Independent Bank Corporation (NASDAQ: IBCP), a leading Michigan-based community bank, announced it has helped over 400 households as part of the Obama Administration’s new Making Home Affordable Refinance program which offers homeowners the opportunity to obtain improved loan terms. Independent Bank was one of the first banks in Michigan to offer the refinance program and work with consumers who have loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Independent Bank has closed $159.8 million in mortgages, which includes $63.4 million in Making Home Affordable program refinances since the inception of the program on March 4, 2009, through May 31, 2009. This loan volume demonstrates Independent Bank’s commitment to make home financing readily available in the Michigan communities it serves.

Through its modification programs, Independent Bank has modified over $23 million in loans to help families retain their homes year-to-date. Independent Bank’s message to communities and homeowners is “we are here for you.” Independent Bank has reached out to customers as well as non-customers whose brokers may no longer be servicing loans.

“Because Independent Bank is a part of the local fabric, we understand the issues facing the communities we serve. Helping our local neighborhoods through Home Retention initiatives is a top priority. Customers in our local communities look to us for products and services that make their lives easier,” said Michael M. Magee Jr., president and CEO of Independent Bank.

For example, Independent Bank recently worked with a customer who lost his job and was at risk of having to sell his home – a home that had previously belonged to his grandfather. Independent Bank was able to reduce the payment to an affordable amount and the customer retained the property.

As an additional step in its efforts to reach homeowners facing foreclosure, Independent Bank has participated in a number of foreclosure-related forums hosted by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox in locations throughout the state. The goal of these forums has been to help broaden communication with consumers tackling tough financial issues. Independent Bank has added staff to assist homeowners with the programs.

Independent Bank continues to focus on providing information to consumers on the mortgage refinancing or modification programs available to them. In addition, the Bank has a program tailored for seniors to assist them in avoiding foreclosure if they have fallen behind in their payments or need to increase their cash flow for living expenses.

Consumers with loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or serviced by Independent Bank are encouraged to call or visit their local banking office for more information on how to participate in the program. For information on new applications/refinancing related to the Making Home Affordable program, call 1.800.285.3111 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, or consumers can apply online at

For information on loan modification programs call 1.800.292.5020 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday through Friday, or from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday. Consumers may also obtain assistance by visiting their local Independent Bank office and speaking with a mortgage specialist.