Hope LoanPort and GMAC Mortgage, the servicing arm of Ally Financial (GJM) will pilot a new portal in Maryland, allowing borrowers and servicers to exchange documents electronically before state-mandated foreclosure mediations. Ally is funding the development of the portal and will be the first to use it. The portal is scheduled to go live in October. In Maryland, homeowners who receive a notice of foreclosure can meet with the servicer and discuss loss-mitigation options such as a modification or short sale, and the borrower has 25 days to opt-in. Mediations create more work for foreclosure attorneys representing banks. In January, Fannie Mae increased the allowable fee servicers could pay these attorneys for the extra steps in the process. Steve Abreu, president of GMAC Mortgage, said the servicer looks for ways to reduce the procedural burden and move the process along. "Preparing for the mediation process can sometimes be overwhelming, and Hope LoanPort offers borrowers a convenient option to assist with the process," Abreu said. "We're proud to be the first mortgage servicer to use this web-based tool." Hope LoanPort said the new portal would allow quicker access to the documents for servicers, housing counselors and attorneys working on behalf of the homeowner. "For the first time, at-risk homeowners will be able to upload all of the documents necessary for foreclosure mediation without lost paperwork and with improved communication," according to Larry Gilmore, CEO of Hope LoanPort. The portal also sends reminders about the mediation date and location, and allows the servicer to obtain all the information prior to the meeting so it can fully evaluate the borrower for any sort of alternative to foreclosure. "The Hope LoanPort direct-to-consumer foreclosure mediation portal will make it easier for us to track the progress of those in mediation. It is a way for us to provide more efficient service for our customers," said Raymond Skinner, the Maryland Secretary for Housing and Community Development. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior