Mortgage Mod Program Off to a Slow Start


The cover story in the real estate section of this weekend's Times is about how Obama's mortgage relief program, unveiled in March, has been slow to deliver much-needed help in New York: “'The promise of this program is enormous,' said Rafael Cestero, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. 'It’s a brand-new program and it’s a very complicated issue, but we all share the feeling that it’s been moving too slowly.' The federal program offsets some costs for banks that agree to modify mortgages. Mr. Cestero estimated that in addition to the 400 applications handled by the center, other agencies have probably processed 400 applications. 'When you think that almost all of those are in southeast Queens and some in eastern Brooklyn,' he said, 'that’s a lot of people in need in a not particularly big area.” Housing counselors say that while 15 lenders — including major ones like Bank of America, CitiMortgage, Chase and Wells Fargo & Co. are participating, many have yet to fully train people to process the applications. As a result, housing counselors say they often receive mixed signals, with different lenders offering different interpretations of the guidelines, including whether foreclosure actions can proceed while a loan modification is being considered and whether you have to be current on your payments to be eligible for a modification."
Penetrating the Maze of Mortgage Relief [NY Times]
Photo by Nick Blake.

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