CALABASAS, Calif. and NEW ORLEANS, La., Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/
— Countrywide Financial Corporation (NYSE: CFC - News) and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (”ACORN”) announced a joint initiative to develop a blueprint for home retention programs, with a particular focus on subprime borrowers. “Countrywide and ACORN share the belief that subprime borrowers who have demonstrated the ability and willingness to make payments should not face foreclosure solely as the result of a rate reset,” said Maude Hurd, National President of ACORN.
Countrywide and ACORN anticipate final release of the groundbreaking provisions of the home retention initiative soon after the New Year. Both parties believe that the plan will provide a road map and positive benefits to subprime borrowers experiencing financial difficulties in this challenging environment.
ACORN has been one of the nation’s leading community organizations fighting to retain the dream of homeownership for American families. From working to pass groundbreaking legislation cracking down on predatory lending to lobbying Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke personally in an effort to secure stronger protections for borrowers, ACORN was among the very first to raise the specter of the looming subprime crisis more than a year ago. ACORN has assisted thousands in recent months facing the problems of rate resets and potential delinquencies by organizing Foreclosure Fairs in the most impacted areas in country. Through ACORN’s affiliate the non-profit ACORN Housing Corporation, they have been providing free housing counseling to low- and moderate-income homebuyers and assisted thousands of distressed borrowers facing foreclosure through their Chicago call center.
Countrywide has been proactively working with its borrowers to find home retention solutions. In November 2007, Countrywide completed 12,565 loan modifications for its customers, an increase of 1,473% from the same time last year (799 modifications completed in November 2006). This brings the number of modifications for the year to 45,735.
“During the first 11 months of 2007, Countrywide helped more than 69,000 customers retain their homes through solutions such as loan modifications, long-term repayment plans, special forbearance and other options,” said Steve Bailey, Countrywide Senior Managing Director Loan Administration. “We want to emphasize strongly that customers experiencing difficulty making their loan payments should contact us as soon as possible, even if they do not have a mortgage with a rate reset. Regardless of the reason for the payment difficulties, Countrywide wants to try to find reasonable solutions for our borrowers.”
Countrywide provided the following information on the ongoing home preservation efforts: November Info Year-to-Date Count % Count % Loan Modifications 12,565 81.21 % 45,735 59.33 % Long-term Repayment Plans 960 6.20 % 11,148 14.46 % Special Forbearance 232 1.50 % 4,191 5.44 % Partial Claims 139 .90 % 1,743 2.26 % Other Workout Efforts 667 4.31 % 6,354 8.24 % Total Home Retention Efforts 14,563 94.12 % 69,171 89.03 % Short Sales 803 5.19 % 6,880 8.95 % Deeds-in-Lieu 106 .69 % 1.039 1.35 % Total Workouts 15,472 100 % 77,090 100 %Borrowers experiencing a financial hardship and needing immediate assistance can call Countrywide’s Home Retention Division at 800-669-6650. Those borrowers who might prefer to work with an ACORN Housing representative can call (866) 67-ACORN.
Founded in 1969, Countrywide Financial Corporation is a diversified financial services provider and a member of the S&P 500, Forbes 2000 and Fortune 500. Through its family of companies, Countrywide originates, purchases, securitizes, sells, and services residential and commercial loans; provides loan closing services such as credit reports, appraisals and flood determinations; offers banking services which include depository and home loan products; conducts fixed income securities underwriting and trading activities; provides property, life and casualty insurance; and manages a captive mortgage reinsurance company. For more information about the Company, visit Countrywide’s website at http://www.countrywide.com.
Founded in 1970, ACORN is the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 350,000 member families organized into more than 1000 neighborhood chapters in 103 cities across the country. ACORN has long been a leader in assuring full compliance with the principles of community reinvestment and financial justice to build assets and stability in American’s urban neighborhoods. ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. (http://www.acorn.org)