Wells Fargo reaches out to homeowners in fear of foreclosure

A major mortgage lender is taking its show on the road to strike deals with distressed homeowners.

Wells Fargo & Co. representatives are at the Pennsylvania Convention Center through Thursday.

The banking giant, which originates one-quater of the mortgages in the U.S., has brought 100 staff members to Philadelphia for the “home preservation workshop.”

The in-person meetings are more effective in helping people keep their houses than toll-free help lines, according to Marie Day, regional servicing director.

“We’re able to help seven out of 10 of our customers find an option that does not include foreclosure,” she said.

Trevor Shaw of Lindenwold, N.J., said he was relieved to get help in person.

“They send you stuff in the mail and you have questions, they give you an 800 number. The people are helpful but you’re always at an arm’s reach away,” Shaw said. “But sitting down at a desk across from an underwriter who’s actually going to formally make the decision, it’s huge.”

Not all homeowners are at ease with the process, so local community organizations are on hand to offer aid.

“If they’re not sure, if they feel uncomfortable talking with Wells Fargo, if they’ve been getting somewhat of a non-response from Wells Fargo, we’re here as a third party to mediate and help this transition go a little bit smoother,” said Deserie Sills, a senior housing counselor with the Urban League.

Wells Fargo invited 35,000 to participate, but walk-ins are welcome. The workshop continues through 7 p.m. Thursday.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal