(Source: By Debra Gruszecki, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif. (MCT) – With the housing market and mortgage financing industry still under pressure, Fannie Mae has opened a satellite office to help homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure.
The satellite office to the Mortgage Help Center of Los Angeles is in Ontario, across from the Citizens Business Bank Arena where the San Bernardino and Ontario freeways meet.
Fannie Mae officials chose the site to give its Inland Empire clients easier access to counselors so they can work through the steps to modify first and second liens, obtain unemployment forbearance or facilitate short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure.
“This kind of homeowner experience reduces miscommunication with the loan servicers and establishes clear expectations of the entire process,’’ said Allan Armijo, manager of the Los Angeles and Inland Empire Mortgage Help Center. “We’ve long felt the Inland Empire was a key area for us to establish a bricks-and-mortar presence to better serve the area.”
Fannie Mae, which claims to be the largest foreclosure prevention operation in America for its mortgage clients, said it has helped almost 1 million homeowners retain their homes or otherwise avoid foreclosure since 2009.
“The big reason we’re here is we have over 265,000 Fannie Mae-backed loans in Riverside and San Bernardino County,’’ Armijo said. “Out of that, there are over 13,000 that are severely delinquent; that’s a large number.”
The Greater Los Angeles Mortgage Help Center, one of 12 opened by Fannie Mae in America’s hardest-hit housing markets, has since its opening in October 2010 helped 2,300 client borrowers obtain a non-foreclosure solution — some 63 percent of whom worked out a mortgage solution to stay in their homes, Armijo said.
In 2011, it helped 852 Fannie Mae borrowers stay in their homes, Armijo said. For the year, Armijo said the Los Angeles-based center has seen 1,600 customers — many who hailed from the hard-hit Inland region — and made 588 home retention decisions.
“Seventy percent of our interviews are over the phone,’’ Armijo said, and while the center is set up with home preservation in mind, homeowners are given clear indicators if a short sale process or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure process needs to be initiated.
The Inland Empire office will be staffed by the local nonprofit partner, Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services of Ontario. It is providing three full-time counselors, two intake officers and a receptionist, according to Clemente Mojica, president and chief executive of the Ontario housing services agency.
To learn more about the Inland Empire Mortgage Help Center, call 866-442-9409 or visit www.knowyouroptions.com
©2012 The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.)
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