MORTGAGE HELP: Hotline Remains Busy

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March was the ninth straight month home sales were up around the country and in Iowa.

But Thursday, the website www.realtytrac.com reported the number of first-notice foreclosures jumped seven-percent from February to March. Experts in Iowa say there’s an explanation behind the big increase.

Attorneys general for 49 states, including Iowa, recently came to a new agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage lenders. Citi, Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and GMAC agreed to new processes for handling foreclosures.

The people at Iowa’s Mortgage Help Hotline are now dealing with the backlog of foreclosures that were held until after the agreement was reached. They say we could see a drop next month as people use tax returns to catch up on house payments.

“Quite often April starts dropping.  People are slowing it down.  If they don’t make those payments, though, or if they don’t use that money for that then in May or June we see those cases coming back in,” says Mike Thompson with Iowa Mediation Service.

Of the 90-or-so Iowans who reach out for help each month, Mike Thompson says 75-percent of them have found ways to stay in their homes.

The number to call for help is 877-622-4866.

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