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11/10/2008 - Citigroup Offers to Ease Mortgage Terms

Citigroup announced late Monday it is halting foreclosures for borrowers who live in their own homes, have decent incomes and stand a good chance of making lowered mortgage payments. The New York-based banking giant also said it is also working to expand the program to include mortgages for which the bank collects payments but does not own.

Additionally, over the next six months, Citi plans to reach out to 500,000 homeowners who are not currently behind on their mortgage payments, but who are on the verge of falling behind. This represents about one-third of all the mortgages that Citigroup owns, the bank said.

Citi plans to devote a team of 600 salespeople to assist the targeted borrowers by adjusting their rates, reducing principal or increasing the term of the loan.

But like many loan-modification efforts, Citigroup's program is limited to loans that it owns. The bank must separately obtain permission from investors, who own 4 million loans serviced by the bank, to include those borrowers in the program. "We are in active discussions with investors. We have had a good response from them," said Sanjiv Das, chief executive of CitiMortgage.

Source AP 11/11/2008

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