Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NeighborWorks' Marietta Rodriguez Calls for Servicers to Compensate Counselors

Mortgage foreclosures are continuing to increase, but recently many of the country's largest mortgage servicers -- the companies that homeowners mail their monthly payments to and the firms responsible for making loan modifications -- sat down with government officials to improve things.

NeighborWorks America's Marietta Rodriguez, director for Homeownership and Lending, told National Public Radio's Marketplace program, what she thought mortgage servicers should be doing better to help families stay in their homes.

Marietta outlines some basic improvements that servicers need to make such as increasing communication back and forth between the borrower, the counselor working with them and more standardization. She noted that forms to process a loan modification are lost by servicers and that the homeowner, already under stress, has to fill the documents out multiple times in some cases. That fact is illustrated by reports from counselors who are part of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program.

According to Marietta, counselors are working very hard to get borrowers in trouble to work with their servicers and that work is making the servicer's job easier. As a result, in comments edited out of the Marketplace interview, Marietta said that the servicing industry needs to begin compensating counselors for this work that is saving the mortgage industry time and money.

"Counselors provide a real, tangible benefit to servicers just like any other professional like lawyers and title companies. Counselors should be compensated for this work."