized by all Hope Now mortgage servicers working with troubled homeowners.
Member servicers will be required to send outreach letters to borrowers 60 days or more past due and homeowners holding subprime adjustable-rate mortgages and other ARMs that have a “probable risk of default 120 days in advance of reset.”
Once at-risk borrowers and servicers connect, homeowners will be asked to provide a series of documents, including W2’s, paystubs, bank statements, current liabilities, a hardship letter, and more.
The servicer will then speak with investors and/or mortgage insurance companies connected to the mortgage in question, and will generally come up with a loss mitigation decision within 45 days of receipt of documentation.
Assuming a loan modification is approved, the borrower will receive information regarding the new terms of the proposal, the new payment amount, and the next payment due date.
To keep the process speedy, member servicers will be asked to monitor their loss mitigation inventory, prioritizing and closing applications within the allotted time period and withdrawing offers if a homeowner does not act in a set period of time.
To improve communication between borrower and servicer, status letters, phone calls, and e-mails will be carried out, and notifications will make it clear that borrowers should continue to make payments and work with Hope Now, even if they receive foreclosure notices from attorneys or other representatives.
New to the program will be guidance to deal with short sales and second mortgages, which Hope Now believes will open the doors to even more beneficial loss mitigation efforts.
More than 25 mortgage companies and servicers have agreed to meet the new standards within 60 days.
They have also agreed to track and report on the performance of their efforts to better gauge industry progress towards reducing foreclosures.