April 20, 2018 | by Laura Ross
Categories: Financial Education, Homeownership, Housing Counseling, Lending, Spotlight
To recognize April as National Financial Literacy month, our blog entries this month highlight the importance of financial literacy, raise awareness about challenges homeowners face, and emphasize how individuals can establish and maintain healthy financial habits.
Every quarter TSAHC spotlights a staff member or partner to help our readers get to know our mission and industry a little better. In honor of Financial Literacy Month, this week we interviewed Eric Selk, Executive Director of the HOPE NOW Alliance, a collaboration of industry stakeholders working to address challenges in the mortgage market and assist homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments.
TSAHC previously partnered with the HOPE NOW Alliance as part of the Texas Foreclosure Prevention Task Force. More recently, TSAHC conducted a survey on behalf of HOPE NOW to gather information on financial hardships facing Texas homeowners, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The results of that survey can be seen by clicking here.
Below is our interview with Eric.
Tell us a little bit about HOPE NOW.
The HOPE NOW Alliance is a community of likeminded stakeholders focused on helping families avoid foreclosure by collaborating to improve communication, streamline processes and find viable solutions for communities nationwide.
HOPE NOW provides a platform for mortgage servicers and HUD-approved nonprofit counselors to connect with federal, state and local partners in order to improve operations and assist more families. Since 2007, HOPE NOW has been the industry leader in solving mortgage servicing issues. We have also assisted nearly 200,000 families at events held across the country.
What is your role at the organization?
I’m currently the Executive Director for HOPE NOW, but I started as a project manager. I was able to learn about the business from the ground up in a hands-on fashion. It has given me the unique perspective of knowing all the stakeholders and their specific needs.
April is financial literacy month. Why is financial literacy so important for today’s consumers?
I agree, financial literacy is extremely important for today’s consumers. It is one of the biggest lessons learned from the mortgage and financial crisis. I look at financial literacy in a few ways. It helps to lower barriers for consumers. They are more likely to engage if they understand. Financial literacy also helps you navigate life choices, plan ahead and problem solve.
Do you have any advice for lenders interested in helping distressed borrowers?
We just went through a housing crisis. How can we take those experiences and improve our systems and processes? When the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was introduced in 2009, everyone used flip phones and fax machines to communicate. When the HAMP program expired in 2016, everyone was using smart phones, emails and text messages. Technology has changed and the industry needs to be cognizant of how rapidly the environment is changing. We should be promoting customer friendly solutions and leveraging new technologies.
Are there any resources you recommend?
There are many user-friendly resources available for mobile applications, including different financial management apps. Lenders have also developed some terrific financial literacy platforms that can be useful to consumers.
On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.