Rebate for staying current on ‘underwater’ mortgage

At payoff or sale, 'Responsible Homeowner Reward' can be sizable

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

In a recent column, we asked what lenders would do to retain good customers. We mentioned that there were loan modification programs available for borrowers in financial trouble. We also pointed out that some homeowners who accepted a "loan mod" simply defaulted again. Many lenders have not even budged from their prepayment penalties -- the practice of charging a significant fee if the borrower cashes out the loan (typically refinances or sells) within a specific period of time -- even though other borrowers with inferior credit and poor payment histories have more attractive options. Now, a private company is offering lenders a chance to help borrowers who continue to make their payments even though their loan balance is far greater than the value of their home. The plan could begin to reduce the mounting number of "underwater" borrowers who have simply walked away from their homes. New Jersey-based Loan Value Group does not buy mortgages. The company makes it...