After four and a half years, the ""National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling"":http://www.nw.org/network/foreclosure/nfmcp/ (NFMC) program has assisted about 1.5 million at-risk homeowners, according to a ""NeighborWorks America"":http://www.nw.org/network/index.asp report.[IMAGE]
Consumers who received mortgage modification assistance from NFMC, which is administered by NeighborWorks, saw their monthly payments decrease by an average of $176 more per month compared to non-NFMC clients, NeighborWorks reported. The savings represents an annual savings of $372 million for NFMC clients.
In addition, homeowners who sought assistance from NFMC were nearly twice as likely to receive a modification, and they were at least 67 percent more likely to stay current 9 months after getting modified, according to the report.
The report also stated that in 2008 and 2009, the program has led to combined savings of about $920 million between local governments, lenders, and homeowners.[COLUMN_BREAK]
The low mortgage rate environment has also brought relief to clients' mortgage burdens. For example, in October 2008, 30 percent of clients reported they had interest rates below 8 percent compared to 57 percent in August 2012.
According to the report, the main struggle for NFMC customers facing foreclosure is generally income loss or income reduction. About 37 percent of program clients are spending half or more of their income on their monthly mortgage payment, and about 19 percent are spending more than 75 percent of their income on their mortgage.
Among NFMC counselors, the greatest challenge reported continued to be efficient and timely communication with servicers, with more than 40 percent of counselors citing the challenge as an issue.
NFMC has received six appropriations from Congress since December 2007 totaling $619.87 million. As of August 31, 2012, NeighborWorks reported $583.3 million went toward foreclosure counseling and legal assistance to at-risk homeowners. Another $24 million has been allocated for counselor training and other capacity-building activities.
""A homeowner who receives help from the NFMC program saves significant money and time and, importantly, is able to remain in their home,"" said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen Fitzgerald. ""The NFMC program has provided counseling in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. We're proud to spotlight the excellence and perseverance of homeownership counselors in helping people to stay in their homes.""