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Mortgage Assistance in Miami-Dade County.

Mortgage and foreclosure prevention assistance

A new program started by Miami and Dade County will offer mortgage help and ensure that Florida homeowners have a chance to get a mortgage loan modification or other mortgage assistance in an effort to prevent foreclosures.

This new assistance program is being created so to help ensure that borrowers and mortgage lenders are communicating, which is something that does not appear to be happening right now.

This mortgage program, which is being called CHAMP, as in the Circuit Homestead Access to Mediation Program, will require that lenders need to contact the Collins Center for Public Policy ((305) 377-4484), which is a public policy group with an offices located in Miami, Florida, within five days of filing a foreclosure notice on a homeowner. Then the Collins Center for Public Policy will quickly reach out to homeowners to let them know both financial counseling and mediation are available. The public policy center will also arrange the mediation process.

When the loan mediation process occurs, banks and lenders that have the authority to approve a settlement, including modifying the mortgage, must be present in order for the foreclosure to proceed. Those lenders that do not comply with this rule face having their foreclosure cases thrown out of court. Overall, this mediation process should take no longer than 120 days and it is not a big expense as it should cost a lender no more than $750 per filing. This mediation process should help reduce the number of foreclosures occurring in Miami and Dade County.

Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court formed a task force to explore mediation options that could be implemented statewide. Several districts have different programs in place making it difficult for national lenders to comply with the patchwork of rules.

Some banks are unhappy with this mortgage aid. They say that before a bank or lender files a foreclosure notice, that they have already done enormous amounts of up front research and work to contact a borrower and reach some kind of loss-mitigation agreement or loan modification. Also, lenders claim that they have already picked up the pace of mortgage loan modifications among delinquent borrowers. A report from the federal government HOPE NOW program said that in February lenders and servicers modified loans for almost 140,000 homeowners nationwide and crafted repayment plans for about 110,000 additional homeowners, thus preventing foreclosures.


By Jon McNamara

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