Boosting HARP Volume
New marketing materials aid in outreach efforts
By Nisha Lunia | July 09, 2013
Mortgage companies that want to boost their Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) loan volume now have new tools at their fingertips.
Fannie Mae has introduced a toolkit that mortgage lenders and servicers can use for their own marketing efforts, as they try to reach more homeowners who are eligible for HARP.
“Many homeowners with little or no equity don’t think they may be able to refinance and are often unaware of the benefits of HARP,” said Robert Greenbaum, senior director of Communications and Marketing Services at Fannie Mae.
HARP guidelines have changed, so even if a homeowner has been declined in the past, they should contact their mortgage company again to request HARP, Greenbaum said. If their mortgage company cannot assist them, homeowners can contact another HARP lender. Fannie Mae’s consumer website, KnowYourOptions.com, provides a list of Fannie Mae-approved HARP lenders by state.
Mortgage lenders that are interested in boosting homeowner awareness and adoption of HARP can access Fannie Mae’s toolkit, which contains marketing materials that were developed based on lender best practices and recent consumer research to understand the reasons or perceived barriers to HARP refinancing.
“We developed messaging that clearly communicates the benefits of refinancing with HARP,” Greenbaum said. “Also, we developed messaging to overcome objections mentioned by homeowners who hadn’t refinanced and thought they wouldn’t qualify for refinancing. There are still many misperceptions about the program. Many homeowners think they won’t qualify for refinancing because they’re ‘underwater’ on their mortgage. But that’s exactly who can benefit the most from HARP.”
The materials include letters, postcards, inserts/buck slips, and frequently-asked-questions. They incorporate best practices that Fannie Mae discovered through discussions with mortgage lenders and directly with consumers.
“For example, including a ‘respond by date’ and providing specific payment and interest rate examples within the direct mail piece definitely increase the response rate,” Greenbaum said.
Lenders or servicers can use the HARP marketing materials to promote their individual company or co-brand pieces with their logo and Fannie Mae’s name and logo.
The materials contain editable fields to enter a company name, logo, contact information and legal disclosures, as well as areas to personalize the documents with the homeowner’s contact information and existing loan terms.
Recent lender and servicer surveys show that the co-branded mail pieces add credibility to the offer and garner more responses from homeowners, he said.
The new HARP tools can be helpful for mortgage companies with large, small, or no internal marketing departments because they provide a consistent message based on research and best practices, Greenbaum added.
“If we align our messaging and homeowner outreach, the mortgage industry can be more effective in helping homeowners refinance to make their payments more affordable,” he said.
For more information, see the Guide for Using HARP Consumer Solicitation Materials or the new HARP section on KnowYourOptions.com, located at www.KnowYourOptions.com/HARP, which includes a HARP quiz so borrowers can determine if they qualify, homeowner testimonials, FAQs, and more.
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