From Mortgage Broker to Foreclosure Counselor

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Sure, there's jobs to be had in the world of mortgages. How about becoming a mortgage counselor?

The Wall Street Journal reports some mortgage brokers have, in effect, switched sides by taking jobs to help pressured mortgage holders keep their homes. Many work for nonprofit organizations seeking to assist the rising number of distressed borrowers. They're helped in part by $180 million provided by Congress and distributed by NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit created by Congress in 1978 to provide financial support, technical assistance and training to community-based revitalization efforts.

Some managers say former mortgage brokers can be good counselors "because they're used to pushing hard to resolve problems, such as those that might stand in the way of a refinancing or a modification of a loan's terms," the Journal says. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has certified about 1,440 housing counselors, 25 percent more than there were a year ago. How many counselors are at work, in total, in the U.S. isn't known.

However, group executives in the field hint mortgage counseling may not be a long-term career path. "We're going to run like hell for about 18 months, and then it's going to subside, Chris Krehmeyer, chief executive of Beyond Housing, a nonprofit in St. Louis, told the newspaper. The reason: At some point, the number of foreclosures will level off.

The pay is far from Wall Street levels. Gary Aguilar, vice president of counseling services for Springboard, a nonprofit credit-management organization in Riverside, Calif., says the starting salary for mortgage counselors is about $35,000 a year.

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