Granholm to Nation's Largest Banks: Step Up to the Plate and Help Michigan's Hardest Hit Homeowners

Contact: Mary Lou Keenon 517-373-0011

August 17, 2010

Granholm calls on big banks to join other lenders in helping Michigan families

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today called on the nation's largest banks - Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo - to participate in the Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund to help homeowners seeking assistance in preventing the foreclosure of their homes.

"When America's big banks were in trouble, they received help to weather the storm," said Granholm.  "It's time for those same big banks to step up and help Michigan families facing hard times through no fault of their own.  I'm calling on Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo to join the dozens of banks and credit unions around the state who are participating in the Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund."

The governor's call for the big banks to step up took place at an event in Detroit's Mexicantown to highlight an additional $128.4 million in federal funds for Michigan's Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund.

At the event, the governor was joined by the Fifth Third Bank Homeownership Mobile, or eBus, a retrofitted bus which rolled into Detroit on Tuesday as another resource to help educate residents about mortgage assistance options.

"With these additional federal funds, almost 30,000 Michigan homeowners are now eligible to receive mortgage assistance through the Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund," Granholm said.  "I applaud Fifth Third and other lenders who are working to help Michigan homeowners and their families to remain in their homes."

In June, the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development approved the Michigan State Housing Development Authority's (MSHDA) plan to distribute $154.5 million in federal funds to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure.  MSHDA estimated that the initial plan would help 17,000 at-risk homeowners, including 11,000 residents who are unemployed.

With the additional $128.4 million in federal funds, MSHDA will be able to assist another 13,000 homeowners.  Those who may be eligible include Michigan homeowners who are currently receiving unemployment compensation, homeowners who have fallen behind in their mortgage payments or taxes due to a temporary layoff or medical emergency, and homeowners who can no longer afford their mortgage payments due to lower household income.

Fifth Third's eBus today was staffed with counselors available to homeowners free of charge to discuss eligibility for assistance, including through the Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund.  A 40-foot, self-contained bus retrofitted with the latest wireless technology and on-board computer bank, the eBus will continue to serve residents at additional events through August 21.  Residents do not have to be a Fifth Third Bank customer to inquire about eligibility for mortgage assistance through the Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund.  For more information about the calendar of Fifth Third eBus events, call 800-246-5372 toll free.

Eligible homeowners also can obtain more information regarding the Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund by calling 866-946-7432 or visiting www.michigan.gov/HardestHit. A complete list of lenders and servicers participating in the Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund also can be found at that site.

The Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners Fund was developed in partnership with representatives from the Michigan Bankers Association, Michigan Credit Union League, Michigan Association of Community Bankers, Michigan Association of Realtors, Michigan Foreclosure Task Force and MSHDA's statewide homeownership counseling network.

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