Citigroup Offers $20B in Mortgage Relief

12 11 2008

Citigroup Inc. says it will offer to modify terms on up to $20 billion in mortgages.

The program will be extended to borrowers who are making their payments but are in danger of falling behind.

It includes subprime borrowers as well as those with good credit who took out prime loans.

The New York-based Citigroup says it expects about 130,000 customers will see lower mortgages. The program is limited to customers whose mortgage payments equal more than 40 percent of their income.

Citi joins Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. of New York in offering loan modifications. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. also has been offering help to borrowers whose mortgages are serviced by IndyMac Bancorp, which the FDIC took over in July. Bank of America has 42 branches in the Albany, N.Y., area.

Source: The Business Review





Duval Schools in Jacksonville Get $400K AT&T Grant

12 11 2008

AT&T; gave the Duval County School System a four-year, $400,000 grant to ensure students who started high school this year will graduate in 2012.

The grant funds the AT&T; Aspire initiative, Communities In Schools of Jacksonville. The funds will expand the organization’s existing high school dropout prevention efforts to a total of six Jacksonville schools and more than 1,000 students.

AT&T; Aspire is a national initiative. In addition to program grants it also funds a student shadowing initiative, underwriting of national research and support for 100 state and community dropout prevention summits.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal





Realtors Help Buyers, Sellers with Short Sales

12 11 2008

When families lose their homes to foreclosure, communities, the housing market and the economy all suffer. Short sales are one way that some troubled homeowners can avoid foreclosure, a topic discussed by Realtors at the Short Sales Solutions session, part of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2008 Conference & Expo in Orlando.

“Homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments must have more options available to them to avoid foreclosure,” said NAR President Richard Gaylord. “Short sales can benefit not only the homeowner in question, but also buyers, lenders and the surrounding community. With their established lender relationships and insights into complicated real estate transactions, Realtors can add real value for both sellers and buyers interested in short sales.”

A short sale is a transaction in which the seller’s mortgage lender agrees to accept a payoff of less than the balance due on the loan. The lender often receives a higher amount of the remaining loan balance than it would from the sale of the property after a foreclosure. This helps support home values in the surrounding community. Short sales also help homeowners maintain some level of credit.

According to Freddie Mac, 50 percent of homeowners entering the foreclosure process did not have any contact with the lender first. One of the most valuable services Realtors can provide to clients who may be facing a foreclosure is guiding them through the lender’s short sale process and facilitating communication, according to session panelists Michael and Stacey Spikes of America’s Home Rescue.

“The process for short selling an FHA loan is different than the process for shorting a Veterans Administration or conventional loan,” said Stacey Spikes. “Knowing the type of loan the seller has, and understanding the proper steps for short selling that loan and the order of those steps, is critical.”

Homeowners who are having difficulty making their mortgage payments and who may be considering a short sale must generally meet three qualifying criteria: they must be behind on their payments, be able to prove a legitimate hardship, and have little or no equity in their home.

While a typical real estate transaction involves two real estate professionals, a seller, a buyer, and the buyer’s lender, a short sale can include all of these parties in addition to the seller’s loan servicer, housing counselor, junior lien holders, mortgage investors and mortgage insurers. In addition to the number of parties involved, Realtors say that other challenges can make short sales difficult. These include burdensome paperwork, appraisals that do not consider the sellers’ duress or the number of foreclosures in a community, over-burdened loss mitigation departments, and complications created by second mortgages.

NAR has created a working group to examine the problems and difficulties surrounding short sales and to educate its members on how to best work with their clients through this process. NAR is also reaching out to its partners in the housing and mortgage industry to encourage adoption of principles and practices to streamline the short sale process.

“Short sales give many families in financial difficulties the possibility of salvaging their credit and avoiding the embarrassment of a foreclosure,” said Gaylord. “Realtors across the country stand ready to help.”

Source: Florida Association of Realtors





Citigroup Offers $20B in Mortgage Relief

12 11 2008

Citigroup Inc. says it will offer to modify terms on up to $20 billion in mortgages.

The program will be extended to borrowers who are making their payments but are in danger of falling behind.

It includes subprime borrowers as well as those with good credit who took out prime loans.

The New York-based Citigroup says it expects about 130,000 customers will see lower mortgages. The program is limited to customers whose mortgage payments equal more than 40 percent of their income.

Citi joins Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. of New York in offering loan modifications. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. also has been offering help to borrowers whose mortgages are serviced by IndyMac Bancorp, which the FDIC took over in July. Bank of America has 42 branches in the Albany, N.Y., area.

Source: The Business Review








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