Citigroup Home Loan Modification Programs–Can Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure, Are There Alternatives?

Citigroup was among many lenders who participate in the Making Home Affordable Program that testified before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on June 24. The Oversight Committee conducted a review of the Home Affordable Modification Program as many lenders has been criticized for not doing all they can to help homeowners through HAMP. The committee took testimony from major mortgage lenders in the hopes of discovering what more can be done to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and obtain a more affordable home loan payment through the Obama home loan modification program.

The CEO of CitiMortgage, Sanjiv Das, testified before the committee and spoke of Citigroup’s efforts to help homeowners who are still struggling from effects due to the recession and other economic factors like unemployment. Citigroup has been one of the top lenders in the Making Home Affordable Program and they have also been using various mortgage assistance plans to help homeowners who have not been able to qualify for a modification through the Obama Making Home Affordable Program.

While Citigroup has had their share of criticism and complaints, there are stories from homeowners about every lender in the modification program seemingly not doing all they can to help homeowners obtain a modification or at least avoid foreclosure. CEO Sanjiv Das spoke at length about the programs within Citigroup’s CitiMortgage.

Mr. Das made mention of a number of Citigroup programs and cited their participation in the home loan modification program as evidence they are doing all they can to help homeowners. For instance, Citigroup announced that they will enact a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures for homeowners who live in the Gulf Coast region so that families who have been affected by the oil spill may be able to remain in their homes for that time.

Also, Citigroup has used in-house programs to help homeowners who are struggling and may not qualify for a mortgage assistance plan through the Making Home Affordable Program. Mr. Das stated that Citigroup’s own programs use a variety of solutions to help homeowners who are struggling from such problems as unemployment and they have a policy where Citigroup is treating homeowners as individuals rather than simply using the same modification methods for every homeowner.

The CitiMortgage CEO said that like other lenders, Citigroup has been using Short Sale and Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure programs to help those who may be in a very severe mortgage situation. Also, mention was made of CitiMortgage’s alternative modification programs like the Citi Supplemental Modification Program, the Citi Homeowners Unemployment Assistance Program, and the 2nd Lien FDIC Modification Program.

While there are still many problems within the Making Home Affordable Program homeowners are still advised to talk with their mortgage lender about some of these mortgage assistance options that may be able to help them in their current situation. Homeowners will not all find the assistance they need, as the modification program and mortgage lenders are imperfect. Yet, it is hoped the statements made by the CEOs of these mortgage lenders reflect change within certain mortgage lenders’ practices and will lead to a greater number of homes being made more affordable, more foreclosures avoided, and more homeowners simply assisted during a difficult financial time.