Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Citimortgage announces Loan Modification Program

Citimortgage announced yesterday it had its own loan modification program. Under the program, home owners have the option to pay around $500 a month on their mortgage for three months if they meet certain criteria. Citimortgage is targeting those homeowners that are unemployed and perhaps behind in their payments. This is a great idea from Citimortgage and it’s time for more companies to propose something along these lines.

This proposal allows people to stay in their homes and also keeps the asset on the books for Citimortgage. Hopefully, this is more than a stopgap measure and homeowners will take advantage of this offer. They are even freezing credit reporting during the process as well. It is a win-win for both parties. Citi would loose a lot more if the house went into foreclosure than by asking someone to pay what amounts to rent on a one-bedroom apartment in most cities. It also protects other homeowners because this should help stabilize some property values.

This does what the government has tried to do through two pieces of legislation. It tackles the original problem of the economic turn we are in. It goes after home foreclosures. Once again, a business based solution trumps government.

This follows on the heels of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s plans to rent foreclosed properties. Many renters were being evicted because the owners were being foreclosed upon, affecting the innocent tenants. While still being owned by Freddie (and in effect, the government) the plan keeps the homes occupied and from falling into a state of disrepair. Just like the Citi plan, it helps to stabilize home values and keeps a stream on income on the asset instead of letting it sit.

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