Representatives from 10 of the nation's largest home mortgage lenders will meet face to face with homeowners March 29 in Modesto at a massive foreclosure prevention workshop.
Banks and lenders are sending their "loss mitigation specialists" to Modesto to negotiate with borrowers who are having trouble paying their mortgages and are at risk of foreclosure.
The lenders will consider making assorted loan modifications -- temporary and permanent -- to make their monthly mortgage costs affordable for borrowers. Interest rates may be lowered, repayment schedules may be arranged and alternatives to foreclosure may be offered.
"We're going to finally be able to get some help on these loans," Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour said. "Instead of letting homeowners dangle out there, maybe they can keep their homes."
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The free event -- sponsored by The Modesto Bee, the state of California and the city of Modesto -- is expected to be among the largest ever.
All financially troubled homeowners throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley are invited to attend the March 29 event, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Modesto Centre Plaza, 1000 K St.
Reservations are not needed.
Spanish-language translators will be available.
During the past 12 months, approximately 11,737 homes have been lost to foreclosure in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties. Thousands of additional homes are in the process of being foreclosed on.
Ridenour encouraged homeowners to fight to keep their homes by talking to their lenders at the event.
"We're trying to keep these families from just walking away," he said.
Here are the lenders and loan servicing companies that have agreed to attend March 29:
Bank of America
Carrington Mortgage Serv-ices
Litton Loan Servicing
Wilshire Credit Corp.
For homeowners whose lenders are not present, free one-on-one counseling will be provided by housing specialists, including those certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They will review each homeowner's finances and loan documents to suggest strategies for avoiding foreclosure.
Counselors will include those from Project Sentinel, ByDesign Financial Solutions, Visionary Home Builders of California, No Homeowner Left Behind-Stanislaus, El Concilio Community Center and the Mortgage Brokers Association.
Also attending and providing consumer information will be representatives from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD, and from California's Department of Real Estate; Department of Financial Institutions; State and Consumer Services Agency; and Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.
While the event will last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., organizers predict lines will be longest at the start and near the end. For that reason, homeowners are encouraged to consider arriving midway through the event.
People who attend should expect to spend several hours meeting with lenders, counselors and waiting their turn. Seating will be provided inside for about 300 people at a time.
Homeowners will be asked to complete assorted forms, which will vary depending on the lender.
To help homeowners fill out the paperwork and negotiate the best deals with lenders, here's what they should bring:
Proof of identification
Financial hardship letter: Write an explanation of your financial hardship or reason for being delinquent on your mortgage. Include what you plan to do to resolve your hardship.
Loan documents: Original mortgage contracts and all recent letters from your lender
Income statements: Copies of your most recent payroll stubs or other income records
Bank statements: Copies of your account balances and stock portfolio statements
Federal income tax return: Including copies of last year's W-2 statements
Bills and expenses: List monthly expenses, debts and obligations, including utility, medical and credit card bills as well as property taxes and auto loans.
Assets list: Detail what you own, such as cars, boats or vacation property.
Credit report: If possible, bring a copy of your credit report and check it for errors.
To help organize their finances, homeowners are encouraged to fill out a simple expense and asset report before the workshop. An easy-to-print copy of a family budget form is posted at www.modbee.com/housing.
There is no guarantee lenders at the event will agree to help all homeowners who attend. There are, however, numerous ways lenders can alter mortgages to make it easier for homeowners to make payments and stay in their homes.
Deals also can be made to enable borrowers to get out of their loans in ways that will avoid foreclosures being posted on their credit records.
Here are some of the things lenders may agree to do:
Forbearance: A temporary reduction or suspension of the mortgage payment until the homeowner's finances improve
Loan modification: A written agreement that permanently changes the loan terms to make the payments more affordable
Reinstatement: An agreement to let the homeowner pay a lump sum for the amount past due in trade for stopping a foreclosure
Repayment plan: An agreement that gives a fixed amount of time to repay what's past due along with regular monthly mortgage payments, which enables homeowners to eventually become current on payments
Short sale: If the house can be sold for a price below what is owed on the loan, the lender may accept the lower amount and write off the rest of what's owed.
Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure: The mortgage can be canceled and the title to the property transferred to the lender.
Assumption: A qualified buyer may be permitted to take over the mortgage debt and make the mortgage payments.
For more information about the March 29 foreclosure prevention workshop, go to: www.modbee.com/housing.
Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2196.