NEW YORK (Reuters) - A hotline for a program that aims to help about 1.2 million subprime borrowers received 45,000 calls in the three days after President George W. Bush announced the program, the HOPE NOW alliance said on Tuesday.
Call volume spiked after Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson cited the counseling center on Thursday in detailing a program to help curb foreclosures.
The Bush plan, supported by major lenders, would freeze interest rates on certain subprime loans before scheduled jumps in monthly payments. Critics claim the requirements lock out hundreds of thousands of borrowers facing the loss of their homes and will have only marginal impact on foreclosures that last quarter reached record levels.
Borrowers calling 1-888-995-HOPE will receive foreclosure prevention counseling, but they must call lenders to see if they qualify for the loan modification program, Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW, said in a statement issued by the consortium of lenders, industry groups and counselors.
Reporting by Al Yoon;Editing by Dan Grebler