Susan Keating, president and CEO of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), has sent a letter to Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW, which questions the methods of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) as they relate to the government-sponsored plan to reach troubled borrowers through a hotline.
‘At issue is the ability of qualified HUD-approved counseling agencies to provide services under the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program (NFMCP) using a toll-free number that has been heavily promoted by the highest levels of the United States government, and the concerted efforts of the HPF to use that number as a monopoly for a select few counseling agencies to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure,’ Keating writes.
‘From its inception, the demand for services through the hotline have out-paced the ability of the HPF network to provide them. As President Bush, Secretary Paulson, Secretary Jackson and other government officials heavily promoted the toll-free number of the hotline, the HPF increasingly struggled to handle the volume of calls and to provide services,’ she adds.
Keating recommends that the hotline instead be used to link homeowners with available counselors regardless of whether the agency ‘happens to be part of the HPF's attempted monopoly.’ If the HPF fails to act appropriately, the NFCC intends to seek congressional oversight hearings, she adds.