Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mortgage Modifications: Introducing The Hope Loan Port


Some information on a great new system for mortgage modifications which is being shared by an Assistant Case Manager at Lieb at Law, P.C., Laura Palermo:            

            Applying for a loan modification can be a very frustrating and trying process. For some people it can take years for their application to be properly reviewed and decided on. That’s why I was delighted to hear about the new platform in use by many of the big Lenders, the Hope Loan Port. I learned about the new system while trying to submit a loan modification application to Bank of America on behalf of one of my clients. I was informed by the lender that they are no longer accepting third party submissions via fax and instead, the new preferred method is the Hope Loan Port.

            Upon visiting the Hope Loan Port website ( https://www.hopeloanportal.org/ ) I learned that the website has been created as a “neutral, national, non-profit, e-commerce platform” as a way to provide more transparency and productivity to the process of foreclosure alternative review (i.e. loan modification, short sale, or deed in lieu).

            In order to access and use the Port you must first register as a Counseling Agency.  There are two types of counseling agencies that can register for this platform, the government sponsored not-for-profit agencies which are affiliates of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, and there are for profit counseling agencies, such as law firms. The registration requires you provide your company information and designate one person from your company to be the contact person. The contact person is in charge of managing and maintaining user profiles and the account. After submitting the company and contact information you must agree to the terms and conditions of the site, and then wait for verification.

            About 24 hours after submitting the information we received an e-mail stating that our company was verified by the Port along with our login information minus our password which was supposed to arrive in a subsequent e-mail. We waited for two days and still did not receive our password. I contacted the website by using their “Contact Us” tab and submitting an e-mail requesting the password information be re-sent. Finally, a few hours later I received the password and was able to log in to the actual portal.

            In order to submit a case you must first input information about the Borrowers, the first step requires you to disclose the loan information including the loan number, borrower names, and property address. The second step requires you to disclose financial information including gross and net income, rent, unemployment, monthly expenses etc. From there, you enter the information found on the Request for Mortgage Assistance (RMA) including if borrower would like to sell or keep the property, if the property is listed for sale, if the property is owner occupied, reason for hardship etc. After completing this information you must then upload the supporting documents including the signed and dated RMA, bank statements, pay stubs, profit and loss statement, 4506-T, rental income information, and any other supporting documents based on the Borrower’s situation. Upon submission the Lender gains access and then can review the file and inform you via the portal of information or documents still needed. The Counselor is able to view the pending status and communicate with Lender throughout the review process.
            The website is not entirely user-friendly but they do offer and encourage training webinars.  It still has its glitches to work out as well but overall I feel this is a step in the right direction for the modification application process. Many Borrowers and counselors who have applied for a modification can tell you that it is by no means an easy process. Much of the time spent on the modification application is wrapped up in the submission and re-submission of documents and following up with the Lender to ensure receipt and review of those documents. It is my hope that the Hope Loan Port will eliminate a lot of this back and forth and will also de-mystify the process by creating and maintaining more transparency during the application review.  

            I am interested to see how they will further adapt the website to be more user/Borrower friendly. At this point in time only Counseling Agencies and the Mortgage Lenders or Insurers may access and use the portal. I am curious to see if eventually they will develop an access point for Borrowers so they may submit their modification application online on their own. 

Laura Palermo will keep us in the loop as this program gets perfected, but in the interim, this is an exciting new program that will hopefully help to organize the chaos now existing in the loan modification process. Go check it out!