Tip of the Day: Have Emergency Savings (2/24/09)

February 24, 2009

In today’s tip Dennis Johnson of ClearPoint Financial Solutions and Eric Madkins of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis discuss the importance of having emergency savings. They suggest having at least 3-6 months worth of living expenses saved, just in case something happens. Right now it’s more important than ever to be proactive and plan ahead. The more prepared we are, the better we’ll be able to weather this financial crisis.


The importance of communicating with your mortgage company

November 17, 2008

Written by: Eric Madkins

The Importance of Communicating With Your Mortgage Company

For years housing counselors have worked with existing and potential homeowners.  Whether it is helping homeowners realize the American Dream and/or sustaining that very dream. Today the act of “sustaining” is vital as economic conditions worsen. 


For homeowners who are facing difficulties with their current mortgage, I cannot stress the importance of effective and consistent communication with your mortgage lender or loan servicer.  When I say communication, I mean written and verbal communication.  If your loan is past due, the letters from the mortgage company often continue to pile up.  Please take the time to open and read the letters from your lender!!!  There are new programs that lenders such as Countrywide, Bank of America and Citigroup are extending to their borrowers.  If you are eligible for one of these programs you will receive written communication via postal mail.


Another aspect of communication is verbal.  I know that many borrowers facing difficulty with their mortgage are inundated with collection calls.  Some of the calls may seem never ending.  With several collections departments of these mortgage companies, the main objective is to collect on the debt. 


For borrowers receiving such calls, I recommend requesting to speak to someone in the loss mitigation department.  This department, besides looking to collect on the debt, can actually offer a long-term solution for the borrower.  Again, if you need assistance, in working with your lender do not hesitate to contact a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency. 


A word of advice: if you are working directly with loss mitigation be realistic about the type of plan offered and be forthright about household expenses.  If you enter into a plan without the help of a housing counselor, make sure that the plan is achievable and affordable. 


And lastly, the next form of communication is listening.  Continue to remain informed about the overall mortgage industry because the situation is changing daily.  Many of these changes can have a positive impact on your current mortgage.   In addition, through public policy there are changes that have occurred that may help borrowers, especially borrowers with adjustable rate mortgage.  To find out if you qualify for special programs, please contact your lender and open your mail.  For further information contact a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency, too.


Eric Madkins is a HUD approved housing counselor with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. He can be contacted by e-mail at emadkins@urbanleague-stl.org and by phone at 314-615-3644.