Friday, November 21, 2008

Regions Program Helps Keep Residential Mortgage Foreclosures Low

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) today announced that it has reached out to over 103,000 residential first mortgage and home equity customers in the first year of its program to help customers avoid hardship. As a result, Regions has taken steps including renegotiating the terms of mortgages, keeping families in their homes and allowing the company to maintain a foreclosure rate of less than one percent for residential first mortgages.

“We have always taken a very proactive approach to ensure that customers who encounter financial difficulty know that they have options and we want to work with them,” said David Rupp, Regions’ senior executive vice president, Consumer Services. “Foreclosure is always a last resort and we continue to work with all customers to help them stay in their homes whenever possible. In fact, our foreclosure rate is less than half the national average.”

Regions launched its extensive Customer Assistance Program (CAP) for troubled borrowers in late 2007, well before the full effects of the credit crisis were realized by most consumers and businesses. Through this comprehensive program, the company has taken the initiative to help distressed borrowers on a variety of fronts, including:

Proactive solutions

* Contacting customers with adjustable rate mortgages six months prior to rate adjustments to discuss modification of their existing loan or the establishment of a new loan.
* Identifying loans that may qualify for the FHA Secure home loan program.
* Training customer service associates in finding options for distressed borrowers.

Customer communication

* Distributing information flyers for branches and special mailings providing contact information and loss mitigation options.
* Producing DVDs addressing payment hardship assistance.
* Posting detailed information about assistance available to homeowners on the website.

Community-based partnerships

* Implementing the Hope for Homeowners Program, a HUD initiative that provides a refinance option for borrowers who are current or delinquent on their mortgage with a proven inability to make the monthly mortgage payment.
* Funding efforts by NeighborWorks, a nonprofit agency offering borrowers counseling and additional assistance.
* Participating in local foreclosure prevention clinics sponsored by third parties, such as HUD.

Regions does not originate subprime mortgages, option ARMs, negative amortization mortgages or mortgages with below market introductory rates. These are the kinds of mortgages that have been primarily responsible for the rising number of foreclosures throughout the country.

“Regions has a strong record of responsible lending, and in its first year this program has provided even greater resources and options for our borrowers,” said Rupp. “In situations where we hold the first mortgage and can negotiate with willing customers, we are doing all that we can to keep people in their homes.”

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