Oregon CUs offer help on mortgage tumult


BEAVERTON, Ore., November 8, 2007 — Two Oregon credit unions, O.U.R. CU of Eugene and SOFCU Community CU of Grants Pass, shared some experiences helping their members find new options for mortgages recently with the Credit Union Association of Oregon.

Both credit unions are Approved Housing Counseling Agencies for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lynn Meyer, O.U.R. FCU vice president of loans and financial education, noticed a few weeks ago that a member’s home was about to foreclose, with an auction date of Oct. 24. The member had three children, and was just a few days away from being homeless (Oregon Outlook Nov. 6).

Meyer invited the member to the credit union to talk about the foreclosure. He then contacted the member’s mortgage company and got her a forbearance and a loan modification.

Because O.U.R. has been inundated with phone calls regarding foreclosures, Meyer and other staffers have undergone training to prepare to help members through market troubles.

Credit union members need to know that they shouldn’t put their heads in the sand and think that nothing can be done when faced with a foreclosure, said O.U.R. President Loretta Moetsa. If the member contacts the credit union early enough, loss mitigation is possible.

SOFCU holds workshops on home-buying to help members and potential members with their financial situations.

Maggie Burrows, SOFCU real estate loan coordinator and foreclosure counselor, shared her experiences of helping two couples through financial problems during the workshops.

She recently met with a man and a woman who were troubled by a subprime mortgage, she said. The mortgage company refused to modify the loan, and the couple considered a lawsuit, though they could not afford one.

After struggling with the mortgage company’s refusals to help, they inherited a sum when a relative died. They brought their home out of foreclosure, but the mortgage company still refused to waive late charges.

The couple is still paying off the mortgage, Burrows said.

Another couple Burrows helped had trouble communicating expenses with each other. The man and woman couldn’t agree on a budget, and had already completed a partial claim with their lender. They owed money to creditors, but couldn’t honor their agreements to them.

Burrows helped them create a viable repayment plan. She also worked with their creditors to reduce their interest rates. The couple expects to be out of default in two months.


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