Illinois-based Underwriter, Member Attorneys Assist At-risk Homeowners
|December 22, 2009|
During 2009, one of the worst housing markets on record, Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund Inc. (ATG) and its member attorneys, made a significant financial and time commitment to assist struggling and at-risk homeowners.
ATG forged a unique partnership in early 2009 with Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS) to co-sponsor several "Fix-Your-Mortgage" foreclosure-prevention events. ATG's other main effort to help those negatively impacted by the housing downturn included a considerable cash contribution to four different nonprofit organizations/foundations.
ATG, the only bar-related title insurance company based in Illinois, plans to continue devoting the majority of its charitable efforts in 2010 to helping at-risk homeowners.
"The downturn in the economy and housing market this year put a lot of people at risk for losing their homes to foreclosures," said Peter Birnbaum, ATG's president and a member of the American Land Title Association’s board of governors. "By donating money, and mobilizing and training hundreds of real estate attorneys to volunteer their weekends at these important, free outreach events, we feel ATG and its members were part of the solution."
Through their productive partnership, ATG and NHS sponsored and held three successful "Fix-Your-Mortgage" events in 2009 – two in Chicago and one in Cicero, Ill. The City of Chicago was also a co-sponsor of the two events in Chicago. NHS assisted ATG in helping to set up and execute similar events in Peoria, Ill. and in Madison, Wis.
ATG recruited, trained and volunteered hundreds of real estate attorneys to counsel at-risk homeowners at these events and help them apply for loan modifications to fixed-rate loans through the federal government's "Making Home Affordable" foreclosure-prevention program.
Approximately 3,000 at-risk homeowners attended and received foreclosure-prevention help at the five events ATG co-sponsored in 2009.
"Nearly 33 percent of attendees at the first two events in Chicago were approved for trial modifications by their banks, compared to the national average of 20 percent of loan-modification applicants receiving approval," explained Michael van Zalingen, director of homeownership services at NHS.
"Getting help from volunteer real estate attorneys proved to increase homeowners' chances of success," van Zalingen said. "We would never have been able to reach and help so many people without the outstanding support and partnering NHS received from ATG. This unique partnership brings together the best of the private and nonprofit sectors. We look forward to continuing our joint efforts in 2010."
Cash Donations / Partners in Giving
During 2009, ATG donated cash to four organizations committed to helping residents and homeowners hit hardest by the depressed housing market. These groups include: