Less than a month after the Obama Administration debuted a $1.5 billion program to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, the $660 million Dort FCU of Flint is still enjoying the national limelight this week as the first financial institution in the U.S. to actually launch and implement funds distribution.
"We know the conditions in our community have been pretty bleak and so we just jumped right in to aid those homeowners who have become financially strapped," explained Dan Harp, vice president of lending.
Dort now numbers among 19 Michigan CUs that have signed up statewide with the Granholm Administration in participating in the federal program to help 17,000 Michigan households avoid foreclosure with 11,000 homeowners who are currently drawing unemployment benefits to make monthly payments.
The Michigan program to distribute $154 million is part of the broader anti-foreclosure effort of the U.S. Treasury and Housing and Urban Development Departments to aid homeowners in those states hit hardest by the housing recession.
Dort knew it was on the right track, said Harp, "when President Obama was in Detroit and spoke about this program on his most recent visit to the auto plants."
In discussing Dort's participation and also that of other CUs, the Michigan Credit Union League noted that CUs have outpaced banks so far in joining the program. There are, said MCUA, another 180 CUs represented by CUSOs Member First Mortgage and Mortgage Center while "participating banks presently number around 30."
Mary Townley, director of homeownership at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority in Lansing, praised the CU role in "proactively evaluating mortgages they identify as showing signs of delinquency or have an unemployed member on the loan." That participation, she said, "is a good way to help us get these funds out to homeowners quickly and start saving homes."