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Los Angeles mortgage modification event begins Thursday

September 23, 2009 |  6:41 pm

More than 50,000 homeowners are expected to begin streaming through the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday, hoping for a hand in restructuring their mortgages or avoiding foreclosure.

The free five-day event, running through Monday, is organized by Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America. NACA hosted similar meetings nationwide this summer that attracted more than 180,000 participants.

Counselors at 360 computer stations will scan homeowners’ mortgage documents and send electronic files to nearly 2,000 on-site servicers and lenders, including representatives from Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., who will negotiate more affordable loans.

“People usually call up the servicers and get the runaround,” NACA Chief Executive Bruce Marks said. “But here, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

The event will cost about $1 million, funded by federal grants. Boston-based nonprofit National Consumer Law Center released a study today of 25 foreclosure mediation programs from 14 states, including California, and concluded that most were inefficient.

The law center said that procedural barriers often kept homeowners from participating in those programs, and that mortgage servicers were rarely required to provide documentation or more affordable alternatives.

Rafael Mayo, 41, said NACA helped save his home from foreclosure by pushing both his 5% and 11% interest-only mortgages down to two 2% fixed-rate loans, saving him $850 a month.

“We were one foot inside the safety line, one foot outside,” he said.

The Save the Dream tour launched in Cleveland with 35,000 participants before moving to Chicago and St. Louis. Other stops will include Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Participants can register for appointments at www.naca.com or toll-free at (888) 499-6222.

-- Tiffany Hsu

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