Freddie Mac has started a new pilot program designed to make sure that affordable home loan customers who run into potential trouble have the opportunity to stay in their homes.The "affordable servicing" initiative, which is now in the first phase of a pilot program, is designed to increase the success of "delinquency intervention" when affordable home loan customers become seriously delinquent, according to Ingrid Beckles, a vice president at Freddie Mac and a speaker at this year's MBA National Servicing Conference in Orlando, Fla. Ms. Beckles told MortgageWire that the first phase of the pilot is designed to help borrowers that the loan servicer has been unable to contact. She said servicers are often unable to reach 40%-50% of troubled borrowers before the loan goes to foreclosure, in many cases because the borrower does not respond to attempts to reach him or her by phone or mail. That hinders efforts to offer help in the form of repayment plans, loan modifications, forbearance, short sales, or other foreclosure alternatives, Ms. Beckles noted. "They go straight down a road to foreclosure without realizing we are trying to help them," Ms. Beckles said. The pilot is testing ways lenders can increase the contact rate with seriously delinquent borrowers, she said. Freddie Mac can be found online at http://www.freddiemac.com.

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