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2015 HOPE NOW Housing Roundtables Recap

HOPE NOW is the industry-created alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, non-profit counselors, and other mortgage market participants. Founded in 2007 by the Financial Services Roundtable, Housing Policy Council and Mortgage Bankers Association, it continues to be the key forum for industry, non-profits and government participants. As a way to meet market demands and assist in connecting local government partners, HOPE NOW developed a series of Housing Roundtables. The goal was to learn more about the local housing challenges that our partners are experiencing and collectively discuss potential solutions to these issues. The lack of harmonization across mortgage markets creates challenges for mortgage servicers wanting to better their connections into local markets.

San Bernardino Mayor, Carey Davis, kicks off the Inland Empire Housing Roundtable in March

In 2015, HOPE NOW launched a series of Housing Roundtables in hard hit markets, with key partner RealtyTrac. As part of the HOPE NOW model, we take a collaborative and educative approach to understand local housing needs. This step is imperative to create thought-provoking conversations with local leaders. Each community has specific concerns and aspirations with their housing market. Sharing best practices and learning from experiences are critical components of the Roundtable model. For instance, if something works effectively in Chicago, we should be talking about this with Tampa.

These types of insights are often lost, as municipalities across the country rarely have the time or opportunity to talk amongst one another. HOPE NOW held seven Housing Roundtables across the country in 2015. We invite local stakeholders, including elected officials, non-profits, housing advocates, and mortgage lenders and servicers to attend the meetings. The Roundtables consist of roughly five panel sessions that vary market-to-market and the meetings are generally well attended with an average of 50 attendees.

Panels at the Roundtable have included; Lending Programs, Outreach to Low and Moderate Borrowers, Access to Mortgage Credit and Affordable Housing Issues. We conduct a survey following the roundtables to gauge the value of the discussions and possible follow up. For instance, some markets have requested a specific point of contact when managing abandoned property. Results from our post-roundtable survey show that our meetings are well received by participants and that our discussion topics touch on key areas of focus. HOPE NOW received a 96 % satisfaction rating from participants and 63% responded that we adequately covered the market in our panel sessions. We also sought out feedback to help inform future conversations. From the 244 participants surveyed, the number one requested topic is access to mortgage credit.

From HOPE NOWs continued relationship with local markets, we understand the broad implications of tightening credit and how to best serve large and complicated markets, like Los Angeles and Chicago. As the industry moves forward, its important to understand the differences between politics, policy and opportunity.

From our survey, the following topics were requested by the local participants:
  1: Access to credit for low and moderate income families
  2: New products that assist first-time homeownership
  3: Best practices across the country
  4: Blight and abandonment issues
  5: Business development panel
  6: Housing data
  7: Fair housing issues
  8: Engagement with realtors and brokers

As HOPE NOW looks ahead at 2016, we invite market stakeholders to join our efforts and plan on participating in the HOPE NOW Housing Roundtables. More information will be posted on our website in the next few weeks. For more information about HOPE NOW or to receive the full survey report, please contact Eric Selk, Eric@hopenow.com