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Interest Rate and Principal Reductions for Borrowers

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Partners SW

The following is an extract from recent reports by Countrywide/ Bank of America regarding assistance to borrowers. For more complete iformation please go to their website www.countrywide.com or call 1-800-669-6607.

Interest Rate and Principal Reductions for Borrowers

Bank of America recently announced the creation of a proactive home retention program that will systematically modify troubled mortgages with up to $8.4 billion in interest rate and principal reductions for nearly 400,000 Countrywide Financial Corporation customers nationwide.

The program is designed to achieve affordable and sustainable mortgage payments for borrowers who financed their homes with subprime loans or pay option adjustable rate mortgages serviced by Countrywide and originated prior to December 31, 2007.  Bank of America acquired Countrywide July 1, 2008.

Countrywide mortgage servicing personnel will be equipped to serve eligible borrowers with new program elements by December 1, 2008 and will then begin proactive outreach to eligible customers.  Foreclosure sales will not be initiated or advanced for borrowers likely to qualify until Countrywide has made an affirmative decision on the borrower's eligibility.  

The centerpiece of the program is a proactive loan modification process to provide relief to eligible borrowers who are seriously delinquent or are likely to become seriously delinquent as a result of loan features, such as rate resets or payment recasts.  

Various options will be considered for eligible customers to ensure modifications are affordable and sustainable.   First-year payments of principal, interest, taxes and insurance will be targeted to equate to 34 percent of the borrower's income.  Modified loans feature limited step-rate interest rate adjustments to ensure annual principal and interest payments increase at levels with minimal risk of payment shock.  Modification options include, among others:

  • FHA refinancing under the HOPE for Homeowners Program;
  • Interest rate reductions, which may be granted automatically through streamlined processing; and
  • Principal reductions on Pay Option adjustable rate mortgages that restore lost equity for certain borrowers.  


The program applies to eligible mortgage loan customers serviced by Countrywide and who occupy the home as their primary residence.  Under the national program, Countrywide will not charge eligible borrowers loan modification fees, and Countrywide will waive prepayment penalties for subprime and pay option ARM loans that it or its affiliates own.  Some loan modifications will be subject to compliance with servicing contracts and some will require investor approval.

If I believe I can benefit from this program, who do I call?
Beginning December 1, 2008, Countrywide mortgage servicing personnel will be ready to serve eligible borrowers with the new program elements and will launch a proactive outreach initiative for eligible borrowers. Customers who have questions about their eligibility should call Countrywide at 1-800-669-6607 or log onto www.countrywide.com for more information about this new program.