SOURCE: Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac

April 06, 2016 10:00 ET

Freddie Mac Strategically Invests in Borrower Help Centers With New Collaboration Platform

New Tools, Secure Connections Aim to Help Counselors Focus on People, Not Paperwork

MCLEAN, VA--(Marketwired - Apr 6, 2016) - Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) announced plans with Hope LoanPort® (HLP) to launch a new collaboration platform that will modernize the housing counseling industry so counselors can spend more time helping potential borrowers and less time on administrative tasks. 

Today's announcement marks the first step toward connecting Freddie Mac's Borrower Help Centers and Borrower Help Network on a voluntary basis to a comprehensive, secure platform that non-profit housing agencies can use to share information and interact with lenders to help more families become successful borrowers. This new initiative is being designed to help non-profit agencies reduce costs, assist more clients, and assert the housing counselors' role as a critical bridge linking lenders and future homeowners.

"Our Borrower Help Centers and Network are on the housing industry's front lines, working with families in local communities. This strategic investment underscores our commitment to help housing counselors prepare more borrowers for sustainable homeownership. It also further demonstrates our conviction that HUD-approved counseling agencies are a very important gateway to homeownership for America's families today," said Danny Gardner, vice president of Affordable Lending and Access to Credit, Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac's 13 Borrower Help Centers are HUD-approved non-profit counseling agencies located in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Borrowers can meet with housing counselors at the Borrower Help Centers in person or by telephone. The national Freddie Mac Borrower Help Network (877-300-4179) assists homeowners by telephone who do not live near a Borrower Help Center.

Connecting Counselors to Platform is Key to Helping More Borrowers

The keystone of the Freddie Mac modernization initiative is a dedicated software-as-a-service-(SaaS) based platform that will provide the participating Borrower Help Centers with new tools to work with consumers, connect with lenders and share sensitive data in a secure environment. By allowing all of the parties to work together more transparently, the platform can help reduce technology requirements, lower costs, and enable counselors to spend more time working with potential borrowers.

The rollout will begin by connecting counseling agency case management systems with the platform to streamline and automate several key processes, such as collecting, analyzing and reporting client data, assessing client readiness to buy a home, and referring clients who are ready for successful homeownership to lenders, seamlessly. 

The new platform will also result in greater data standardization and more efficient integration between Freddie Mac and the Borrower Help Centers and Network. Additional capabilities that integrate the platform with existing lender data systems will be launched later in 2016.

Camillo Melchiorre, president & CEO of HLP, said, "The fragmented nature of home buying often leads to confusion, misunderstanding and discouragement for many potential homeowners. This initiative will help bring HLP's proven experience and technology to the origination market to create a community that is working together to help more families achieve their dream of homeownership. Our platforms are the industry standard for enabling consumers, counselors and mortgage companies to work together in a transparent, scalable and secure manner."

Carrie T. Harris, president & CEO of The D&E Group, the Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center in Forest Park, Georgia, said, "We are both excited and optimistic about this launch of a collaboration platform, which will make phenomenal strides in bridging the gap between the lending community and its not-for profit partners. This initiative will collectively educate and empower local communities with the necessary tools to ensure long-term sustainable housing." 

Freddie Mac and HLP have begun meeting with individual Borrower Help Centers and Network to ensure the modernization process is implemented smoothly so they will be able to continue serving their clients without disruption. 

Hope LoanPort (HLP) is a national, 501c3 nonprofit utility that was created in 2009 with a mission of unifying the efforts to help families achieve and sustain homeownership through its technology solutions. HLP's role is to be the collaboration platform for all stakeholders in the homeownership process and to give all stakeholders the tools they need to manage their respective interests in the transaction.

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is the largest source of financing for multifamily housing. Additional information is available at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac's blog FreddieMac.com/blog.