Apparently what has been done so far to help subprime mortgage borrowers hasn't been enough because the Treasury Secretary recently held a press conference to announce the birth of HopeNow. It's a group of institutions that are closely involved in the mortgage origination business. The membership includes a few housing counseling associations, some lenders and loan servicers handling payments and a team speaking for the investors who buy mortgage bonds.
Everyone seems to agree that lack of communication out in the field has been the main reason for the up-to-now poor results. So HopeNow is coming to the rescue with horns blaring. It is supposed to coordinate all the work that is required in loan workouts. It could be stretching out past-due payments over a long time period, decreasing the interest rate, figuring out a short-term repayment schedule and even having a short sale.
The critics didn't waste any time in voicing their opinion about this new entity. To many of them it's just another publicity stunt. HopeNow members are still discussing what kind of guidelines they all would agree to, so very little is going to happen in the near future. Since several of them already have a record of being slow in helping borrowers in distress, what would change now. Besides, their past preference has been to grant only temporary modifications that probably will only delay the inevitable.
It could well be just a PR job, but let's give them a chance to show how much teeth the program actually has.