""Chase"":http://www.chase.com, the consumer and commercial banking arm of New York's ""JPMorgan Chase & Co."":http://www.jpmorganchase.com says it ""remains committed to helping customers avoid foreclosure.""
[IMAGE] In an ""announcement issued Wednesday"":http://investor.shareholder.com/jpmorganchase/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=502285, the bank outlined several key initiatives it has undertaken to better serve borrowers who are struggling with their mortgage payments.
Over the last 18 months, Chase has added 8,000 loan counselors and other staffers to work directly with distressed homeowners. The bank says it was the first major servicer to open face-to-face counseling centers in the hardest-hit areas of the country. Counselors at the company's 51 strategically located centers have met with nearly 100,000 struggling homeowners since early 2009.
The bank says it assigns a specific counselor to each customer. This counselor walks the borrower through the modification process and is their primary contact within Chase.
In addition, the company has established a centralized location for document collection and imaging Ã¢â‚¬" a move that Chase says makes it easier to review a customer's file and reduces the need for borrowers to resend documents.
The bank says its goal is to complete the loan modification evaluation within 30 days of receiving a borrower's completed application package.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""Time and time again, homeowners have told us how helpful it is to talk one on one with a Chase loan counselor,"" said Charlie Scharf, head of Retail Financial Services at Chase. ""Our counselors listen to each family and then help them start the process, fill out documents, and walk them through possible options - all at no charge to the customer.""
Chase has also hosted or participated with community groups in more than 1,000 local events, including multi-day events that have helped more than 2,000 customers in one location.
In all, Chase says it has met with more than 140,000 homeowners at its mortgage help centers and special outreach events.
Since the beginning of 2009, the bank says it has offered more than 900,000 mortgage modifications to struggling homeowners through a wide range of programs, including the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and Chase's own proprietary mod programs, as well as those offered by the GSEs.
To date, 270,361 have been approved for a permanent modification and 214,529 homeowners have accepted and received a permanent mortgage restructuring.
Chase says it is also expanding its team to assist customers who are not eligible for a modification and want to pursue a short sale or other foreclosure prevention option.
Recognizing that some families can't afford their own home, Chase has also worked closely with local nonprofit organizations to donate foreclosed homes or sell them at substantial discounts.
In turn, the organizations rehab the home and provide them to families in need. Partnering with the Neighborhood Stabilization Trust and other community organizations, Chase has donated or sold at a discount more than 900 homes.