Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The New York Times reports that ACORN Housing, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is working with borrowers and mortgage lenders in order to help borrowers avoid foreclosure. Countrywide Financial Corp., Washington Mutual Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Citgroup, Inc. are prepared to offer borrowers in default a grace period of 30 days to negotiate new loan terms, rather than immediately foreclose on the property. The lenders hope that borrowers will be willing to reach out to nonprofit groups such as ACORN Housing to work out solutions before foreclosure proceedings begin. According to its website, ACORN Housing provides free housing counseling to low and moderate income homebuyers, including through its Home Equity Loss Prevention Program (HELP). Its GuideStar profile says that "[o]ur program emphasizes the one-on-one approach to counseling that has proven to be most effective at giving clients the information and tools they need. We counsel clients on the full range of housing finance needs: pre-purchase, delinquency, refinance, home equity, subprime, and predatory rescue." It would be interesting to compare and contrast this organization's activities with those of formerly-charitable credit card counseling agencies.