Bank of America has announced that it will continue to expand community outreach in 2011 through a doubling of outreach staffing, new regional customer assistance centers, more community-based events and increased collaboration with non-profit housing counselors. The company named Rebecca Mairone as national mortgage outreach executive to spearhead this important initiative. Mairone will report directly to Bank of America Executive Vice President Terry Laughlin, who leads the newly created Legacy Asset Servicing unit.
Mairone’s new responsibilities will include managing and growing the number of customer assistance centers, overseeing outreach events, building stronger relationships with non-profit housing groups, leading specialized mortgage modification programs and serving as the liaison with key external stakeholders, including the Department of Treasury who oversees the Making Home Affordable Program.
“Providing customers with face-to-face counseling and on-site decision making is a key element in continually improving the process for customers experiencing financial hardship,” said Laughlin. “Rebecca’s deep knowledge of default servicing and modification programs makes her a natural choice to lead this effort.”
Since the beginning of 2011, Bank of America has increased its outreach to regions that have experienced some of the most significant impact from the downturn in the economy and housing market.
Regional Customer Assistance Centers: In February, Bank of America opened centers in Seattle and Chicago, and plans to open four new regional centers near Washington, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Francisco in the next two months. The bank’s assistance centers hosted meetings with more than 12,000 customers in 2010.
►Partnership outreach events: Bank of America has already participated in 26 events since January, in association with regional and national non-profit partners such as HOPE Now and Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA). Bank of America has committed to participating in more than 15 NACA “Save the Dream” events this year.
►Bank of America home preservation events: The bank has launched a series of borrower outreach events exclusively for Bank of America Home Loans customers, completing events in Phoenix, Chicago and Detroit already this year, meeting with more than 3,300 customers. Another 10 independent events are planned around the country in the first half of 2011.
►Non-profit housing partners: The bank works with more than 2,000 non-profit housing organizations across the country, and is active in training and updating housing counseling groups about modification programs and processes. A dedicated homeownership retention unit helps facilitate the modifications process for non-profit groups. Bank of America supported the formation and ongoing operations of the Alliance for Stabilizing our Communities, led by the National Urban League, the National Council of La Raza, and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community. The Alliance concentrates its efforts on assisting multicultural homeowners facing foreclosure to secure affordable home retention solutions. In 2010, the group held 21 events across the country.
“Our efforts to keep financially distressed customers in their homes have resulted in nearly 800,000 loan modifications in the last three years, but the exceptional severity and length of this economic crisis leaves us with much more work to do,” said Mairone. “By establishing a presence in the community, we’ve had greater success reaching customers who have not been responsive to more traditional contact methods.”
Mairone has served in numerous leadership positions in Bank of America’s homeownership retention and default servicing programs. Most recently, she was responsible for continued improvements to processes designed to support circumstances where customers are no longer able to stay in their home, such as short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, and where other alternatives are not possible.
For more information, visit www.bankofamerica.com.