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February 14 2008

Operation HOPE's Mortgage Crisis Hotline Exceeds Expectations As Californians Facing Foreclosure Seek Assistance by the Thousands

Nonprofit’s partnership with Los Angeles City Council results in 12,020 calls in twenty days
LOS ANGELES, CA — February 14, 2008 – Within the first 24-hours of announcing the 888 388 HOPE (4673) toll-free number, an astonishing 7,263 calls were logged in for Operation HOPE’s (HOPE) subprime mortgage assistance efforts. This avalanche of phone calls followed a Los Angeles City Hall press conference in January where City Council President Eric Garcetti and Operation HOPE Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant, joined forces to help LA homeowners facing foreclosure keep their homes.

Supported by two call centers capable of handling 5,000 calls a day, the Mortgage HOPE Crisis Hotline is being managed by HOPE’s financial emergency planning and recovery division, HOPE Coalition America, and facilitated through its HOPE Banking Center Network. The organization currently maintains a collaborative relationship with Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (an affiliate of NeighborWorks America), making it possible for California homeowners to obtain invaluable information and guidance through the current housing morass many find themselves in. Trained HOPE Corps volunteers, including HOPE employees and professionals from the mortgage industry, are helping homeowners establish a realistic monthly budget, negotiate payments consistent with their ability to pay or help them through the home downsizing process.

Galathia and Michael Courtney are just one example of HOPE’s ongoing efforts. The Courtney’s were homeowners who sought assistance with their mortgage that had a floating interest rate of 6.5% that was due to reset to 8.363%. With the assistance of Anne-Marie Molina, a HOPE mortgage officer at the Southgate Union Bank of California and HOPE Banking Center Network, the family now has a four and a half percent (4.5%), twenty-nine year fixed rate mortgage. This reduced rate will now allow Michael and Galathia to make reasonable payments within their means.

“Many homeowners are completing monthly budgets using our HOPE Recovery Budget which will allow them to present logical plans to their mortgage lenders,” said Lance Triggs, Executive Vice President of the HOPE Banking Center Network. “We anticipate continued success in helping individuals and families avoid foreclosure.

Based on information reported by DataQuick and Global Insight 89,705 foreclosure notices are forecast to be sent to homeowners in the first quarter of 2008 and it is predicted that 98,676 more notices will be sent to homeowners second quarter; which will result in 188,381 additional foreclosure notices over the next six months.

“During the past 20 days, our hotline has received 12,020 calls. Currently, we are providing guidance to 2,279 homeowners”, said Fred D. Smith, Managing Director of HOPE Coalition America. Smith is encouraging extended collaborative efforts by all segments of the financial services industry, government agencies and community organizations to provide solutions to this growing problem before it cripples the California and national economies.

Those facing notice payments challenges should call 888 388 HOPE (4673).