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BBB Offers Help For Distressed Homeowners


Anchorage, Alaska - June 15, 2010 - Homeowners feeling the impact of overwhelming financial obligations and unforeseen circumstances may have fear of losing their homes, but there are choices available to help prevent that outcome.

"Consumers in distress need to be aware that there are options and free resources within reach," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.

For those having trouble making mortgage payments, BBB offers the following:

Communicate with your lender or loan provider. They may be able to adjust the repayment schedule, temporarily defer the loan or assist in loan modification.

Consider free resources first. Check with agencies and organizations that offer tips and tools to help struggling homeowners. Credit counselors are available to help adjust budgets, re-work finances and evaluate options.

·         The Making Home Affordable Program is designed to help homeowners get relief and avoid foreclosure; help is available at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov. Borrowers can find free resources, get foreclosure scam prevention tips, and find a HUD-approved agency or counselor.

·         Hope Now-an alliance of mortgage experts, supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-offers free housing counseling; call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or visit www.hopenow.com.

·         It can be beneficial to see if counseling agencies are affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at www.nfcc.org or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies at www.aiccca.org.

Be wary of crooked companies. Although there are legitimate companies that can provide assistance, beware of dishonest mortgage modification or foreclosure rescue companies just looking to make a quick buck.

·         Verify if they have a clean record; be sure to check their BBB Reliability Report. Visit www.bbb.org to look up companies for free.

·         Be wary of companies charging up-front fees and those that discourage you from contacting your lender, mortgage company or credit counselor. Read everything before you sign and get all "promises" in writing; never sign away ownership of your property without consulting with a trusted, qualified attorney or financial advisor.

·         Check with local authorities to ensure companies are properly registered with the state and that individuals hold competency licensing; for local companies contact Alaska Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing.

Visit www.bbb.org for additional tips for troubled homeowners. If a business is acting fraudulently, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov, state Attorney General, www.naag.org, and your BBB.

About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:
Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our website at www.bbb.org.

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