Keep Your Home California adds 200th servicer to mortgage-assistance program

Welcome, Prospect Mortgage.

The Sherman Oaks-based company is the 200th mortgage servicer to enroll in Keep Your Home California.

It’s a much-celebrated milestone for the free mortgage-assistance program. The 200 servicers currently enrolled in the federally funded program is double the number of participants as recently as February 2013 – and a dramatic increase from the nine servicers when the program started in February 2011.

KYHC Debt Piggy Banks

And mortgage servicers – the companies that collect the monthly payments – are critical to financially strapped homeowners looking for help from Keep Your Home California. A homeowner’s servicer must participate in the program in order to apply and possibly be approved for as much as $100,000 in mortgage-payment assistance.

Homeowners must also have endured a documented financial hardship – such as a job loss, a cut in pay, a divorce or extraordinary medical bills – in order to be considered for Keep Your Home California. Severe negative equity – a 120% or greater loan-to-value ratio – is also deemed a financial hardship under the Principal Reduction Program.

Homeowners must also meet county-by-county income requirements, which range from $69,500 to $126,600.

Before homeowners consider applying for the state-managed program, they should check if their servicer participates in Keep Your Home California. About 98% of mortgages in the state are covered by the program.

Large servicers – including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase – are enrolled in the federally funded program. But so are midsize banks and much-smaller financial institutions, such as Antioch Federal Credit Union and Bourns Employee Federal Credit Union. Delta.

Keep Your Home California has four programs, each with different ways to help financially strapped homeowners. Mortgage servicers choose which programs to offer their homeowners, with about half of the servicers enrolled in all four programs. Two-thirds of the servicers participate in at least three of the programs.

All of the 200 mortgage servicers are enrolled in the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, which offers as much as $3,000 per month for up to 12 months – a maximum of $36,000 – to out-of-work homeowners eligible for jobless benefits from the state Employment Development Department.

Almost all of the 200 mortgage servicers are enrolled in the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program, which provides a maximum of $25,000 so homeowners can “catch up” on their missed mortgage payments. Homeowners must have recovered from their financial hardship and demonstrate that they are able to make their payments going forward in order to receive assistance from the Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program.

About 135 of the servicers participate in the Principal Reduction Program, with $100,000 – the maximum possible from Keep Your Home California – available to homeowners who owe more than their home is worth. In addition to the decrease in principal owed, many homeowners enjoy a smaller monthly mortgage payment, an average of almost $300.

Finally, about 130 of the 200 servicers are enrolled in the Transition Assistance Program. The program issues as much as $5,000 in relocation assistance for homeowners who have an approved deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or short sale with their servicer.

So far, Keep Your Home California has helped about 45,000 homeowners and is close to having approved $790 million in funding.

If you have additional questions, would like more information or want to apply for Keep Your Home California, call 888-954-KEEP (5337) or visit www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org  (Spanish speakers should visit www.conservatucasacalifornia.org). The counseling center is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.  Translators are available, so counseling sessions can be conducted in virtually any language.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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