Wells Touts Credit Counseling Program for Subprime Borrowers
More than 30,000 nonprime homeowners are now enrolled in Steps To Success, a program organizers are touting as the "first comprehensive program of its kind" to help mortgage customers better manage their credit to help achieve financial success. Backed by Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC), one of the nation's largest subprime lenders, the consumer financial education program provides free tools and advice that the bank says serves the needs of its subprime mortgage loan customers. "I love the fact that every business day we have been helping some 250 of our homeowner customers get into a better financial position to achieve financial success," said Stephanie Christie, head of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage's retail nonprime lending business. "Steps To Success demonstrates how we want to work to help our customers not just when they make a loan, but also for the long term." Christie added, "Every customer involved in Steps To Success represents new evidence of Wells Fargo's commitment to our Responsible Lending Principles. We designed the program as an easy way for customers to learn more and take steps to better manage their finances after research showed that some consumers hesitate to seek financial guidance because they find the process difficult." Available to all Wells customers who close on a nonprime real estate loan, Steps To Success launched nationwide last October. The program is bilingual and all materials and services are free. The program includes access to credit reports, a toll-free number for credit counseling, financial literacy educational materials -- and information on other available Wells Fargo products. Wells Fargo announced the 30,000-customer milestone in Denver yesterday, where company representatives took part in a seminar on foreclosure prevention hosted by the Colorado Division of Housing. "Carried out responsibly, nonprime lending has allowed millions to achieve and live the dream of homeownership," Christie said. "We did not design Steps To Success specifically to address foreclosures. However, once the loan is made, Steps To Success offers the chance for customers to manage and improve their credit profiles and their financial situations so that a delinquency or foreclosure is less likely." Christie said Wells Fargo was especially pleased at the number of customers who were not just ordering free credit reports but also have been signing up for automatic mortgage payment programs. For more information, visit http://www.wellsfargo.com.