Mortgage Companies to Meet With White House

A report earlier this month indicated that the Obama administration may be considering new efforts to help borrowers stay in their homes. Under one proposed solution, borrowers would surrender ownership of their properties but would be allowed to remain living there for several years through a rental agreement, Reuters has reported. Another idea is to have the government make mortgage payments on behalf of struggling borrowers; for unemployed borrowers that could include receiving a housing stipend along with unemployment benefits, sources told Reuters.

When asked about the reported proposals, an Obama administration official told ABC News that that the administration "is considering many ideas as part of our ongoing efforts to serve taxpayers by stabilizing the economy."

"We are still in the early stages of discussion and no decisions have been made on this matter," the official said.

The servicers, meanwhile, contend that they are doing their part.

"The servicers that have signed up to participate in the program are taking their obligations very seriously," said Jeannine Bruin, a spokeswoman for GMAC, one of more than two dozen mortgage servicers, including Bank of America, CitiMortgage and Wells Fargo, that take part in the program.

Bruin told that GMAC had beefed up staff and staff training to address homeowner requests for help. GMAC officials, she said, were working "nights and weekends" on loan modifications.

"Can the program be improved and enhanced? I'm sure it can be," she said, "but it's not for any lack of effort for our part."

For now, homeowners like the Gomezes are turning to third parties for help.

The couple attended a workshop Friday held by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, a group that helps homeowners obtain loan modifications from mortgage servicers. The group recently kicked off a 10-city tour to meet with and counsel local homeowners. (Watch coverage of its first stop, a workshop in Cleveland, here.)

The Gomezes hope that NACA will help them work out an agreement with their mortgage servicer, GMAC. Pedro Gomez said he had no luck appealing to the company directly.

GMAC said that while the company could not comment on specific customer cases, there could be "a logical explanation for why" Gomez didn't qualify for the modification he wanted.

Criticism of the Government

Bruce Marks, the head of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, said the association has successfully achieved loan modifications for homeowners by putting together modification agreements and sending them electronically to mortgage servicers for their approval.

But the government, he said, should be requiring servicers to do that work for themselves. "It is really outrageous that a nonprofit has to step into to fill the void," he said.

The GAO, in its report last week, said it's unclear when the government will have a system in place to address "noncompliance" by mortgage servicers.

The report prompted more government criticism, this time by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

"This report heightens my fear that Treasury will give out billions of dollars without ensuring the spending will work as intended," Grassley said in a written statement. "There's real doubt that this money will prevent foreclosures in the long term and help legitimately struggling homeowners. Once this money is spent, it will be gone. Unfortunately, Treasury isn't ready."

With reports from ABC News' Matthew Jaffe.

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