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October 2017

Take 5 Rich Ferguson tells why CBC Mortgage is teaming up with HLP to support first time homebuyers Page 2

HLP Approved to Offer Bankruptcy Mediation in Florida’s Southern District HLP has received approval to offer its bankruptcy mediation portal in the US Bankruptcy Court’s Southern District in Florida, giving mortgage servicers and debtor attorneys a new option in processing thousands of bankruptcy cases annually faster and more efficiently. Florida’s Southern District has courts in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. There were 3,793 cases filed in the Southern District of Florida for the three months ending in September. HLP will work with debtor attorneys in the Southern District bankruptcy court to use HLP for their bankruptcy cases. “We are extremely pleased to offer our bankruptcy mediation portal in Florida’s Southern District, which will help all parties by making the process extremely efficient,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s chief executive offer. “We will work closely with the courts to implement the

Connect 2.0 HomeownerConnect.org is live and newly-redesigned Page 3

Helping Vets HLP is helping military veterans learn their fair housing rights Page 4

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HLP Teams Up with Native American-Owned Mortgage Company To Help First-Time Homebuyers HLP has kicked off a new post-purchase outreach and financial education program that will help thousands of new, first-time homeowners make their mortgage payments on time. The program is part of an agreement with CBC Mortgage Agency, a company owned by a Native American Indian tribe focused on affordable housing. It is part of an overall housing strategy developed by HLP to help CBC’s borrowers sustain homeownership. The new outreach and education program will enroll 500 homeowners in the first month and an additional 500 homeowners monthly over the next year. Each homeowner will receive practical advice about homeownership and regular contacts from a HUD-approved nonprofit housing counselor with the goal of helping them make their mortgage …continued on page 5


Rich Ferguson is president of Cedar Bank Corporation’s Mortgage Agency, which is projected to have $1 billion in loan production over the next 12 months. He has been an angel investor in several companies and also co-founded a finance company in 2006 to provide credit and financing opportunities to small businesses. He holds a degree in Economics from Brigham Young University.

What makes your program, with its ownership by a Native American tribe, unique?

How does the Chenoa Fund help solve those challenges?

CBC Mortgage Agency’s status as a federally-charted instrument of the Cedar Band of Paiutes of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah makes it unique among mortgage lenders and government agencies that provide down payment assistance. Our existence furthers the federal government’s intent to encourage Native Americans to become economically self-sufficient through federally-chartered, tribal-owned corporations. We report directly to the tribal business council, which is actively involved in the management of its various business interests. CBC Mortgage Agency is an integral part of the Band’s economic development goals, as the Band works to improve the infrastructure and lives of the Band members.

We increase the pool of available buyers by offering down payment assistance in the form of a gift or second mortgage. The amount of the down payment assistance is typically 3.5% of the purchase price, and we average $7,500. This allows the assistance to meet the entire down payment requirements on an FHA loan.

What are the biggest challenges facing first-time homeowners?

CBC Mortgage Agency has experienced healthy growth over the last year. We are careful to manage growth, by ensuring our lending guidelines are responsible, and that we are working only with the most experienced and professional mortgage bankers in the industry. In our most recent month, we assisted 400 new families in the purchase of a home.

Affordable housing is the most significant issue facing first time homebuyers. It is a problem both on the supply and demand sides. We see the supply in most urban and suburban areas drying up due to investors holding on to inventory as rentals, or baby boomers choosing not to sell. There is also a lack of favorable zoning and development rules to allow for affordable housing development. The lack of a down payment is the primary barrier to prospective home buyers who, in every other respect, have demonstrated the stability and creditworthiness to become homeowners.

FHA and lenders who offer FHA loans are not only promoting responsible homeownership, they are reducing the incentives for investors to hold on to scarce single family properties as rentals, since borrowers are turned from being renters into homeownership.

How is business so far in 2017?

Why are you implementing a program with HLP?

CBC Mortgage Agency is committed to maintaining the integrity of the FHA insurance pool, and has looked at various loss mitigation strategies. HLP’s education and borrower outreach programs are superbly designed after decades of experience working with millions of homeowners across the country, to ensure people are able to not only purchase a home, but stay in it.


U P DAT E

HLP’s New Homeowner Connect Website Now “Live” HLP’s newly-redesigned HomeownerConnect.org website went live on Tuesday, October 10. The site enables consumers to load and submit documents for a mortgage loan modification and other requests directly to their mortgage servicer. Consumers are also able to chat online or by telephone with a nonprofit housing counselor from Credit.org if they have questions about the online process. Go to HomeownerConnect.org to view the new website. US Bank is directing its mortgage customers to HomeownerConnect.org for any inquiries regarding loan modifications and other requests for assistance. HLP anticipates it will handle approximately 750 inquiries monthly from US Bank customers. HLP sees significant benefits for servicers to direct their customers to the website. More than 20 servicers asked customers affected Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to file disaster assistance requests on the website, resulting in more than 4,000 requests. Using the site for hurricane assistance and other, everyday needs will yield similar benefits. “Our new website makes it easier for consumers to complete and submit a package of loan documents, saving time for them and for servicers,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s chief executive officer. “Because we connect directly to their servicer, the process is efficient for everyone involved.” Cole said HomeownerConnect.org will also help servicers build loyalty with their customers by providing them with simpler processes and superior customer service. “And it provides them with better ways to integrate counselors into the process and manage their feefor-service relationships.”

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portal as soon as possible. In addition, we will work closely with mortgage servicers to encourage their attorneys to select HLP for their mediation cases.” HLP’s bankruptcy mediation portal offers several benefits compared to competitors in order to speed the mediation process and save money for all parties. It enables attorneys to easily communicate and exchange data and documents, while tracking the status of any case in real time. HLP also offers complete transparency and security while building a permanent audit trail. Each party is able to input and update information in the portal about each case.

In addition to these benefits, there will be no charge for consumers or their representatives using HLP’s portal. HLP received approval in early October from the Clerk of Courts for US Bankruptcy Court’s Southern Florida District. In his letter, the clerk said the court’s decision was reached after conducting an extensive evaluation of HLP’s technology, which included two demonstrations and numerous program modifications. HLP is working with the two other bankruptcy districts in Florida and in other states as part of a strategy to expand its services elsewhere.


Fair Housing Grant Application Aims to Help Military Vets HLP is part of a consortium that has submitted a $125,000 request to HUD to help educate military veterans about their fair housing rights and help them avoid discrimination as they seek adequate housing.

military veterans who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. The five organizations will provide a combination of in-person and telephone education, as well as online training and educational resources.

The grant proposal is part of HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program, Education and Outreach initiative. The other organizations involved in the grant are Money Management International, a nonprofit counseling organization; Soldier On; Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services and CityVision Services Inc.

HLP will provide the communications platform for the consortium. It already provides CityVision with a borrower intake portal to collect information for fair housing complaints, and a case management system to manage all of its cases. All technology uses IndiSoft’s RXOffice software.

The grant will enable these organizations to expand their community education outreach efforts to people facing housing discrimination, but with an emphasis on helping

CityVision handled approximately 600 fair housing complaints last year. Much of this organization’s efforts focus on helping military veterans and people with disabilities obtain housing.


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payments on time. The program will also teach them how to build a budget, save money for home repairs and other steps needed to be a responsible homeowner. HLP is the program administrator and Money Management International’s (MMI) counselors will conduct the outreach and work directly with homeowners. MMI is the nation’s largest nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency and has been helping consumers find the solutions they need to achieve financial freedom since 1958. HLP is utilizing IndiSoft’s RxOffice technology platform to manage program activity and electronic communications with homeowners. CBC Mortgage Agency is a federally-chartered tribal government agency owned by the Cedar Band of Paiutes of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. Through its Chenoa Fund and Simply Home Down Payment Programs, it provides down payment assistance to borrowers that qualify for FHA-guaranteed mortgage loans. People that meet CBC’s credit

mark.cole@hlp.org

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202.803.7933

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score and debt-to-income requirements can receive a first mortgage and a second mortgage or grant to cover their 3.5 percent minimum investment. Based in Cedar City Utah, CBC was founded in 2013 and provides affordable housing solutions to its clients. “Our unique affordable housing programs help many people unable to save money for a down payment purchase their first home,” said Richard Ferguson, CBCMA’s President. “We want to encourage responsible homeownership and appreciate HLP’s role in making that possible in the marketplace.” “We are deeply appreciative CBCMA’s support of HLP’s mission and their commitment to helping its borrowers become successful homeowners,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s chief executive officer. “This grant will support our systems and efforts to connect potential homebuyers with the financial counseling and education they need to succeed.” Cole said the number of homeowners receiving post-purchase counseling is expected to grow as CBCMA’s unique program expands.

100 International Drive

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23rd Floor

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Baltimore, Mar yland 21202

HLP News — October 2017  

News and updates from HLP. In the October issue we take a look at how HLP is teaming with a Native American-owned mortgage company to help e...