An article by Jamie Smith Hopkins in The Sun (20th December) is said to have presented an inaccurate picture of the efforts being made in Maryland to modify loans. TheHousing and Community Developmenthas never lagged behind in allowing modifications to eligible borrowers. In fact DHCD has overreached itself and provided better services than the commercial banks and their servicers. The name of their help programme is Maryland Mortgage Program. They do not wait for the house owners to knock on their doors but have chalked out a plan for their servicers to contact the borrowers who are defaulting. Phone calls are not only returned but these are also made.
The plan (Maryland Mortgage Program) targets help to first time nest builders with reasonable mortgage rates and help as regards down payment. When their borrowers, irrespective of the reason begin to face problems in making payments on their mortgages, the plan helps them and takes every possible angle of assistance to modify the loans so as to give affordable assistance to the borrowers by the programme.
However not all the borrowers call on them for lowering their payments. They are requesting help for saving their houses. Assistance is provided by the program – sometimes without lowering the payment schedule. Each modification that leads to a lowering of the premium comes with a cost that is borne by the insurer of the mortgage or the department. The cost has to be considered while trying to solve the problems of individual house owners facingforeclosure.
There are no easy quick fixes for the individuals – solutions differ from one case to another. A host of other complicated financial conditions are taken into account. The unit gives each house owner honest information, sans any bias, about the alternatives so that it is they who can take the best decisions suitable for their family.
The programme is looking for solutions that can be sustained. A home is not saved merely by lowering the mortgage payments; the house owners should be able to keep up with the payments or the danger will not go. Maryland will be continuing to work in tandem with the lenders, servicers and insurers of mortgage as well as housing counselors and advocates to chalk out viable solutions that will be sustainable by the working households.
DHCD was quick in seeing to the making of mortgage payments affordable for its clients. They have responded to the crisis and have been responsible.
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