WASHINGTON - Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan
unveiled two new Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
aimed at encouraging delinquent mortgage borrowers to
get help by contacting their lenders or a trusted
housing counselor in order to avoid foreclosure.
"As these ads so powerfully underscore, doing nothing is
the worst thing a delinquent borrower can do," Mr. Dugan
said at a symposium on preventing foreclosures,
sponsored by NeighborWorks America, which developed the
PSAs in partnership with the Ad Council. As Comptroller,
Mr. Dugan is a member of NeighborWorks America,s board
"And the longer the delay, the worse it gets," he added.
"The record shows that the early stages of mortgage
delinquency are the most crucial. The sooner borrowers
reach out for help, the more options they have, and the
more likely foreclosure may be avoided."
Mr. Dugan noted that in half of all foreclosures,
lenders say borrowers do not make contact with them.
Yet, more than one-third of those who reach out for
assistance are successful in finding alternatives to
"All of this means that many of the 1.26 million
borrowers who entered foreclosure last year might have
been helped if they had acted earlier to contact their
lender, or consult a trusted housing counselor," Mr.
The video ads will be targeted in areas where mortgage
delinquencies are rising, Mr. Dugan said. They encourage
homeowners experiencing financial difficulties to call
1-888-995 HOPE, a toll-free hotline staffed around the
clock, seven days a week, by 85 qualified housing
counselors from agencies approved by the Department of
Housing and Urban Affairs.
In his speech, the Comptroller praised NeighborWorks
America for the work it has done in creating programs
that help families buy homes and avert foreclosures. He
also cited private sector participants for supporting
local foreclosure prevention partnerships, noting that
many financial institutions have volunteered time to
serve local NeighborWorks organizations and housing
"As for national banks, they too, have recognized the
importance of these efforts ^ even though they have
played a relatively smaller role in the subprime
mortgage market than other lenders. Indeed, some
national banks made the initial financial commitments
that helped establish the Center for Foreclosure
Solutions," Mr. Dugan said, adding that Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac also have made direct financial commitments
that will help subprime borrowers.
"I wish the same were true of more of the non-federally
regulated lenders and loan servicers that have fueled
the rapid growth of the subprime market - and profited
handsomely from it," he said. "It could make similar
contributions to assist borrowers to avoid foreclosures
The Comptroller added that the OCC and the other federal
bank regulators have issued a statement on working with
mortgage borrowers to avoid foreclosure that recognizes
the benefits provided by reputable counseling
organizations. The banking agencies also have said that
banks will not be penalized for working responsibly with
delinquent borrowers, within the limits of safety and
soundness, to find reasonable workout arrangements
rather than foreclosing on their loans immediately.
"In fact, we have encouraged banks to think creatively
about using activities eligible for credit under the
Community Reinvestment Act to pursue workable solutions
for rising delinquencies and defaults," he said. "We
have advised national banks that CRA credit is available
for participation in foreclosure avoidance programs
targeted to low- and moderate-income borrowers in the
banks, assessment areas."
The Comptroller cited a number of other measures the
agencies have taken to help homeowners avert
foreclosure, including cooperative efforts with the
states to extend federal guidance on nontraditional and
subprime loans to state-licensed lenders.
"Through all of these endeavors, we have learned that it
is not enough to achieve homeownership," Mr. Dugan said.
"We - all of us operating in our respective roles - have
to work hard to sustain homeownership. And I am
confident that NeighborWorks America and its allies will
continue to lead the way."
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.