Program Helped Save Local Governments, Lenders, and Homeowners Approximately $920 Million; Clients Save $372 Million Annually in Monthly Mortgage Payments
Washington, DC – December 11, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — 1.5 million homeowners have received foreclosure prevention counseling by local nonprofits, national intermediaries and state housing finance agencies participating in the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program administered by NeighborWorks America, one of the nation’s largest community development corporations. The latest report on the NFMC program also found the program has helped save local governments, lenders, and homeowners approximately $920 million.
Also notable in the report, NFMC clients who received a mortgage modification lowered their monthly mortgage payment, on average, $176 more per month than non-NFMC clients which represents $372 million in annual savings to NFMC-counseled homeowners. With more fixed-rate mortgages and lower interest rates, mortgage terms are becoming more favorable for homeowners. The percentage of clients that reported having fixed-rate mortgages with interest rates at or below 8 percent increased from 30 percent in October 2008 to 57 percent in August 2012. Nearly 69 percent of NFMC program clients report holding fixed-rate mortgages.
On December 13 NeighborWorks America and the NFMC program will sponsor the inaugural NeighborWorks National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program Counselor Awards, which recognize the contributions of counselors whose tireless efforts help homeowners maintain homeownership and transition to suitable housing. The winners are the following: Jane Sokolowski – Catholic Charities (NY) for the Counselor of the Year Award; Betsy Carvajal – CredAbility (GA) for the Excellence in Counseling Award; Ali Tarzi – Community HousingWorks (CA) for the Excellence in Outreach & Professional Development Award; Amanda Diaz and Diego Tapia – Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises (HACE) (PA) for the Excellence in Personal Achievement Award; and Rose Marie Roberts – Utica Neighborhood Housing Services NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center (NY) for the Counselor Perseverance Award. More information about the award winners is available at http://www.nw.org/network/neighborworksProgs/awards/NFMCcounselorAwards.asp
“The NFMC program hits an important milestone with the announcement of 1.5 million served,” said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald. “A homeowner who receives help from the NFMC program saves significant money and time and, importantly, is able to remain in their home. The NFMC program has provided counseling in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. We’re proud to spotlight the excellence and perseverance of homeownership counselors in helping people to stay in their homes.”
The following are examples of clients the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program has served:
- Carol Homer (Cornville, Maine), a single 65-year-old mother of two and grandmother of four, was a real estate professional for 12 years when sales began to fall off for her employer and she lost her job. Unemployed and under-employed for 18 months, she was unable to keep up with her mortgage payments. Eventually the bank began foreclosure proceedings. During that time, someone recommended that she contact Kennebec Valley Community Action Program (KVCAP), a NFMC Grantee. She did, and it changed her life in ways she never could have foreseen. “KVCAP gave me the tools and the language I needed,” she says. “They empowered me.” Carol stayed in her home by reaching an agreement with her lender for a Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) mortgage.
- Darren Ernst (Cleveland, Ohio), a divorced dad who shares custody of his two teenage children, lost his job as a truck driver. Darren was able to find a job driving for another company in just one month, but it paid less than his previous job. He decided to stop paying some of his other bills in order to keep up with the mortgage payment. Still struggling, Darren was thinking about just walking away from his home. But someone told him about NHS of Greater Cleveland, where he worked with his counselor, Darren Hamm. The two worked together to find a solution. “He walked me through everything. He was there for me, and he got everything straightened out,” says Darren. “If I had questions, I could call any time and ask.” The counselor worked with the lender to reduce Darren’s principal balance by almost $60,000. Darren stayed in his home.
The full report to Congress on the NFMC program is available at http://www.nw.org/network/nfmcp/documents/2012DecemberCongressionalReport.pdf
For more information about NeighborWorks America, go to www.nw.org.
About NeighborWorks America
For nearly 35 years, NeighborWorks America has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.
Lindsay Moore, , 202-220-6317, twitter: @neighborworkspr