New home center open to everyone

March 17, 2009 4:59:56 PM PDT
A major bank is opening its doors to the very first Bay Area center designed to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

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Chase Bank's Homeownership Center in Oakland provides the resources for families struggling to make their mortgage payments.

The center at 5050 Broadway in Oakland is the equivalent of a lifeline to homeowners who are underwater. If you have a loan with any of the JP Morgan companies you are guaranteed to get personalized service and you may find a way to save your home.

Cynthia Thompson from JP Morgan Chase is telling community groups about the help now available to any and all homeowners with Chase, Wamu or EMC.

"Not everyone can cure delinquent payments in one lump sum check. Our goal is to cascade those payments over a period of time, make the payment affordable and make it sure they don't have to revisit this situation in the near future," she explained.

Noah Zinner is a housing and economic rights advocate in Oakland. He recently helped a woman avoid foreclosure at the last minute by getting a 60-day delay.

"We still don't know whether she'll get a loan modification that's going to keep her in her home long term, but I what was so helpful for her, what was so nice for her, is that she was finally able to just see a human in this process," he said.

A human touch in this painful process is what Chase says they are bringing to the table.

"We have advisors who will work with you, who will take the financial information, supporting documents? And, the value of this representation is that they're your primary point of contact throughout the entire experience. So, you have one person you're dealing with," said Thompson.

This is the first home ownership center in the Bay Area. A second opens Wednesday on Stevens Creek Boulevard in Santa Clara.

One great thing about these centers is that you do not have to be "underwater" to take advantage of what they are offering. They will take anyone even those who simply feel their payment is a little bit higher than they want it to be.

People who visit the center and fill out a form may be able to stretch they payments out over 40 years or drop their interest rate down to 2 percent. There are many options available and they can certainly be worth a phone call.

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