NEW YORK – Citigroup has launched a new initiative to modify the mortgages that it holds. An important wrinkle in the program is that borrowers don’t have to be late on their payments to qualify nor do they have to have subprime loans.
Borrowers could be eligible for lower interest rates or longer loan terms if they are at risk of falling behind because they live in an area with high unemployment or declining home prices. Borrowers in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are being targeted.
Home owners could have their interest rate adjusted, their principal reduced or the term of their loan increased.
Citigroup’s plan, unlike other plans, does not require a 90-day delinquency or that homeowners have subprime or risky loans.
Citigroup said it won’t initiate a foreclosure or complete a foreclosure sale for any eligible borrower if the borrower is in his principal residence, is working with the bank in good faith and has enough income for affordable mortgage payments. The plan could help as many as 500,000 borrowers.
Citigroup is the latest big bank to institute a mortgage modification program.