“The guidelines are fundamental to our responsible lending and servicing practices, which we have long incorporated into our general business practices. We have seen the difference they make for distressed borrowers,” said Michael J. Heid, co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and chairman of the Financial Services Roundtable Housing Policy Council.
The new guidelines set common expectations for distressed borrowers, such as the documents they will need to provide to discuss solutions and when they will receive communication from their servicers. The guidelines also recommend conduct related to customer outreach, the types of solutions servicers should investigate with at-risk consumers, tracking home retention performance, and how to manage the subordination of second liens. The members of the HOPE NOW Alliance represent about 90 percent of all subprime borrowers, and about two-thirds of all prime borrowers.
“Key to the foundation of HOPE NOW was the desire on the part of both the public and private sectors to coordinate efforts to assist people facing challenges with their mortgage payments,” Heid added. “From the beginning, this work has included exploring and adopting best practices, and establishing a means to measure our collective progress."
“At Wells Fargo, we have invested significant resources into proactively contacting and working with borrowers on case-by-case solutions that align with their individual needs and that respect the important role investors play in this process,” says Mary Coffin, executive vice president of loan servicing at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “We have made sizeable investments in innovations, technology and staffing. This, in conjunction with our evolving responsible servicing practices, has helped us to further our efforts to proactively communicate and set appropriate expectations for borrowers."
Wells Fargo conducted a study of its borrowers up to 60-or-more-days delinquent on their loans and not in foreclosure or bankruptcy and found that of every 10 of these borrowers: 7 worked with the company on a solution, 2 declined the company’s help, and the remainder were either unreachable or a solution could not be found.
“The homeowner’s willingness to work with us is a crucial component of our success in helping the person to remain in the home,” said Coffin. “To avert foreclosures we all must work together – customers, lenders, counselors and investors – on solutions that continue to make homeownership achievable and sustainable for customers across the credit spectrum. These challenges are not easy to solve, but we are committed to doing all that we can to reach the best outcomes possible for all involved."
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $595 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through almost 6,000 stores and the internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the U.S., and one of only two banks worldwide, to have the highest possible credit rating from both Moody's Investors Service, “Aaa,” and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, “AAA."