Hope LoanPort (HLP), the national, neutral, non-profit Web-based system designed to bring efficiency, consistency and transparency to the processing of foreclosure alternatives, announces the launch of the state of Maryland Mediation Portal (Portal) which is the first statewide mediation portal in the country. Maryland and GMAC Mortgage collaborated with HLP with the objective of increasing the number of Maryland homeowners who opt-in by providing a Web-based method for homeowners to participate in meaningful foreclosure mediation. Since Maryland launched its mediation program in July 2010, homeowners have been submitting paper copies of documents to Maryland’s Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). Now they have the option of submitting all documents and information electronically through the Portal. In addition to the OAH, Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) and Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) led the effort to support the launch.
"Maryland has led the nation in its swift response to the foreclosure crisis," said Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. "Since 2007, we have worked to preserve homeownership through legislation, supporting resources for homeowners and with extensive outreach. We are moving forward, but we haven't reached the finish line yet. Bringing efficiency and transparency to the mediation process will provide homeowners facing foreclosure with a new opportunity to meet with their servicer and thoroughly review any alternatives to foreclosure that may be available.”
The Portal enables all mediation participants, including the mortgage servicer, the state mediator, the housing counselor working with the homeowner, and the servicer’s foreclosure attorney, to more effectively communicate and exchange information required for a successful mediation. By using the Portal, all parties are able to, in a secure and safe manner, exchange state-required documents for mediation and key information required for the mediation hearing.
The ability of all the parties to easily exchange documents and information is crucial to a meaningful mediation. The Portal helps the mortgage servicer to consider all foreclosure alternatives, from loan modifications to short sales, and the homeowner to be better informed of his or her options.
With the launch of the Portal, Maryland mediators, as well as the homeowner and other mediation participants, will benefit from the use of new hardware procured by the state; such as laptops and signature pads used to electronically enter the terms and conditions of the mediation directly into the Portal. This will make it easier for all stakeholders to exchange mediation agreements in a clear, consistent, and easy-to-read format.
“HOPE NOW applauds the efforts of Hope LoanPort, GMAC and the state of Maryland in creating this groundbreaking tool," said Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW. "Automating the mediation process, particularly for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, is a win-win for all stakeholders involved. HOPE NOW has supported Hope LoanPort since its inception and the Mediation Portal is another important step in its evolution. We hope that the Portal will serve as the model for other servicers and states to follow in the near future.”