Countrywide Financial Joins with Activist Group for New Subprime Mortgage Program

Calabasas, Calif.–Mortgage provider Countrywide Financial Corp. announced a partnership Monday with community organization ACORN, which represents low- to moderate-income families, to assist subprime homeowners facing foreclosure, the Boston Herald reports.Calabasas, Calif.-headquartered Countrywide will contemplate extending teaser rates for five years for subprime borrowers with strong payment records and let some borrowers refinance into prime mortgages. ACORN–the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now–will provide home counseling services along with Countrywide’s home retention specialists.The plan is similar to the Bush administration’s Hope Now program, which Countrywide entered into voluntarily in December. However, unlike the Hope Now program–which homeowners must be no more than 60 days behind on their loans to qualify for–Countrywide said it also will possibly freeze or lower mortgage rates for subprime borrowers without strong payment histories. “Countrywide and ACORN share the belief that no subprime borrower who has demonstrated the ability and willingness to make payments should face foreclosure,” said Maude Hurd, president of ACORN.