Rebate for staying current on 'underwater' mortgage

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

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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.