Hotline for At-Risk Loans Not So Helpful

Subprime victims find Hope Now Alliance doesn't live up to billing
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2008 3:46 PM CDT
The Hope Now Alliance, a partnership of lenders and community groups set up by the government, isn't proving the boon to homeowners at risk in the subprime crisis it was promoted as, MSNBC reports.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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(Newser) – A hotline aimed at helping distressed mortgage borrowers is frequently overwhelmed by caller volume and rarely able to provide substantive aid, MSNBC reports. The Hope Now Alliance—a group of lenders and community groups heavily promoted by President Bush—is designed to improve lender-borrower communication and modify mortgages, most commonly interest-rate freezes on adjustable-rate mortgages.

The problem is that most mortgages are tied into securitized loan pools, and the scores of investors with stakes in the pool must be consulted before a loan can be modified. “I was fortunate to find a helpline like Hope,” one borrower told MSBNC, “but the loan modification that I just got from my lender is higher, and I cannot afford it."