PORTLAND, Maine — MaineHousing mortgages will be serviced by an offshoot of Rhode Island’s housing agency in the new year, a change the agency said does not affect the underlying terms of their home loans.
“The mortgages aren’t being sold to another lender. They are staying with MaineHousing. What’s changing is the servicing, which is the processing of mortgage payments,” MaineHousing spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte wrote in an email.
Turcotte said the agency began sending notices to 6,682 customers last week. The change, she said, will save MaineHousing about $1.5 million annually on costs of servicing the mortgage and open more options for homeowners, such as being able to check the status of payments online.
“It gives us some benefits for the servicing of the loans, and it gives some mortgage holders some benefits,” Turcotte said in a phone interview.
The shift takes effect Jan. 1, 2017. The new servicer, Mortgage Servicing Solutions, is a part of Rhode Island’s state housing agency, Rhode Island Housing. MaineHousing mortgages are currently serviced by Camden National Bank, based in Rockport.
Turcotte said that Camden decided to end negotiations over the mortgage servicing contract with MaineHousing and the housing authority looked elsewhere. She said the new servicer also shares MaineHousing’s mission of helping people afford homes and has a good understanding of related federal programs.
Turcotte said the change does not alter anything about the terms of mortgages, which are still held by MaineHousing. Customers will now send bills to the Rhode Island servicer, rather than Camden National.
In its letter to homeowners, MaineHousing said Camden National will forward payments to the new servicer for 60 days after Jan. 1, without those payments being considered late.
Turcotte said the agency’s program for first-time home buyers saw more interest this year, with 980 first home loans made so far, up from 750 in 2015. She said the program’s interest rates are competitive and mortgagors get $3,500 toward a down payment and closing costs.
Turcotte said customers with questions can call MaineHousing at 626-4600 or Mortgage Servicing Solutions at 844-694-5193.