Federation & REAL Solutions Partner with National Housing Orgs to Provide Training
(September 27, 2010 - New York, NY) In an effort to expand credit union assistance to communities hardest-hit by the forclosure crisis, the Federation, the National Credit Union Foundation’s REAL Solutions program, NeighborWorks® America and the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) recently partnered with the League of Southeastern Credit Unions to present a special workshop titled: “Part of the Solution: Credit Union Help for Members at Risk of Foreclosure.” The session, held on September 16 in Tampa, Florida, included participants from ten local credit unions who discussed “on the ground” realities of the current foreclosure landscape and indentified ways that credit unions could reach out to help members who may be at risk of foreclosure, regardless of who holds the mortgage.
Currently, Florida represents over 21% of all foreclosures nationally and ranks first in severity. Florida also accounts for nearly 10% off all national mortgage delinquencies, and ranks second in the severity of those delinquencies, and as the nationwide foreclosure crisis has deepened, the national network of non-profit, HUD-approved housing counseling agencies has made a massive transition from the traditional focus on helping prospective homebuyers before they purchase, to the much more complex task of counseling homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
While the benefits of counseling are clear, too many homeowners wait far too long before seeking help from the many trained and impartial resource providers available. A key challenge is that many homeowners simply don’t know who to trust. This is where credit unions can step in and play a critical role. Results from national surveys and the growth in deposits at credit unions have shown that by and large credit unions have managed to retain their members’ trust. As such, trainers focused on ways credit unions can capitalize on this position to help members who may be at risk of foreclosure.
Through the Federation’s partnership with NeighborWorks® America and HPF, credit unions have ready access to tools and resources to help their members and their communities prevent foreclosures and avoid scams. “Armed with new resources and information from this session, credit unions will return to their communities better able to identify the early warning signals of troubled borrowers and subsequently implement clear action plans to assist their members,” explained Terri J. Fowlkes, Director of Community Development Investments at the Federation and one of the workshop trainers. Other key discussion topics included helping members avoid scams, development of forclosure toolkits that credit unions can use to refer their members to appropriate homeownership counseling providers, loss mitigation strategies, and retention options.
Angela Fee of UCF Federal Credit Union (Orlando, FL), who attended the workshop, offered praise for the training. “This workshop was extremely informative and a real eye-opener regarding all the services that are out there to help us help our members,” Fee said. “This is valuable information, which will help us better serve our community.”
About the Homeownership Preservation Foundation: The Homeownership Preservation Foundation manages the 888-995-HOPE hotline and is an independent non-profit dedicated to reducing foreclosures and preserving homeownership for American homeowners. Since 2003, Homeowner’s HOPE hotline has handled over 4,000,000 phone calls and counseled over 1,000,000 homeowners; currently fielding 12,000-15,000 calls a month from Florida homeowners.
About NeighborWorks® America: NeighborWorks® America is a national nonprofit organization created by Congress to provide financial support, technical assistance, and training for community-based revitalization efforts. NeighborWorks® is the leading provider of certification courses for housing counselors and administers the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program on behalf of Congress. Credit unions can locate foreclosure intervention counselors in their area on the NFMC website: www.findaforeclosurecounselor.org.