The Upside of a Single Point of Contact
Early in the foreclosure crisis, distressed homeowners who called HPF’s HOPE Hotline for assistance often shared with us their frustrations about trying to address their mortgage difficulties with their lenders. One of the biggest ones they cited is the lack of an assigned person to work with them. Accordingly, they were rarely able to speak to the same representative twice and had to continually “start over” in terms of explaining their situation, filling out paperwork, and trying to work out a solution. While this can be irksome for anyone, it is especially discouraging for homeowners who are racing the clock to avoid foreclosure. Many lose hope and eventually give up.
The underlying customer service improvement message wasn’t lost on those working to help homeowners. For example, the government’s Making Home Affordable program requires banks to offer a “Single Point of Contact” to foster better communication between lender and borrower. It was also part of the new servicing standards agreed to under the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement. Though it may seem a relatively simple practice to put in place, it requires some sizable changes to bank business operations.
Recently, Treasury released a progress report focusing on the efforts banks have taken thus far to offer better customer service to its delinquent customers, including efforts to abide by the “Single Point of Contact” mandate. The report shares preliminary data indicating that banks are diligently making the necessary operational changes in pursuit of customer service improvements.
Homeowners seeking foreclosure assistance help can, of course, also simply call our HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE. Our network of professional counselors can help you better understand your financial options, map out a budget and action plan to get your financial health back, and even get on the phone with you and your mortgage servicer to begin the process of finding the right solution to your mortgage challenges. And yes — after the counseling session is over, homeowners are given the contact information for their specific counselor, should they want to follow-up with additional questions.
The most important step for any delinquent borrowers is starting a conversation with the lender, and our counselors are ready 24/7 – even tomorrow on Thanksgiving! – to guide homeowners through the process.