Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Pepper to inform homeowners of loan help

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati City Councilman David Pepper wants city homeowners to know about programs meant to help residents on the verge of losing their homes to foreclosure.

Pepper, who chairs City Council's Neighborhoods Committee, will host a special meeting today that discusses loan bailout programs created or negotiated by Fannie Mae and Working in Neighborhoods, a local nonprofit group. The meeting will be at 11 a.m. in City Council chambers.

Pepper said too many homeowners are losing their property because of bad loans; and clusters of loan defaults have created devastating results in city neighborhoods such as Price Hill, Westwood, Northside, Madisonville and Bond Hill.

Programs that Pepper and neighborhood activists will tout include a $1.5 million loan fund unveiled last October by Fannie Mae. The fund, administered by Fifth Third Bank and Provident Bank, is earmarked for those with "predatory" loans with unfavorable terms such as excessive interest rates, high fees and balloon payments.

WIN and other community groups also helped negotiate pacts this year with two lenders, Citigroup and Fairbanks Capital.

The Citigroup deal, which covers loans originated in Cincinnati and six other cities, helps prevent foreclosures and ensures city residents adequate access to conventional loans with more favorable terms and interest rates.

Salt Lake City-based Fairbanks Capital, which services subprime loans, agreed in May to create a "hot spot" card that can halt the foreclosure process and allow homeowners a better chance at keeping their property, according to Marilyn Evans, president of South Cumminsville Community Council and director of Citizens United for Action.

"We want people to know about these programs," Evans said.


E-mail kalltucker@enquirer.com

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