Ocwen Recruits Community Groups in Modification Effort
Ocwen Financial (OCN), a mortgage servicer, gathered representatives of more than 30 housing advocacy organizations in a roundtable discussion over foreclosure prevention methods. The community groups and Ocwen representatives agreed to work closely with the Obama Administration to design flexible guidelines that qualify more distressed homeowners for mortgage modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), according to a release. HAMP allocates capped incentives to servicers for the modification of loans on the verge of foreclosure. Under HAMP, Ocwen receives a $655m cap and so far modified 8% of its eligible portfolio through September, according to reports from the US Treasury Department. The Ocwen-led roundtable also agreed to develop a national awareness campaign for HAMP to increase outreach, and they decided to focus more on homeowners who are under-employed or unemployed. The representatives also discussed a greater collaboration between the servicers and the grassroots groups that would make the outreach more proactive, helping borrowers before they reach the foreclosure brink. They also want to increase government budget allocations for the community organizations and crackdown on loan modification scams that lure distressed borrowers into illegal foreclosure prevention programs. “It's really a powerful thing when the objectives of the non-profit organizations align with ours, as we all work hard to help troubled homeowners, often through mortgage modifications,” said Paul Koches, the executive vice president at Ocwen. The roundtable's key speaker, Kerry Kennedy, the founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, added: “The work of community organizations in the struggle to prevent foreclosures and help distressed homeowners is invaluable. The problem and the task are daunting, but many of the solutions and programs are working. We must sustain and intensify the effort -- and continue to search for new and creative approaches.” Write to Jon Prior.