A cross-industry mortgage coalition with the extremely long name of the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling -- that's NISHEC, in short -- said today that it has released a set of recommended standards for foreclosure counseling. The group is affiliated with Neighborworks America, a community development and borrower assistance nonprofit that has a long-standing relationship with the mortgage banking industry. Participants include such names as Bank of America, Chase, the NAR, Citigroup, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, among others. The new foreclosure counseling standards "aim to increase the professionalism, consistency and quality of service delivered by organizations and counselors providing assistance directly to consumers in delinquency and foreclosure," the group said in a press statement. The standards provide a set of training and performance benchmarks designed to guide credit counselors working with delinquent homeowners. Click here to read the full set of standards. It's unclear how many mortgage firms are actively supporting the new guidance. Adherance to the new standards is voluntary, although it's expected that participating institutions will require counseling agencies to adhere to the standards as part of their relationship with the mortgage banking industry. “By carefully measuring the needs of the counseling industry and mortgage borrowers in responding to the foreclosure crisis, the Advisory Council thoughtfully developed these performance standards," said Janya Bower, director of the NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling, "keeping in mind how they will strengthen the confidence homeowners will have when discussing the details of their personal financial situation with a counselor.� For more information, visit http://www.homeownershipstandards.com.