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Foreclosure War Goes On Despite Lost Battle

Recent foreclosure prevention activity

September 29, 2008

By SAM GARCIA


Despite the collapse of the bailout bill, billions of dollars are still being thrown at foreclosures, politicians are still promoting their own agendas and political groups are still engaging in name calling -- all in the name of foreclosure prevention. Meanwhile, more services have emerged to help servicers manage a growing inventory of defaulted loans.

RES Locators announced last week that its marketing program combines the best practices of traditional real-estate owned listing agents with the high-impact advertising usually reserved for large public home auctions. The program promises to move REO properties quickly by using a Web site that is heavily advertised to consumers.

"We talked with our asset sellers to understand what they liked most and least about the various REO disposition strategies available," RES Locators Chief Executive Officer Ryan Knott said in the press release. "Lenders really preferred to keep local listing agents involved on a core level, but had concerns with the lack of advertising conducted by most agents who simply waited for seller price reductions to drive offers.

"At RES Locators, consumer advertising starts the first day each property hits the MLS and our online listing site, immediately driving large volumes of interested, qualified homebuyers specifically looking to acquire lender owned property."

Ocwen Financial Corp. said last week that it was granted a patent for its REALRemit electronic invoice management system, which streamlines the management of REO properties. The system enables third-party licensees to manage expenses, track costs and generate the best possible outcome for mortgage lenders and investors.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development said Friday that it has allocated a total of $3.9 billion as provisioned by H.R. 3221, The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The law, which was signed by President Bush on July 30, included the Community Development Block Grant for areas hit hardest by the housing crisis to buy foreclosed and vacant properties.

Dubbed the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the targeted funds will be used to purchase foreclosed homes at a discount and to rehabilitate or redevelop. Vacant land can also be acquired under the plan.

Ohio's Summit County will issue $12.5 million in tax-exempt bonds to help local borrowers who are facing foreclosures. Under the program, qualified delinquent borrowers who have negative equity sell their property to the Summit County Port Authority then lease it back with the opportunity to repurchase it in three to ten years at a value much lower than the current mortgage balance.

Citi announced last week that more than $1 million in the form of planning grants will be provided to local housing organizations in 12 communities hardest hit by residential housing foreclosures through the Citi Foundation Neighborhood Stabilization Planning Grants program. The funds will be used to enable the organizations to provide technical assistance to help revitalize low- and middle-income communities.

The Citi and Citi Foundation grants will also provide the organizations with funding for technical assistance to help communities apply for and secure portions of the $3.9 billion of federal funding allocated by HUD.

The Douglin Group recently touted The Foreclosure DVD: The Homeowner's Guide to Understanding Foreclosure and Saving Their Home. The 45-minute presentation instructs delinquent borrowers about how to understand their finances and helps them navigate the foreclosure avoidance process.

The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley is offering free one-on-one home counseling services to struggling and delinquent borrowers. The program, dubbed "I Thought It Was Me," is made possible through public funding and runs through December.

ACORN issued a statement last week calling for a 90-day moratorium on conventional loan foreclosures. The group is also calling for a waiver of delinquency fees and no derogatory reporting to credit bureaus. In addition, ACORN is looking for lenders to provide flexibility with modifications.

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer, Robert Menendez, Sherrod Brown and Bob Casey -- all Democrats -- issued letters earlier this month to the new CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac calling for a halt to all of their foreclosures for 90 days. The freeze would enable the companies to prepare for wholesale loan modifications on millions of loans.

The senators pointed to moves made by FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair as a precedent to follow.

AARP announced a study that found 684,000 borrowers at least 50-years-old were either delinquent or in foreclosure. The rate of foreclosures for black borrowers over 50 was more than double the rate for whites. In addition, older subprime borrowers are 17 times more likely to be in foreclosure than prime borrowers.

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Daniel Fowler issued a recent press release suggesting Republicans will try to deceive foreclosed borrowers by suggesting they cannot vote once they have been foreclosure on. The statement indicated that borrowers can vote where their home is if they haven't been evicted, while they need to re-register to vote at a new location if they've moved out.


Sam Garcia worked in mortgage lending for twenty years prior to becoming publisher of MortgageDaily.com.

e-mail: [email protected]


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