CitiMortgage has launched a pilot program that will allow distressed mortgage holders to stay in their home an additional six months in return for turning the keys over to the mortgage lending giant at the end of that period.

In a press release issued last week, CitiMortgage announced that the program will initially be offered in six states: Texas, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio:

In exchange for the deed on their property, CitiMortgage will allow borrowers to stay in their homes for a period of up to six months. At the end of the six months, the borrower will turn over the property deed to CitiMortgage, and CitiMortgage will provide a minimum of $1,000 in relocation assistance to the borrowers. Citi will also provide relocation counseling by trained professionals and will cover certain monthly property expenses if Citi determines that the borrower can no longer afford them. Payment of utilities costs will be the responsibility of the borrower. Other costs incurred by the borrower, such as homeowner’s association and escrow fees, will be determined on a case-by-case basis considering the borrower’s specific financial circumstances. As part of the agreement, borrowers must maintain the property in its current condition and agree to bi-monthly meetings during which trained relocation professionals will help the borrower prepare for the next chapter of their lives.

Before a borrower enters the Foreclosure Alternatives Program, they must first be evaluated for a permanent mortgage modification. For those who do not qualify for a modification or another solution, CitiMortgage will explore the possibility of a short sale in which the company might accept a buyer’s offer for less than the outstanding amount of the mortgage. If a short sale is not feasible, then the borrower may be considered for the deed-in-lieu program. In addition, in order to be eligible, homeowners must hold first mortgages with a clear title owned by CitiMortgage, occupy the property, and be at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgage payments.

As it evaluates the progress of the pilot program, CitiMortgage will assess whether or not to expand the program to other parts of the United States. The initial pilot is expected to help as many as 1,000 families.



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