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Fannie Mae, BofA Reaching Out on First Coast to those at Risk of Foreclosure

4:16 PM, Apr 15, 2011   |    comments
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  • Marlene Brown of Daytona Beach, worked out a loan modification with BOA
  • Lenders reaching out to help homeowners avoid foreclosure
    

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Two mortgage lenders are working with homeowners in danger of losing their homes, to help them find alternatives and keep them.

Bank of America is holding a three-day customer outreach event at the Prime Osborn Center through Saturday. Seventy specialists are meeting mortgage holders to help work out a plan for a loan modification or refinance.

On the Southside near JTB and Interstate 95, Fannie Mae officially opened a Mortgage Help Center at the Liberty Center building today to help those with Fannie Mae loans.

"The worst thing ... is for you to sit in your house and worry and don't take action," said Jeff Hayward, a senior vice president from Washington's Fannie Mae office. "We will help you if you take the first step."

Marlene Brown drove from Daytona Beach to meet face-to-face with a representative.

She was on the phone for months with the bank and could not get any help, but this trip resulted in a loan modification after numerous denials. "I am quite happy, very relieved ... very much worth the trip," said Brown.

If the lenders can't help a homeowner keep his home, they try to work out a graceful exit for the homeowner without going to court, such as a short sale or deed in lieu of a lawsuit.

Senior Circuit Court Judge A.C. Soud, who oversees foreclosure cases in Jacksonville, said filings are down due to efforts by lenders to review their documents to make sure they are correct.

But defaults don't seem to be on the way down, he said. He urges lenders to do more mediation and he has been frustrated with the results.

"If you represent (that) you are going to help people, then help them," said Soud. "And do it in an expeditious manner so these folks will know what they are dealing with. They are telling us the settlement rate is like 25 percent; that is not a good settlement rate."

Soud said he hopes new efforts like those today at the Fannie Mae office will truly help homeowners. "I hope it's not window dressing."

Anyone wishing to make an appointment for the Bank of America event can call toll free at 855-201-7426. The Fannie Mae office can be reached at 866-442-8578.

First Coast News

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