HOPE Hotline Deluged with Calls from Troubled Borrowers
During the month of January, a popular helpline for troubled borrowers has seen call volume jump, according to a press statement put out Wednesday by the HOPE NOW Alliance. The so-called HOPE hotline, 888-995-HOPE, has received an average of 3,200 calls a day from at-risk homeowners reaching out for help and advice. The hotline received more than 140,000 callers in the 4th quarter of 2007. â€œThe HOPE Hotline is a great resource for homeowners in distress,â€? said Faith Schwartz, executive director for HOPE NOW. â€œHalf of those who go into foreclosure never have any contact with their servicer." Schwartz is referring to an old Freddie Mac survey done covering delinquent borrowers, which found that most didn't like the idea of calling up a lender directly and asking for help, either because servicing was seen as uncaring or because many borrowers simply didn't want to admit "officially" that they needed help. The HOPE hotline has actually been around for four years, under the auspices of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation -- a non-profit that has long had some nominal level of support from the mortgage lending industry. With HPF participating in the HOPE NOW Alliance, that support has grown substantially -- and so has the profile of the toll-free counseling number.