Staff at Fannie Mae and the nonprofit Minnesota Home Ownership Center will partner to help homeowners in the state receive a faster response time and a clearer loss mitigation process. Borrowers struggling to make their mortgage payments can meet with foreclosure prevention counselors throughout a state network to discuss their situation and determine what options are available. These counselors then work with Fannie Mae staff to decide what can be done. Both counselors and Fannie Mae staff will use a standardized documentation process for all possible options. According to Fannie Mae’s fourth quarter financial supplement, home prices in Minnesota fell 20.6% from its peak as of the end of 2010. Minnesota held the 24th highest foreclosure rate in the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac. One in 309 properties received a filing that month, down 18% from one year ago. “This unique partnership will provide families with the information and tools they need to avoid foreclosure, and improve response times for struggling homeowners,” said Jeff Hayward, senior vice president of Fannie’s national servicing organization. Julie Gugin, executive director of the MN Home Ownership Center said a quick response to a borrower’s situation will prove to be the key to more success in avoiding foreclosure. “By involving the mortgage investor at the beginning of the workout process, we’ll be able to streamline and simplify the process for struggling Minnesota homeowners,” Gugin said. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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