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December 15th, 2010

“Call-A-Thon” today for Citi’s troubled homeowners



customer service rep If you’re a struggling Citi mortgage customer, today’s your chance to get a Citi representative on the phone to help you answer your questions about a loan modification or any other foreclosure-prevention effort Citi has to offer, reports Jean Chatzky on WalletPop.com:

On Wednesday, the company’s foreclosure prevention experts will be on hand to answer questions and provide advice. The lines will open at 7 a.m. December 15 Eastern Standard Time and stay open until 1 a.m. December 16, specifically for CitiMortgage customers who have foreclosure concerns. Experts can provide information about various homeowner assistance programs that may be available. Homeowners can call 1-877-617-9465 or log onto: CitiMortgage.com, New.Citi.com, or Blog.CitiMortgage.com.

“We really wanted to refocus attention on what has been our priority, keeping distressed borrowers out of foreclosure and keep them in their homes,” says CitiMortgage spokesman Mark Rogers who notes that between proprietary modifications, HAMP, forebearances and other initiatives the company has helped around 1 million homeowners avoid potential foreclosure since 2007. “This is not just for consumers in default, but those worried about default and with general questions about their modification options,” says Rogers. And what if you’re not a CitiMortgage client? “I imagine [the reps] would give some general information about modification programs,” he notes.

Too little, too late?

There are several reasons why I feel efforts like Citi’s are just too little, too late. Here’s why:

1). HAMP has been around for nearly two years. I’d bet that at this point, the bulk of qualified borrowers have already tried to explore their modification possibilities.

2). Furthermore, the same problems that have limited HAMP’s success — servicer conflicts and second mortgages — have been around since HAMP began, and I don’t see them going away anytime soon (do you?).

HAMP failures

The most recent estimates put the number of permanent modifications made through HAMP — by the time the program concludes — at 800,000 (the White House launched the program in February of 2009 with the expectation of saving 3-4 million homes from foreclosure).

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Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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