Countrywide Financial Corp. and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now have entered into discussions to develop a "blueprint" for foreclosure prevention that they expect to release in early January."Countrywide and ACORN anticipate final release of the groundbreaking provisions of the home retention initiative soon after the New Year," says a joint release. The discussions are mainly focused on helping subprime borrowers who have shown an ability and willingness to make their payments. But the parties are also looking at different products, including payment-option adjustable-rate mortgages. "We see actually more borrowers getting into trouble with payment-option ARMs than we are seeing with hybrid ARMs at this point," said Michael Shea, executive director for ACORN Housing Corp. He noted that Countrywide does not have a systematic approach yet for helping option ARM borrowers. "That is one of the things we are talking to them about," Mr. Shea said. Countrywide, based in Calabasas, Calif., can be found online at http://www.countrywide.com, and ACORN can be found at http://acorn.org.

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