Bankrate asked 10 top lenders -- Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, Countrywide, IndyMac, National City, Residential Capital (GMAC), Wachovia, WaMu and Wells Fargo -- to outline their procedures for helping struggling borrowers save their homes.
What is the first thing borrowers should do if they are at risk of missing a payment?
Homeowners should begin by calling us and expressing their interest in keeping their home; the sooner a homeowner
reaches us, the more options we have to find a solution.
The homeowner should prepare for the call by gathering income and expense documentation that might be needed to
consider a potential workout.
When should they call you – before they're late with their first payment, or sometime later
on (e.g., 60 to 90 days after missing the first payment)?
Timing is critical for borrowers facing financial difficulty. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage encourages customers who have financial
issues to contact us early -- as soon as they know they're going to miss a mortgage payment -- so we can implement a solution.
The sooner a customer notifies us of a problem, the more options we'll have available to help.
Who should they ask to speak to?
Customers should contact the appropriate Wells Fargo office:
- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Customer Service: (800) 678-7986
- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage ARM Reset Help: (866) 398-7556
- Wells Fargo Financial: (800) 275-9254
- Wells Fargo Home Equity: (800) 944-4601
The customer's most recent statement or payment coupon provides the best insight on which entity and phone number to call.
What information should they have available when they call?
The most important thing is to call. The homeowner can prepare for the call by gathering income and expense documentation including pay
stubs, household bills such as utility and telephone bills, grocery expenses, transportation costs and any other required expenses that
the household must meet each month such as school fees or college tuition payments. This helps us understand the customer's complete
Additionally, customers need to know their loan number, which is listed on their monthly statement.
What types of solutions might be available to them?
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has a number of options available to help customers facing financial difficulties. We use foreclosure only as
a very last resort. We make every attempt within the confines of investor requirements to develop an individualized solution that helps
our customers get through a difficult time so they can stay in their homes. Depending on investor guidelines, some of the options include:
Repayment plan. A repayment plan is one of the more common solutions we employ for customers in default. It is a plan that
allows the customer to cure the delinquency over time, while still making their regular mortgage payments.
Loan modification. Customers in default may also be given an option to modify their current loan. A loan modification changes
one or more terms of the original note, such as the interest rate or unpaid principal balance. A loan modification brings a delinquent
account current because the past due interest and escrow are added to the unpaid principal balance, which is then re-amortized over the