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In the Spotlight

December 8, 2016

In the Spotlight

A referral source for mortgage-ready clients AND a resource for your not-so-ready clients all in one? You've got it.

Freddie Mac Borrower Help Centers

Looking for more referrals of mortgage-ready buyers? Or a trusted resource for your clients who aren't quite there yet? Team up with Freddie Mac's Borrower Help Centers as your "go-to" resource for both.

What They Do

The focus of the Freddie Mac Borrower Help Centers is helping clients get on the path to responsible and sustainable homeownership. Freddie Mac's Borrower Help Centers are nonprofit, HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that promote the financial health of their community. They facilitate communication in the housing network that surrounds homebuyers, lenders, real estate professionals and housing counseling agencies.

Clients can meet in person with experienced housing counselors on staff. For clients who do not have a Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center near them, a national Network has been established to conduct appointments by telephone. Borrower Help Centers also help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure, by assisting them in applying for mortgage modifications or other foreclosure alternatives.

Here's a real-life example shared by one of Freddie Mac's Borrower Help Centers.

A fifth-generation renter, John A. had trouble picturing himself as a homeowner. He was a single dad, and he had some credit issues due to health and employment challenges. But John discovered he could qualify for a mortgage with the help of D&E, A Financial Education and Training Institute, Inc., one of the 14 housing focused nonprofits across the country that teams with Freddie Mac to make the dream of homeownership a reality for many potential homebuyers.

Stories like John's highlight the personal and economic benefits – to homebuyers, real estate professionals, mortgage lenders and existing homeowners – of working with a Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center like Atlanta-based D&E.

Teaming Up

D&E's President and CEO Carrie Harris points out that real estate professionals and mortgage lenders may find a relationship with a Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center to be mutually beneficial:

  1. Referring prospective homebuyers. You may be meeting prospective homebuyers who are not currently mortgage-ready. By referring them to a Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center, they'll be assisted not only in achieving homeownership, but also in sustaining it through good financial choices. "Educated, empowered clients will then most likely go back to the lender or real estate professionals that referred them to us when they are ready to buy," Harris says.
  2. Getting referrals. Borrower Help Centers assist those actively seeking to become homeowners. Moreover, they proactively help those in the communities they serve recognize that owning a home is an attainable life goal. "Through outreach, we're able to dispel myths about homeownership," says Harris. By partnering with D&E, real estate professionals and mortgage lenders can benefit from outreach efforts that build a higher profile with prospective homebuyers.

A High Calling

How do Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center clients achieve mortgage readiness? D&E's services illustrate the multi-faceted approach that these organizations utilize.

Harris's brainchild, D&E opened its doors in 2000 to "transform the lives of overlooked and underserved communities" through financial education, counseling and outreach. Harris's background is in banking, and she says she "encountered many individuals who needed additional educational resources, or didn't have access to traditional banking services." She saw a need much greater than banks addressed, and this ignited a passion and purpose that spawned D&E.

In addition to its focus on affordable housing needs, D&E also provides low-cost banking, workforce development, youth empowerment, senior enrichment and veteran re-entry programs. D&E's Executive Vice President Patrice Duncan sums up their work: "Outreach and education yield economic empowerment."

Before becoming a Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center in 2011, Duncan reports, D&E was already teaching the Freddie Mac CreditSmart® financial education curriculum. After getting to know Freddie Mac staff members at various venues, Harris recalls, "I was impressed with the commitment Freddie Mac made to strengthening communities and became interested in how we could further expand the partnership."

Like D&E, the other Borrower Help Centers in the Freddie Mac network are committed to providing holistic financial education assistance that goes beyond mortgage issues. "This program has expanded our ability to reach out with education," Harris says.

"As a Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center," she adds, "we're better able to help community members make informed decisions as they seek access to credit." Their ultimate objective is to help turn more informed borrowers into prudent, long-term homeowners.

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