Chase Bank recently announced that from Jan -July 2010, it has assisted approximately 900,000 homeowners interested in modifying their home loan. What’s interesting about this announcement is that Chase is actually doing something to address the three major complaints that have plagued both HAMP (the Federal “Home Affordable Mortgage Program) as well as the entire banking and loan modification industry. Here are the three major pitfalls and what Chase is doing about them.
Problem One. The loan modification process confuses most homeowners.. The majority of homeowners throughout the United States originally purchased their home through a realtor or mortgage broker who held their hand throughout the buying process and guided them. To help bring a homeowner up to speed to do a loan modification, Chase now assigns a counselor to each customer that is working with Chase; this counselor walks the customer through the modification process and is their primary contact with Chase from start to finish.
Problem Two. Banks commonly lose documentation and ask homeowners to resend documents. Most homeowners who have encountered financial difficulty find it difficult to send the necessary documentation to a lender and hold a job at the same time. What makes things worse, some homeowners learn that after sneaking off at lunch to fax the financials from a Kinko’s, that the documents previously sent were either lost, incorrect or never received by the financial institution. The other day, for example, a person at a bank notified me that an application had been rejected because it was missing a zipcode on the address. She told me that resubmitting the correct document should be an easy task, not knowing how precarious the current job market is and how difficult some companies make it for their employees to do personal tasks while on the job. To make things easier for homeowners, Chase has established a centralized location for document collection and imaging, making it easier to review a customer’s file and reducing the need for borrowers to resend documents.
Problem Three. Loan modifications take too long. Most homeowners have been promised that their modification will be approved after making three monthly trial payments only to learn that after making seven or eight trial payments they are no closer to gaining approval than when they first started. To help speed things up, Chase has hired 8,000 new credit counselors to help complete the loan modification evaluation within 30 days of receiving borrower’s completed application package.
By expanding their team to assist customers, Chase can now weed through their applicants more effectively. They can communicate better and help those fortunate enough to qualify and discover the homeowners who are not eligible for a modification but who might want to pursue a short sale or other foreclosure prevention option. Still the statistics for loan modification approval from Chase are not encouraging. From Jan – July of 2010, only 27% of the modification applicants offered for the Chase HAMP program had gained approval, and 38% of applicants through Chase Bank’s own loan modification program had been approved. But at least it’s a start in the right direction!