Four years ago, in 2009, Wells Fargo hosted their first workshop in Chicago to help struggling homeowners find a way to keep their homes from going into foreclosure. They invited 16,000 homeowners to this workshop.
Wells Fargo has continued to hold these workshops, inviting 14,000 in 2012 and 11,000 in 2013. Despite the overwhelming amount of people that are still in danger of losing their homes, the effort that Wells Fargo has put into their own borrowers has made a definite impact.
93% of Wells Fargo mortgages in Chicago are not delinquent.
Russ Cross, a senior Vice President and Regional Director for Wells Fargo said, "We're pleased with the progress, but we recognize there's still a need to find and touch those customers that are facing payment challenges. The reasons are essentially the same. The unemployment number hasn't come down as dramatically as it has in some other markets. Home values, while Chicago is up almost 10 percent from a year ago, compare to Phoenix where home values are up 20 percent from a year ago. (Rising home values) reduce the number of homeowners that are underwater and able to find a solution to avoid foreclosure."
According to CoreLogic, their July report revealed that homes in the Chicago are declined 31% in value from their peak. The report also said that those kinds of prices would not likely reoccur, since those prices were the result of an artificial bubble.
Another statistic in the report was that 8.7% of homeowners with a mortgage in Chicago are still in a serious state of delinquency. Seriously delinquent, means a borrower is more than 90 past due on their mortgage. Currently Florida and New York have the highest rate of delinquent mortgages.
The reality for many homeowners in Chicago is that, despite the raving headlines of recovery in housing market, there are still many who need help.
In addition to the workshops that Wells Fargo has hosted for their own borrowers, there are other ways seek assistance and guidance in pursuing a solution for homeowners with delinquent mortgages that are not through Wells Fargo.
The Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network is a good place to start. They hold events all over the Chicagoland area that average over 100 people per event. To find out upcoming events, visit keepyourhomeillinois.org.
Other non-profit groups hold “fix your mortgage” events to explain to homeowners their options of refinancing, or perhaps pursue a more traditional avenue of getting out of the mortgage through a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.
Sue Hofer, spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation says, "Even if they made it through the worst of the recession, there are still families that need help."