Hope Now, as you may recall from one of my earlier blogs, is the name of a less than one-year-old alliance formed among credit counseling agencies, lending institutions, mortgage security investors, trade associations, and loan servicing companies that deal in the sub-prime mortgage market. This coalition was formed with the strong encouragement of the U.S. Department of the Treasury to work with troubled homeowners and help borrowers avoid foreclosure.

Needless to say, reducing foreclosures is a subject of great interest to me as a consumer bankruptcy specialist and bankruptcy attorney in Indiana, so I make every effort to stay current on Hope Now as its important work continues. As of mid-January, Hope Now reports having helped more than 370,000 homeowners through repayment plans and negotiating “workouts” of debt.

Here’s how the system actually functions: The Hope Now members who represent lenders contact borrowers who have adjustable rate and other non-traditional mortgages no later than 120 days before the mortgage is set to change. The lenders explain to the borrowers about any potential increase in payments, and, where there seems to be a problem, they put the borrowers in touch with support counselors. The whole idea behind Hope Now is to establish a national – and a cooperative – approach to home mortgage issues.

In the courtroom, an attorney may be addressed as “Counselor”. In my case, this is a perfect term to describe how I work with my debtor clients in my bankruptcy law offices around the state of Indiana. Before getting to the legalities of the bankruptcy system, I always spend time trying to negotiate with the creditors and creating an overall rebuilding strategy for the financial future for my clients. Hope Now – that’s really what every one of us wants, now isn’t it?