Ocwen Financial Corporation and the City of Milwaukee have announced an initiative to provide substantial assistance to homeowners in Milwaukee who want to keep and repair their homes, according to an announcement from Ocwen.
Ocwen will be providing the assistance via a five-part plan through a combination of Ocwen, the City of Milwaukee, and local non-profit programs. The Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Common Council President Michael J. Murphy, and Ocwen have been developing the five-part plan through numerous discussions since July 2015. Ocwen and Milwaukee city officials will also conduct a target outreach to delinquent Ocwen borrowers and have increased compliance with city registration ordinances to mitigate issues stemming from vacant, or “zombie” properties.
“As a nationwide servicer, Ocwen understands the foreclosure crisis is not over and that many geographic areas in the country, including Milwaukee, are still dealing with the aftermath of the mortgage crisis,” said Ron Faris, CEO of Ocwen. “We understand the problems facing homeowners and communities across America and we look forward to working with the City to offer real solutions and financial support that can help make a difference for homeowners in Milwaukee,” commented Ron Faris, President and CEO of Ocwen. “Since 2008, more than 2,000 Milwaukee families have received a modification from Ocwen and over half of those involved a reduction in principal.”
As part of the five-part plan, Ocwen will:
- enhance its outreach efforts to struggling homeowners to let them know their options as permanent loan modifications in order to help qualified homeowners avoid foreclosure
- provide $75,000 per year over the next three years ($225,000 total) through 2018 to the City of Milwaukee to support the Strong Homes Loan Program
- conduct three face-to-face customer outreach events per year for the next three years through 2018 in Milwaukee. The purpose of the meetings will be to meet in person with Ocwen customers who are struggling to make mortgage payments to let them know their loss mitigation options
- consider donating properties it owns in Milwaukee so that local families and non-profits can rehabilitate them, in order to assist with community revitalization efforts. In addition to donating the properties, Ocwen will include a monetary donation to support the cost of renovation
- donate $200,000 over the next three years to help various non-profit organizations based in Milwaukee and work with them to assist struggling borrowers and reduce blight.
“I’m pleased Ocwen shares my commitment to doing everything we can to keep Milwaukee homeowners in their homes. This program will help homeowners who face economic challenges by providing loan modifications as well as low interest loans to help finance critical repairs to their homes,” Barrett said. “Residents who own their homes add value and stability to Milwaukee neighborhoods, and I don’t want anyone to lose their home unnecessarily.”
Ocwen currently services approximately 4,100 customers in Milwaukee, and about 80 percent of those are current, according to the announcement. About 150 of those properties are currently in foreclosure.
“The foreclosure crisis in Milwaukee was complex – its impact is still felt by many homeowners in our city,” Murphy said. “Partnerships have been an integral element to fighting the debilitating effect foreclosures have on neighborhoods. This newest partnership will not only help people stay in their homes, but it also helps homeowners make the repairs needed to make their properties a positive asset in their neighborhood.”