|Chase estimates it will have modified $110 billion in mortgages by 2011. An enhanced loss mitigation plan involves more than 400 new positions.
The plan, announced today, includes option-ARM borrowers of Washington Mutual Bank and Bear Stearns Companies LLC-subsidiary EMC Mortgage Corp. Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co., which aquired WaMu and Bear this year.
Chase said alternatives being offered to option-ARM borrowers were inadequate. So it added more modification choices that eliminate negative amortization and improve affordability. Among the alternatives are 30-year, fixed-rate loans with affordable payments, principal deferral and interest-only payments for 10 years.
Existing and enhanced programs apply only to owner-occupied loans owned by Chase, WaMu or EMC. Investor approval would be required on other loans.
"Chase will open regional counseling centers, hire additional loan counselors, introduce new financing alternatives, proactively reach out to borrowers to offer pre-qualified modifications, and commence a new process to independently review each loan before moving it into the foreclosure process," the press release stated. "Chase expects to implement these changes within the next 90 days."
Included in the $110 billion estimate is a projection of $70 billion in modifications during the next two years. That activity would help around 400,000 borrowers.
Foreclosures have already been prevented on another 250,000 loans for $40 billion since 2007.
"We feel it is our responsibility to provide additional help to homeowners during these challenging times," Chase CEO of Retail Financial Services Charlie Scharf said in the statement.
The enhancements include a systematic portfolio review to determine which borrowers will require help. The company will proactively contact borrowers with pre-qualified modifications, as well as open 24 new regional counseling centers.
Chase plans on hiring 300 new loan counselors, which will bring its total counseling force to 2,500. The increased support staff is expected to help borrowers maintain contact with a single counselor throughout the process.
Additional steps will be added to the foreclosure process to ensure borrowers were offered appropriate modifications. Around 150 people with staff the new function.
Chase will also donate, or offer a substantial discounted sale on, 500 residential properties -- presumably REOs -- to community groups or non-profit or to government programs designed to stabilize communities.