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Fannie Mae Announces Know Your Options Customer Care Foreclosure Prevention Program

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By Andrew Wilson

Recently, Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTC) launched Know Your Options Customer Care, a customer engagement strategy and training program for servicers aimed at preventing foreclosures by developing consultative relationships with struggling homeowners. Under the program, Fannie Mae personnel conduct trainings for servicers’ call center employees, provide scripting for interactions with homeowners and help implement ongoing quality control measures.

“Everybody wins when we can prevent foreclosure: the servicer, Fannie Mae, and most importantly, the homeowner and their community,” says Leslie Peeler, Senior Vice President, National Servicing Organization, Fannie Mae. “What we’ve learned through the housing crisis is that if everybody takes the responsibility to work together and act early, then we can prevent foreclosures and keep families in their homes in many cases. We want our servicers to be trusted counselors to their customers, from attentively collecting documents to advising them of their options and guiding them through the process.”

Fannie Mae has been developing the Know Your Options Customer Care program for approximately one year and is already implementing it with 18 of its largest servicers. One of the key elements of the program is creating a single point of contact in the call center for each customer to ensure that rapport is built with the homeowner, regular contact is maintained through the loss mitigation process, and that foreclosure prevention options are properly presented and pursued. Servicers that have participated in the program have typically seen 20-30 percent increases in workouts. We are now making our training available through online webinars and program materials so all servicers may participate and implement Know Your Options Customer Care. The program is available free of charge to servicers.

“Helping homeowners avoid foreclosure is our top priority,” says Eric Schuppenhauer, Senior Vice President and Head of Servicing at JPMorgan Chase, which was one of the first servicers to begin participating in Know Your Options Customer Care. “When a homeowner calls Chase, they have a single point of contact to help guide them through the process, whether they’re seeking a loan modification or other assistance. We are pleased to be working with Fannie Mae to help more families stay in their homes.”

In addition to Know Your Options Customer Care, Fannie Mae has taken a number of steps to help prevent foreclosures, including:

  • Launching the KnowYourOptions.com website to provide educational tools and resources for homeowners
  • Opening 12 Mortgage Help Centers in areas hardest hit by the housing crisis to provide individual assistance to Fannie Mae homeowners
  • Implementing the Servicing Alignment Initiative with the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Freddie Mac to require early outreach by servicers to struggling homeowners
  • Requiring servicers to reduce timelines for short sales
  • Developing and implementing the Servicing Total Achievement and Rewards (STAR) program to evaluate and motivate servicers’ performance in helping homeowners

Contact information for Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Help Centers and additional resources for homeowners can be found at www.knowyouroptions.com.

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