JPMorgan Chase earmarks May mortgage assistance for unemployed borrowers

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) will finish implementing Hardest Hit Fund programs for the unemployed in May, an executive at the bank said Wednesday. Jerry McCoy, vice president of homeownership preservation and partnerships at Chase, said at the Source Media Mortgage Servicing Conference in Dallas that the bank is actively participating in many HHF programs nationally. The Treasury Department disbursed $7.6 billion through HHF to several states considered hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. These separate state housing finance agencies set up individual programs that would incentivize participating servicers to perform modifications for distressed homeowners and even provide principal reduction. Bank of America (BAC) said recently it would provide principal writedowns to select homeowners in Arizona and California. A spokesman for Chase said the bank is actively participating in the unemployment programs through the Hardest Hit Fund, and has yet to take up principal reduction through the HHF. McCoy said the bank has doubled its default servicing staff with 2,100 relationship managers who work as a single-point of contact with troubled borrowers. More than 40 events are scheduled for 2011 to engage these borrowers and pursue a workout, including 10 centered around military bases. McCoy add that Chase has at least one homeownership preservation center located within 50 miles of 70% of its serious delinquent portfolio. As for these Hardest Hit Fund programs, McCoy said the unemployment help will arrive soon. “We are actively participating in the Hardest Hit Fund, and we are set to go live in the remaining six states in the next 35 days,” McCoy said. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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