Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bush Administration Hope Now Program

Bush Administration Hope Now Program
Thursday, 11 October 2007

The following report in the Washington Post details the recent announcement by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson concerning the Bush administration efforts to address the foreclosure crisis.
Bush Officials Launch Mortgage Campaign
Responding to the rise in foreclosures, the Bush administration yesterday announced the creation of a mortgage industry coalition (see list below) to "step up efforts" to prevent people from losing their homes.
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said a broad collection of lenders, mortgage counselors, trade organizations and investors will try persuading hundreds of thousands of at-risk homeowners to seek solutions to their mortgage woes.
"The earlier a troubled borrower reaches out to explore financial options, the more likely he or she will be able to find an affordable mortgage solution," Paulson said at a news conference.
The program has enlisted at least 15 mortgage servicers and insurers, which represent more than 60 percent of the mortgages in the United States, according to the Housing Policy Council, a trade association helping coordinate the coalition.
As a key part of its effort, the alliance plans a direct mail and advertising campaign to encourage at-risk borrowers to call their mortgage servicer or a credit counselor and improve communication between servicers and nonprofit counselors to explain options.
"Of greatest importance, the alliance hopes to increase support for the use of housing counselors," Alphonso Jackson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said at the news conference.
In general, some key Democrats have reacted skeptically to the administration's recent efforts to address the mortgage problem. Yesterday, the reactions were mixed.
"Unfortunately, the bottom is falling out of our housing market much more quickly than the Administration is willing to act to stem the tide of foreclosures," Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, said in a prepared statement.
Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said: "Today's announcement by the administration is a small step that should also serve as a wake up call for lenders to take concrete action to help families who are struggling to keep their homes."
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, applauded the announcement.
It has been about five weeks since the Bush administration unveiled plans to change the Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance program so more people could refinance with FHA-insured loans if they fall behind on their adjustable-rate mortgages, some of which offer low introductory rates but can rise significantly.
Last month, the Mortgage Bankers Association released a survey showing the percentage of mortgages entering foreclosure rose to a record level during a three month period ending June 30. California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona were the states hardest hit.

To view the online article, please click here.
To view the Press Release from the U.S. Treasury Dept, please click here
The following organizations have joined the coalition:

• The American Financial Services Association• The American Securitization Forum• Assurant Inc.• Bank of America• CCCS Atlanta Inc.• Citigroup Inc.• The Consumer Mortgage Coalition• Countrywide Financial Corp.• Fannie Mae• The Financial Services Roundtable• First Horizon National Corp.• Freddie Mac • GMAC ResCap• The Homeownership Preservation Foundation• The Housing Partnership Network• The Housing Policy Council• HSBC North American Holdings Inc.• JP Morgan Chase & Co.• Mortgage Bankers Association• National City• NeighborWorks America• Option One Mortgage Corp.• PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.• The Securities and Financial Markets Association• State Farm Insurance Cos. • SunTrust Mortgage Inc.• Washington Mutual Inc.• Wells Fargo & Co.

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