SOURCE: Neighborworks America

NeighborWorks America

December 08, 2014 11:47 ET

NeighborWorks America Announces That the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program Has Served More Than 1.8 Million Homeowners

Nearly One Out of Five Homeowners in Distress Hold Mortgages With Rates Above Eight Percent

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - December 08, 2014) - More than 1.8 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 housing counseling industry also has been strengthened by the NFMC Program. More than 13,300 scholarships have been awarded to pay for counselor training, and more than 10,200 people have earned the professional certification in foreclosure prevention counseling. The NFMC Program strengthened housing counseling organizations and enhanced their capacity through grant funds that helped them create improved methods of foreclosure counseling, communicate more effectively with mortgage servicers, make process improvements which include streamlining the counseling intake process to better manage the demand for services, and develop creative strategies to better reach homeowners in need.

"The rate of home foreclosure is down dramatically from its peak across the country, but there still are hundreds of thousands of homeowners in hardest hit parts of the country who would benefit from working with nonprofit housing counselors to find the best solution to their mortgage troubles," said Chuck Wehrwein, acting CEO for NeighborWorks America.

An analysis of the NFMC Program by the Urban Institute found that homeowners who work with an NFMC counselor are nearly three times more likely to obtain a money-saving mortgage modification and are nearly twice as likely to get their mortgage back on track without a modification.

Today, roughly 18% of homeowners have not been helped by lower mortgage rates

Despite 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates hovering near four percent for several years, almost one-out-of-five homeowners seeking foreclosure counseling hold a mortgage at an eight percent interest rate or higher, according to the NFMC Program Congressional report.

"A number of factors keep homeowners from reducing their mortgage interest rate -- whether they face foreclosure or not -- according to research conducted by the University of Chicago in partnership with NeighborWorks network member, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago," explained Wehrwein.

"The report found that many homeowners didn't believe that the programs that they heard about actually could deliver. Dispelling the myths about foreclosure prevention programs is a key benefit of working with a NFMC counselor."

The NFMC Program analysis by the Urban Institute found that homeowners who worked with an NFMC housing counselor to find a foreclosure solution via mortgage modification saved, on average, nearly $5,000 each year.

About NeighborWorks America
For more than 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 $22.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

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