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Ohio Cites RH Rewards as Alternative Option for Underwater Borrowers

""Loan Value Group"":http://www.loanvaluegroup.com/ recently announced that its ""Responsible Homeowner Reward"":http://www.rhreward.com/ (RH Reward) program has been included as an alternative resource in[IMAGE]

Ohio's ""Hardest Hit Fund"":http://www.ohiohome.org/homebuyer/hardesthit.aspx (HHF) plan for homeowners who are underwater on their mortgage but may not qualify for the official state-run programs.

The federal government's Hardest Hit Program provides grant money for housing finance agencies in designated states such as Ohio to develop localized programs to help unemployed homeowners and those with high negative equity avoid foreclosure. Ohio's housing finance agency will receive an allocation of $172 million in federal funding to address the challenges facing homeowners in the state.

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While no direct HHF funds will be used to finance the RH Reward, which provides cash incentives to eligible homeowners who remain current on their mortgages, the proposal points out the potential for the program to prevent redefault after modification and avert strategic default.

For borrowers with a loan-to-value ratio of 115 percent or more, a servicer could employ the RH Reward to incentivize these homeowners to continue making payments. In addition, an underwater homeowner may be eligible to receive the RH Reward in the form of principal reduction as part of a loan modification.

""Ohio's action with the Hardest Hit Fund is a milestone in individual states dealing with the impact on their residents of a national problem: widespread negative equity,"" said Frank Pallotta, EVP of the New Jersey-based Loan Value Group. ""We are pleased that the Responsible Homeowner Reward program has been mentioned as an alternative resource in this comprehensive package of homeowner relief.""

Since the program was launched in February of this year, some $90 million in RH Rewards have been offered in Ohio and more than 40 other states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The size of the homeowner's reward is dependent on several factors, including the size of the mortgage and the amount of negative equity.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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