As of July 2012, the Metro Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program (MMFMP) estimated there were more than 50,000 open residential foreclosure actions in Wisconsin. Each foreclosure that’s avoided is estimated to save local communities and stakeholders roughly $40,000, leading to an estimated $2 billion or more impact to the state. The Wisconsin Foreclosure Mediation Network (the Network), operated by Wisconsin Mediation Services, Inc., a non-profit corporation, and administered through the Milwaukee County Clerk of Circuit Courts, is a comprehensive statewide response to the foreclosure crisis in Wisconsin.
Under the Joint-State Federal Mortgage Servicing Settlement announced in early 2012 involving the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen allocated $458,550 for the continuation and expansion of the network’s foreclosure mediation services. A renewed memorandum of agreement continues support for the MMFMP beginning March 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013, and commits additional funds to work on the expansion of the program statewide beginning October 1, 2012.
The MMFMP, which began in July of 2009, has previously received more than $500,000 in Department of Justice funding from the Countrywide Financial Corporation lawsuit, as well as funds from the City of Milwaukee. Since its inception, it has helped thousands of Wisconsin families. On average, just under 50% of all mediated cases resolve the foreclosure action with a loan modification, giving homeowners a fresh start and lenders a performing loan. When home retention is not a viable option, the programs provide resources and facilitate transitional options so borrowers have a dignified exit and soft landing. A survey, which included both lender’s counsel and homeowners, found that 98% of program participants would recommend the program to others in foreclosure.
Although DOJ funding ran out in June 2015, the program continues to operate with support of the courts in participating counties, and through fees paid by program participants.