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Benefits of Working with HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies
Credit unions have always provided their members with objective, well-informed guidance and advice. But for many credit union members, the complex financial challenge of buying a first home -- and maintaining homeownership in these tough times -- demand the services of counselors who are trained and certified specifically for this purpose. Most credit unions are not mortgage lenders, but all credit unions should be prepared to refer members to HUD certified foreclosure intervention counselors at the first sign of trouble.
There are three major benefits to establishing a link to your local HUD approved housing counseling agencies:
Better Member Services: Members expect fair and objective guidance from their credit unions. By helping members to find the most professional and appropriate financial counseling -- especially in times of trouble -- credit unions will fulfill an historic commitment to serving people of modest means and build a lifetime of loyalty among their members. Credit unions that partner with their local housing counseling agencies can deliver the biggest benefits for their members; partnerships help the credit union to know the specific types of certified counseling available from each agency and make more accurate referrals for their members.
Improved Performance of Loan Portfolio: Whether or not a credit union is a mortgage lender, if a member is at risk of losing their home they also are more likely to default on their other credit union loan obligations. If members are in trouble, the earlier they can get sound, professional counseling, the better the outcome is likely to be for them and for their credit union.
- Increased Mortgage Lending and Membership: The national foreclosure crisis has overshadowed the opportunity for responsible lenders -- like credit unions -- to increase their market share for new home purchases. Credit unions that offer mortgage loans should contact their local HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies to make sure they know about their competitive loan products. Certified Housing Counseling Agencies provide pre-purchase counseling to a broad cross section of potential credit union members. Pre-purchase counseling must include information from at least three competitive lenders, and counseling agencies welcome information from responsible lenders in their communities.
HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies provide a range of services. When making a referral, make sure the counseling agency offers the specific type of counseling that is needed for your member.
- Hope Now: This alliance between housing counselors, servicers, investors and other mortgage market participants is working to prevent foreclosures through outreach to delinquent borrowers, counseling, and loan workouts based on the borrower's ability to repay. Free HUD approved counseling services are available by to the HOPE NOW website or by calling: 1-888-995-HOPE
- HUD Housing Counseling Website: The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a contact list of certified housing counseling agencies across the country. The list includes specific services offered by each agency, such as pre-purchase, post-purchase, home-equity conversion (HECM), foreclosure and default intervention, loss mitigation, and more.
To access HUD's housing counseling webpage, please click here.