March 21, 2011 (Shirley Allen)
Bank of America (BofA) has announced that it is doubling its outreach staffing, adding more regional customer assistance centers, holding more community based events, and increasing collaboration with non-profit housing counselors in 2011.

The company also named Rebecca Mairone as the national mortgage outreach executive to lead the new initiative. Mairone will report directly to Bank of America Executive Vice President Terry Laughlin, who leads the newly created Legacy Asset Servicing unit.

In February, BofA opened regional assistance centers in Seattle and Chicago. The bank plans to open four more centers within two months near San Francisco; Los Angeles; Orlando, Fla.; and Washington, D.C.

Customers visiting the centers can meet with BofA representatives about a loan modification or other steps to help them stay in their homes. BofA hosted meetings with more than 12,000 customers at its centers in 2010. BofA customers visiting one of the sites will have one point of contact. Their entire loan-modification review will be completed at the center.

“Providing customers with face-to-face counseling and on-site decision making is a key element in continually improving the process for customers experiencing financial hardship,” said Laughlin. “Rebecca’s deep knowledge of default servicing and modification programs makes her a natural choice to lead this effort.”

BofA is participating with non-profit partners like HOPE NOW and Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) in events throughout the country to reach out to distressed homeowners.

The bank has also launched a series of outreach events for its own customers and still has 11 more events planned in the first half of 2011. The bank met with more than 3,330 customers in the first three events this year.

BofA works with more than 2,000 non-profit housing organizations across the country, and is active in training and updating housing counseling groups about modification programs and processes.

“Our efforts to keep financially distressed customers in their homes have resulted in nearly 800,000 loan modifications in the last three years, but the exceptional severity and length of this economic crisis leaves us with much more work to do,” said Mairone. “By establishing a presence in the community, we’ve had greater success reaching customers who have not been responsive to more traditional contact methods.

Tags: Bank of America, loan modifications, distressed homeowners, outreach programs, counseling, mortgage modifications, non-profit housing organizations, non-profit partners