Troubled Borrowers Flood Help Line After Rate Freeze Announcement

A phone hotline tied to the HOPE NOW consortium has seen call volume reach a record 45,000 calls in the three days after the Bush administration unveiled a streamlined mortgage modification program, according to a statement by the group on Tuesday. The 888-995-HOPE hotline, operated by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, was cited several times by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson at announcements about the interest-rate freeze last Thursday. By Sunday, more than 45,000 callers had reached out to the toll-free numbers. The HOPE hotline offers foreclosure prevention counseling provided by HUD-certified counseling agencies. “The HOPE Hotline is a great resource for homeowners in distress,â€? said Faith Schwartz, Executive Director for HOPE NOW. “However, those who want to inquire about the program announced by the Administration should call their lender to see if they qualify under the plan.â€? I’m not sure what to make of the statement by Schwartz above — is she saying that HOPE NOW should not have received those calls, and/or that the help line received inquiries from borrowers not “in distress?”

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