May 17, 2016 Ditech Financial LLC (“Ditech”) and HLP have formed a new partnership that will implement a first-of-its-kind consumer outreach effort to help distressed homeowners eligible for the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) new Principal Reduction Modification Program.
Ditech’s proactive approach will include outreach and assistance through the HLP collaborative communication platform. HLP’s platform integrates HUD-approved non-profit housing counselors seamlessly and securely with Ditech’s mortgage servicing operations, enabling counselors to more easily help homeowners that may qualify for the program.
The FHFA estimates that approximately 33,000 distressed homeowners meet the program’s criteria for this foreclosure relief alternative. Residential mortgage servicers must solicit their borrowers for a Principal Reduction Modification no later than October 15, 2016.
“We are committed to rolling out the FHFA’s Principal Reduction Modification Program to reach and provide personal assistance to eligible homeowners whose loans we service, in order to help them avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes,” said David Schneider, President and CEO of Ditech. “Our objective is to increase the number of families and individuals taking advantage of this program. HLP’s advocacy consortium, along with its broad connections with the housing advocacy community, will allow Ditech to get our customers access to the HUD-approved nonprofit housing counseling they need to prevent foreclosure. We intend to do our part by forgiving loans to prevent foreclosures when that is the best way to create a sustainable homeowner. With HLP’s assistance, we will make these trusted housing advocates into advisors to distressed homeowners, which will be an integral part of our effort to reach and assist those who are eligible for the loan forgiveness program.”
In mid-April, the FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer principal reduction to certain seriously delinquent, underwater borrowers whose homes’ values are less than the amount of the mortgages owed, in order to help them avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. The new program is a one-time offering for borrowers whose loans are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and who meet specific eligibility criteria. The modification will be available to owner-occupant borrowers who are 90 days or more delinquent as of March 1, 2016, whose mortgages have an outstanding unpaid principal balance of $250,000 or less, and whose mark-to-market loan-to-value (MTMLTV) ratios exceed that 115 percent (after capitalizing amounts in arrears).
“In the past it was operationally prohibitive for residential mortgage servicers to effectively and securely utilize the advocacy world in loss mitigation,” said Cam Melchiorre, CEO of HLP. “HLP’s primary feature has conclusively overcome this process-burden through its centralized, neutral communication hub and its open architecture. This framework enables secure collaboration and rapid deployment of foreclosure relief programs among major stakeholders in the residential mortgage finance industry in fulfillment of HLP’s mission as a social enterprise to assist consumers to obtain and retain homeownership.”
Ditech will also promote HLP’s national consumer-direct portal, known as Homeownerconnect , as an approved channel for eligible consumers who prefer to self-engage and submit the required information via the internet. Homeownerconnect was developed and deployed in 2012 to comply with the National Mortgage Settlement which encouraged servicers to support a national, independent web-portal for consumers who choose to use this type of communication channel in seeking mortgage foreclosure relief.
About Ditech: Ditech Financial LLC (“Ditech”) makes financially sound homeownership possible for millions of customers. Ditech is a well-known lender and servicer of residential mortgages. With over 4,500 employees in locations across the U.S., the company provides residential mortgage products through a team of home loan specialists who are easily accessible by phone (1-800-700-9212) and online. Additionally, Ditech’s Correspondent Lending Division partners with 600+ financial institutions nationwide. Ditech is owned by Walter Investment Management Corp. (NYSE: “WAC”), a leading diversified mortgage banking firm. For more information, please visit www.ditech.com.
About HLP: HLP is a unique collaborative created in 2009 that engages the key stakeholders who work with families on homeownership - nonprofit counselors, advocates, mortgage lenders, servicers and investors, attorneys and government agencies. Being a national, neutral, nonprofit organization allows us to listen to all the parties and build solutions that support homeowners and incorporate the unique needs of all stakeholders. As a result, HLP unifies the housing industry by helping individuals and families achieve and sustain homeownership. Stakeholders share information with each other via our technology platform and collaborate to find solutions to help homeowners. To date, we have helped more than 400,000 homeowners during their time of need.