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HOPE NOW adopts new guidelines to speed help to foreclosure victimsMortgagePress.comHOPE NOW Alliance, foreclosures, MBA, Financial Services Roundtable, Steve Bartlett, Housing Policy Council HOPE NOW, the industry alliance of mortgage lenders, servicers, investors, and counselors, has announced that its servicer members have agreed to a uniform set of procedures and guidelines that will greatly enhance the ability of homeowners to quickly receive the help they need and ensure that the assistance process is respectful, understandable, and transparent. The agreement also includes the mortgage lending industry's first-ever guidance for dealing with second mortgages and short sales. "These new guidelines will greatly expedite the process of preventing foreclosures," said Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW. "The industry is committed to helping distressed borrowers stay in their homes whenever possible and these guidelines will help in that effort." For the first time, the new guidelines establish a common, streamlined timetable that will be used by each HOPE NOW mortgage servicer when working with a homeowner to prevent a foreclosure. The guidelines establish a common set of principles on the possible foreclosure prevention alternatives including loan modifications, repayment plans, partial claims, and temporarily suspending the need to make monthly payments. The agreement also includes procedures to keep homeowners informed about the status of their request to their servicer for help. Additionally, it encourages servicers to provide access to objective, independent, and free counseling for homeowners while putting in place detailed procedures that will allow servicers to reach out to homeowners who may be in danger of losing their home. "The guidelines also include an agreement relating to second mortgages which is important to help clear the path for increased modifications and re-financing," said Schwartz. "It's critical to remember that nobody benefits when a homeowner faces foreclosure," said Jonathan L. Kempner, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. "Creating these servicing procedures was the right thing to do, both for consumers and for the industry, and it's something that the HOPE NOW Alliance is entirely united on as it continues to fulfill its mission of helping as many homeowners as possible stay in their homes each and every day. "This is another clear sign of the industry's commitment to helping more homeowners avoid foreclosure," said Steve Bartlett, president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable. "We are bringing more transparency and clarity to the process and that is a positive for the homeowner." "These new guidelines will bolster some of the existing policies that servicers have already had in place, while creating important new ones," said John Dalton, president of the Housing Policy Council. "We are seeing more coordination within in the industry with the hope of preventing more foreclosures." The new agreement was developed between April and June 2008. "Although many of the HOPE NOW mortgage servicers have been implementing some procedures similar to many of these for some time, they are now agreeing to fully implement this uniform plan in 60 days or less." Please click here for the summary of the Servicer Guidelines. Please click here for the full Servicer Guidelines. For more information, visit visit www.HOPENOW.com.