The road to recovery, paved with PSAs

The Obama administration joined with the Ad Council to put together a PSA to get more distressed borrowers to reach out for help. According to the recent push, the Ad Council estimates nearly 4 million Americans are more than 60 days behind on their mortgage, “and countless others are only a paycheck away from missing a mortgage payment.” I really hope this works, even though the YouTube video has very few views so far as of Wednesday, a couple days after it was posted. It will also run on radio, television, billboards and on the Web. Outreach programs are notorious failures. On Wednesday, CitiMortgage launched the fall phase of its Road to Recovery Tour with an event in Portland, Ore. It continues through November, hitting 15 cities nationwide. According to Sanjiv Das, CEO at CitiMortgage, the first recovery tour — a 10-city jaunt — connected approximately 1,000 homeowners having or anticipating difficulty making mortgage payments with assistance experts. “We determined that 58% of attendees qualified for loan modification programs, including many who were already in late stages of delinquency,” Das blogged. So CitiMortgage traveled to 10 cities and could only modify 580 mortgages? That’s equal to 58 mortgages per state, by the way. By way of comparison, since 2007, Citi has worked with more than 1.1 million borrowers on modifications, extensions, repayment plans and other loss-mitigation efforts. All without leaving the home office. Help 580 homeowners — or 1.1 million? There has to be a better way than outreach programs, and I hope the administration finds it with this video. Write to Jacob Gaffney. Follow him on Twitter @jacobgaffney.

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