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HOPE LoanPort and GMAC to Launch Mediation Portal in Maryland

""HOPE LoanPort"":http://www.hopeloanportal.org has announced a partnership with the state of Maryland and ""GMAC Mortgage"":http://www.gmacmortgage.com to deliver a direct-to-consumer foreclosure mediation portal. GMAC is funding development of the portal and will be the first mortgage servicer to use it.


The portal, scheduled to go live in October 2011, will be the first statewide program in the nation to allow homeowners and servicers to exchange documents electronically prior to foreclosure mediation. HOPE LoanPort says the portal project will help to minimize problems associated with lost documentation.

Maryland state law provides homeowners who receive a notice of foreclosure the opportunity to meet with their servicer and a mediator to discuss alternatives to foreclosure. A homeowner has 25 days after receiving a notice of foreclosure to ""opt-in"" to foreclosure mediation.

""GMAC Mortgage is committed to preserving home ownership whenever possible and in that spirit, we have been an early-adopter of programs that aim to assist borrowers in financial distress,"" said Steve Abreu, president of GMAC Mortgage. ""Preparing for the mediation process can sometimes be overwhelming and HOPE LoanPort offers borrowers a convenient option to assist with the process.""

HOPE LoanPort is a web-based tool used by non-profit housing counselors, housing finance agencies, investors, and major mortgage servicers, which helps to streamline


the home retention process by allowing direct transmission of borrower applications and information to mortgage servicers.

By developing a web-based mediation solution for both the state of Maryland and mortgage servicers such as GMAC, HOPE LoanPort says the technology will allow for easier document exchange with mortgage servicers and electronic submission of all necessary paperwork for mediation.

The organization says the result will be faster access for distressed homeowners to obtain assistance from housing counselors or pro-bono attorneys. In addition, the system sends out reminders about mediation dates and locations

""Foreclosure mediation is an important tool for homeowners who want to ensure the best possible outcome from dealing with their lenders,"" said Raymond A. Skinner, Maryland's secretary of housing and community development. ""The HOPE LoanPort direct-to-consumer foreclosure mediation portal will make it easier for us to track the progress of those in mediation. It is a way for us to provide more efficient service for our customers.""

In addition to the new mediation portal, HOPE LoanPort has partnered with the state of Maryland to provide a web-based portal for Maryland homeowners working with housing counselors to apply for unemployment assistance through the state's Emergency Mortgage Assistance (EMA) Program.

""We have been committed to making things easier for struggling homeowners since day one and this project is proof that the mortgage industry, the non-profit community and the government are also committed to assisting as many families as possible with their greatest asset â€" their home,"" said Larry Gilmore, president and CEO of HOPE LoanPort.

Currently, almost 3,000 housing counselors in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are using HOPE LoanPort to assist borrowers at risk of foreclosure. Additionally, more than 800 mortgage servicers are connected to the system.

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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