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Loan Mod Profiles: Fed Up, Giving Up

A Baltimore homeowner tells why he walked away from his home rather than continue to deal with the loan modification program. His story is all too common.

Based on stories from hundreds of homeowners, we're showing what it has been like to seek a mortgage modification through the government's program. Earlier, we detailed what 373 homeowners told us about their experiences. To put a face on those numbers, we're also profiling homeowners who represent common situations. This is the third of five.

Wallace Farmer of Baltimore recently moved out of his row house after giving up on the government's loan modification program. (Photo by Amanda Lucidon/ProPublica)

It all started after Wallace lost his two investment properties. (Photo by Amanda Lucidon /ProPublica)

"It was just like a domino effect," Wallace says of losing those properties. (Photo by Amanda Lucidon/ProPublica)

On working with his loan servicer, Chase, Wallace says he couldn't "get any closure." (Photo by Amanda Lucidon/ProPublica)

"I couldn't sleep," he says. "I didn't know what was going on." (Photo by Amanda Lucidon/ProPublica)

Wallace says Chase even told him "to miss two payments," advice that is against the program's guidelines. (Photo by Amanda Lucidon/ProPublica)

Finally, Wallace says he said "to hell with it," and decided to abandon his home, now worth $110,000 less than what he paid for it. (Photo by Amanda Lucidon/ProPublica)

Wallace says he has filed for bankruptcy and plans to live debt-free. Of debt, he says: "I want to break up. I don't ever want to see her again." (Photo by Amanda Lucidon/ProPublica)

Slideshow:
Download the audio.

Listen to Wallace Farmer talk about the loan mod process.

On a recent Friday morning, Wallace Farmer packed up and moved out of his Baltimore row house. After over a year of confusion and delays, JPMorgan Chase told Farmer that he made too much for a mortgage modification through the government's foreclosure relief program. That made no sense to Farmer -- he'd lost around $500 a month from two rental properties -- but he was done fighting. He recalls finally saying, "To hell with it."

Farmer is one of many homeowners who have given up on the government's mortgage modification program, which tries to help struggling homeowners by reducing their monthly payments. They say they're trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare, and even if they are offered a modification, it doesn't help enough. They stop sending checks and instead face foreclosure.

"I have been traumatized," says Farmer of his process trying to get help from Chase. "I couldn't get any closure. Nobody would tell me anything. They kept saying, 'It's in the mail. It's in the mail.'" Chase spokeswoman Christine Holevas says the bank was giving Farmer "assistance and advice about options" when he moved out.

Farmer's frustration at the delays and the runaround are common among people trying to get help through the government program. More than three-quarters of the homeowners who responded to our questionnaire said they did not trust their servicers to make a good-faith effort to evaluate them for a modification. The Treasury Department has acknowledged that the stress and confusion of the process has caused some homeowners to give up.

Based on the accounts of more than 350 homeowners, University of Arizona law professor Brent White recently wrote that homeowners who make intentional decisions to stop paying their mortgages often feel "anxiety and hopelessness about their financial futures and anger at their lenders' and the governments' unwillingness to help."

When these homeowners take a look at the hard numbers of their finances, many say a modification isn't enough help. The delays can often push homeowners further into debt because unpaid principal, interest and fees accrue during trial modifications. And nationally, one in five homeowners, like Farmer, are "underwater," meaning they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Farmer figured that, since he owes $101,000 more than the market value of his home, he'd essentially be renting for the next 20 years. "I cannot be burdened with that amount of negative equity," he says.

Even those who successfully get permanent modifications end up owing 50 percent more, [PDF] on average, than their homes are worth, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The government program lowers monthly payments by reducing interest rates, extending the term of a mortgage, and then, if necessary, offering "principal forbearance," which moves up to 30 percent of the amount owed to a balloon payment at the end of a loan. Around a third of permanent modifications in the program have principal forbearance [PDF].

In March, the Treasury Department announced a new program to promote not just postponing principal payments, but actually wiping away some debt for loans with balances more than 15 percent higher than the house's value. Under the program, mortgage servicers are "encouraged" -- but not required -- to forgive principal.

After a year of faxing and resubmitting documents, one Florida homeowner finally threw up his hands and faxed his mortgage servicer a picture of his naked backside with a note saying, "Please see below for my updated financial information." The homeowner says he got a modification the very next week.

ProPublica's Paul Kiel and Olga Pierce contributed to this story.

Have you given up on getting a modification? Please use the comments section below to discuss with other homeowners. And if you haven't already filled out our questionnaire, please tell us your story.

Richard Ordowich

Aug. 24, 2010, 10:58 a.m.

It is impossible to assess the overall loan modification program from a few examples. But I assume there are a number of forces at play. 1. People purchased homes they could not afford. 2. People assumed the value of their houses would continue to grow and they could “cash out”. 3. People now see there houses are worth less than they paid.

These are all risks that were taken by some of the population but not all. Those who did not take those risks I assume are not asking for load modifications. Other folks took these risks and unfortunately are experiencing the reality of investing. Risk/rewards and what goes up will come down.

I would like to know the profiles of the population who are asking for the loan modifications. Is this primarily an example of people taking excessive risk and losing?

To Richard, we did not take any risk in purchasing our home. We were well under the amount we qualified for and we have an FHA loan. My husband lost his job and at 66 he cannot find another one. Don’t just assume that a large number of people are either taking a risk or looking for a reward. My husband and I are white, middle class and responsible people. We have been waiting for 1 year to modify our loan to no avail. This is a nightmare. I think your post is very smug and you need to read a little more about the people your lumping together.

To Richard. and which bank are you with?
It is ok for Wall Street Banks to gamble money away because the government will bail them out. And for those
mistakes they even receive bonuses. Billions of dollars.
Right?

But when Main street is in trouble, it is more important to remodel a banker’s office for $ 1.3 million dollar then save children from becoming homeless.
Maybe there are some people who bought homes they could not afford, but I am sure the majority are responsible working middle class. 

Let me also mention that Wall Street was the one who pushed people into ARM loans, and even before the ink dried on the note it was sold for a hefty profit.

I too lost my job only 40 days or so after going to settlement on a house that was barely over half of what I qualified for.  The worst part of it all was/is that since it was n FHA loan I had to wait a full year to even begin the modification process.  All told it has been over 2 years since I settled on the house and I’m still waiting on a decision from Wells Fargo.

I’ve attended local seminars, written to local, and vocal, congressman in hopes of being given direction and options but as of today I’m still in a holding pattern.  I’ve recieved erroneous information from bank representatives.  I’ve submitted paperwork to the bank as well as to local organizations whose sole purpose is to help people like me and there is still no decision. 

One month I make too much, one month I make too little, some months the fact that I break even means that my home is “affordable”.  It truly is frustrating that the bank requires contant information seeminly to find the right set of borrower circumstances to be able to quantify a denial.

I honestly don’t know what to do in order to assure I am able to stay in my home based on the guidlines of HAMP.  Perhaps the posterior picture is an option to keep in mind.

bought my house 10 years ago with the hope that when the time came to fund college for my children the ups and downs, which i am well aware, of housing would have left me with some equity so i could help the one who could not get a scholarship… i figured 20 years… well ten years on plus the ten years to recover or at least break even is not worth it. I’m in AZ, and it looks even rougher for us.  truth is I am not angry just tell me where to mail the keys… wamu/countrywide/skank of america.  wish the 10 years of never missing a payment mattered to someone.

Why don’t banks convert the distressed mortgages to longer term 30, 40, 50 year mortgages?  Lengthen the loans, lower the payment rates, this will keep a large amount of foreclosures from building up and dropping everyone’s equity, and people will be able to stay in their homes, and the banks will be able to collect more income over the life of mortgage. If and when there is an economic recovery people can sell their homes, keep paying the longer term loan, or refinance.

Rather simple solution, but I am sure banks have a reason not to. The banks get bailed out and the people get bailed on.

Well, Sorry to hear.
We did not walk away ,but filed CHAPTER 13.& ruined our Credit for many years
I wonder if the President,reads about this

Jay

Well if I could give one piece of advice to this guy it would have been to stay in his house till they kicked him out. Knowing what I do about this process the only small win for the homeowner is not to bail until the last minute. That way you can save for a rental, and you will need a chunk of change because your credit is toast. I am one of those who got a loan mod. I’ve written about this before. I bought less of a home than I qualified for. But my son, who was paying 1/2 the mortgages, got a major salary reduction and was unable to pay. I fought with Chase for 16 months and got three denials before finally getting my permanent HAMP. It was a nightmare. I know too many people still going through this.

One friend, with an HSBC loan, is really in a hard spot because HSBC, which got billions in TARP bailouts, has decided NOT to provide loan modifications. This particular loan is actually in the MERS system. You have to educate yourself and be willing to fight; and you need to have others to fight with you or this will be even worse of a nightmare than it is.

By the way - have a hard time believing that a picture of a backside resulted in a mod. I know it’s a crap shoot, but this is not exactly what I meant.

I too was lied to for a year and a half by my lender.I stopped paying three months ago and have not heard at all from them .I like living for free screw the banks and the government they are in bed together with our tax money

Steve Milders

Aug. 24, 2010, 2:49 p.m.

Richard Ordowich, or whoever you are…
You must be out of touch with the reality or you are one of them who does the loan modifications. Go wash your face and look outside. The entire economy has fallen apart, people lost jobs, they have even lost their life savings and are struggling to survive with these corrupt politicians.

Politicians bailed out banks for the losses but people are on their own.

we all lived through this housing bubble madness, it felt great, like an alcohol induced euphoria, and now it’s time to pay for it, now it’s the hangover time. folks - walk away if it makes economic sense for you and you live in a non-recourse state. over a period of time, you will see a lot of pain taken by banks in the non-recourse states, and rightfully so, they made the bad credit decisions expending credit to folks who couldnt afford it. you will see a lot of pain taken by homeowners in the recourse states - homeowners share their slice of guilt, they borrowed more than they could afford. both lenders and creditors made mistakes and must pay for it, don’t drag the taxpayers into this though!

To Richard Ordowich - which Wall Street bed are you sleeping in?  Who are you monkeying around with.  Buddy - you are totally OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY.  You were probably the ones who caused the housing boom only to engineer the housing bust so you guys could scam off innocent homeowners caught in the service pooling trap.
Where is YOUR head.  Have you seen the unemployment figures recently?  Have you not seen how the home prices have fallen?  This is the reason homeowners are suffering.  You have got to be some body who is out of touch.  Get your facts straight.  Also the homeowners DID NOT COME UP WITH THESE EXOTIC loan programs.  People like you probably did.

If you are 10% or more underwater and you have made a good faith effort at HAMP without success, don’t write another check on your mortgage.  As the above poster said, your credit is already toast so you are not damaging it further.  Just stay in the house. Period.  Servicers and banks are taking forever to actually evict people.  You can often fight a foreclosure if they don’t produce the original documents and establish legal standing to foreclose. All sorts of threatening letters may arrive.  The only ones you need to watch out for is an official eviction notice which says when the sherriff will come.  When that happens, you still have options, but that’s when you should line up somewhere to go on short notice and somewhere to store your stuff.

Mr. Ordowich, I agree that you seem very smug…I paid 20% down and put 20 thousand in upgrades on my new property almost 4 years ago. Secured a 30 yr. fixed mortgage. This is first home I have ever purchased. Now with having been unemployed since Nov. of 2009 and coming upon last of savings I guess I will dig into pension and 401(k).  Have spent last 7 months trying to deal with BAC…in review…being escalated. I have had enough of being lied to by same people my taxes have bailed out. I am salt of Earth ( carpenter all my life ) and have always paid my bills and been responsible. You are very wrong to lump everyone into such…I pray that you are not having to go through what many others are. May GOD bless all. Roy Stivers

Its not the homeowners. I provide Loan Modification education and mentoring and I can attest that the Servicers are for the most part totally disconnected when it comes to getting modifications done.

I have some clients who would have walked away if they had not had anyone to “Properly” assist them.

Too many people in the servicing/loss mitigations department have No Interest in assisting homeowners. They are there to get a paycheck.

To Roy-Salt of the Earth Carpenter.  No matter what, please do NOT make the mistake of dipping into your 401K or your Pension. Once they are gone, you can never get that money back and you are throwing good money after bad. The banks and mortgagors are putting the HAMP payments into a Suspense Account and not using them to pay down your mortgage anyway. Their intent is to decide if they will make more money via Loss Mitigation or Foreclosure. They do not have any interest in your personal situation, they are DEBT COLLECTORS and they will suck you dry. We stupidly liquidated all we had and now have no retirement fund (the bank cannot touch your 401K or Pension, I believe) so be smart and don’t go in that direction. You will never financially recover and the chance of ending up on the streets skyrockets. I am permanently disabled (60) and my 61 yr old husband lost his job several yrs ago, so we have been trying to live on only my S.S. Disability money with 2 older teens and it is pretty impossible. Don’t make the same mistake that we did. If you feel you have no other choice, it is better to borrow against your 401K thank to totally liquidate it and then be liable for massive amounts of tax liability.
These banks and mortgage companies are the most despicable of companies with whom I have dealt. We had always paid our bills and mortgage and we paid our HAMP trial and also have been paying it for an additional 10 or more months. We were recently told that we were denied for excessive forbearance (30%), even though, in writing US Bank Hm Mortgage admitted making mistakes, said we had been approved, but finally the investor said to deny us. When asked exactly who the investor was, we were told US Bank Hm Mortgage. However, on one of our statements MERS is listed. I need to find out who and what MERS is and saw that another person who commented in here mentioned MERS. Who are they? Our mortgage co. then came back with another HAMP program for more monthly payment, more money on everything and a trial period without specifying a beginning and end date-just leaving it open ended. They must think we are totally stupid. Several mistakes were also made in this new modification document, so we told them we could not accept this mod as it stood and they would need to make changes. Instead, we now have received a monthly statement with a monthly mortgage payment more than double the one we had been on and a ton of money in a Suspense Account and they are now saying we owe over $45,000 to be current when we hadn’t missed a payment. They just hadn’t sent that original mod back to us signed by them, even though they verbally and then, after the denial fact, in writing that it had been approved in error. WHAT??????? These guys are nuts and we are at our wits end. Any suggestions? We sure could use the help. Thanks in advance.

William Young

Aug. 24, 2010, 5:48 p.m.

To Richard;  I have been in my “home” for almost 18 years.  Being self employed in the construction industry, with my business income now being 25% of what it was 2 years ago, gave me the opportunity to help aid in a solution to my problem and I became a school bus driver along with continuing my business, which I have had since 1966.  Yes, I requested help from my mortgagor only to be given a run around, intimidation tactics, lost documentation, inaccurate time frames given by the mortgagor, and a modified mortgage which was $8 less than what I am currently paying monthly.  I’m not looking for a handout, just a helping hand.  The horror story that goes with my process is unbelievable as it is with so many others.  I take responsibility for my economic situation and when a hand is offered, I would hope that the gesture is genuine.  Not in this case.

stop paying your mtg. immediately - but keep up with tax and insurance, which you can pay on your own. I now pay insurance quarterly, and got a cheaper policy by 25%.
Go commando. Cut every bill you have. We have never had cable, have one car (stick shift compact) and no credit card debt. Cut cell phone contract (yes, paid the fee) and have prepaid at 35% the price.
We eat at home and go to state parks or the beach for fun.
Bought school supplies from Dollar Store and borrowed an advanced calculator for the teen. We use the library computers, faster than ours. Borrow books and DVDs there also.
Cook at home, pack lunch and snacks and carry water bottle in car. Perk your own coffee and tote it. Use coupons, redeem any gift cards you have. Shop consignment and sell stuff if they take it.
Tutor or teach music lessons, parents with jobs still pay for those.
The mod payments are a false front, trying to lure every penny you have from your wallet. Stop. Your credit is trashed anyway, and the foreclosure will come or not regardless.
Do not drink the Kool Aid. In Nev., Calif. and Fla. it is a lost cause. Save your money, do not pay a bank.
Seriously.

Over a year ago I filed a lawsuit against all the institutions involved in my loan and I’m now up to 13 tort claims on my Fourth Amended Complaint. 

I don’t think anyone who wasn’t targeted by these mortgage companies could understand how predatory the whole mortgage industry became during these years, or how cynically it targeted the most vulnerable populations.  There was a Countrywide office in San Francisco actually targeting elderly women with Alzheimer’s living in Pacific Heights mansions.

I did not lie to get a loan.  I did not misrepresent my ability to repay, but I did have a plan to repay the loan by selling half the property—in a duplex—when I got the loan, in what’s called a tenancy-in-common arrangement in San Francisco, after doing some improvements.  I explained that in detail, repeatedly, and made it clear that it was my only way of repaying the loan, but the broker listened only so as to sell me a predatory loan that would be securitized and sold off in strips to various distant, indifferent institutions.  Deutschebank, the institution that held the decision making power as to whether I could sell half the property, which was the only logical rationale of the loan to begin with, or to decide whether I would ever be considered for a loan modification, was actually invested in the failure of my loan.  They had retained the right to profit only on prepayment penalties and on the value of an REO sale above and beyond the foreclosure price. 

As soon as I had the loan, the “servicers” told me that they couldn’t make decisions about my loan, e.g. ,agree to my selling half the property to a partner, because they were only servicing it for a distant lienholder, and, it turned out, trustee—Deutschebank—-whose names were not even revealed to me for the next four years, despite many requests.

When I finally learned who the actual lienholder and trustee were, behind all sorts of loan servicing and MERS smoke and mirrors, I read their SEC docs and realized that I never had a chance, that they were actually invested in the failure of my loan, from the very beginning.

Homeowners need legal help, not loan mod bureaucracy. Most of the paper and instruments behind all these loans will never be analyzed by anyone capable of understanding all the multi-institutional scams behind them.

Most lawyers probably couldn’t understand what’s wrong with so much of this paper.  I understand it only because, since getting this loan, as a single woman, I had the good fortune to find a partner with a number of years’ experience in the financial industry who was willing and able to study it and determine what was wrong. 

Banks also carefully calculated the consequences of these predatory loans to make sure that they would not go bad until after the statute of limitations had run out, as it no doubt has for many people.  Not that many could or will ever really realize what hit them in detail though I’m sure that they experienced the aggression on a visceral level. 

This has caused countless personal tragedies, adding up to a national tragedy, and a drastic upward redistribution of wealth.  And the very companies that orchestrated it continue to be rewarded.  Most of all, Goldman Sachs, the first big contributor to get the Obama campaign off the ground in 2007, and Deutschebank.  Both are huge, though disguised beneficiaries of the AIG bailout because they were paid insurance claims on all the bad debt in the house of cards they orchestrated, by AIG.

I was for a long time too embarrassed to talk about having let anyone take advantage of me to this extent, but eventually, as the foreclosure tide became a national crisis, I realized that I should.  I’ve written several articles about institutional involvements and the California Foreclosure Prevention Act, a cynical fraud that California State legislator Ted Lieu and the Democratic Party tried to present as relief for homeowners when it was actually a bank enabling bill.  See http://goo.gl/6Dr9

Maybe, if I survive, I’ll write my own story some day.

I have no respect whatsoever for the responses of President Obama, Congress, or the State of California.  The first thing that should be done to stem the time is repeal all the nonjudicial foreclosure laws that allow banks to foreclose and throw people out of their homes without at least going to court and getting the paper right.

Steven Sagala

Aug. 24, 2010, 7:40 p.m.

When we purchased our home 20 years ago, my business had been going up 15% per year, cut expenses 50%, paid cash amounting to $35K on a $60K 30-yr.mortgage. 20 years later, I received summons to pay $55K or face foreclosure. I admit I’m naive and income has dropped (clients mostly moved offshore); there should be strength in numbers. How about a National Association of Angry HAMPers crowding into the financial centers and politicians’ offices to politely express our opinions? Silly, isn’t it…

If you have MERS involved in your mortgage, Google MERS—there was recently a court decision that stated that since registering a mortgage with MERS means that no interest in the property was transferred, the chain of title has been broken, and therefore NOBODY has the right to foreclose on the homeowner. And since, technically, the bank has no interest in the property, the homeowner might wind up owning the property free and clear without paying ANYTHING.  Seriously

The trick in any financial irregularity (crisis) is to understand it well enough to screw and not be screwed.  If you like, keep your morals and ethics intact, but don’t expect your foe to do the same.  When you have the unfortunate experience of getting into a street fight your attacker (assuming you are the innocent one) will gouge out your eye, step on your balls (for those who still have them), and bite and kick to gain the upper hand. Think of them as The Bank of America if it makes it easier.

Your foes have lawyers and have made the law; they know the rules of the game.  Learn them. 

Here’s the beginnings of a plan for those in my situation:  I’m solvent, maybe 20 to 40K underwater with no equity and a 6.5 30 year fixed with B of A. They have made it clear that since I haven’t missed any of those 1800/month payments in 3 years (about 230k mortgage) they’re not about to help me out.

My wife makes 50, and I, 20k more per year.  We both have stellar, nay, interstellar credit. Old cars, no debt.

Just to be clear, I’m no thief, have been to jail a few times for non-violent disobedience, have played the patsy and have regrets.  Never the less, I plan on kicking B of A’s ass.

Unless the unexpected happens, our house was a poor investment in this economy.  It could easily have been worse—B of A would have gladly given us 300K 3 years ago.  We took 230.  Many of you good readers will think (and some will even write) that taking the loan was “our bad.”  No argument here, I don’t care if I change your consciousness or not.  For those who care—I think B of A took part in a very large misrepresentation of the truth for their economic gain.  Something like the wars our empire wages with alarming regularity.

Remember the numbers—a 230K mortgage at 6.5 for 30 years equaling 1800K per month with taxes and insurance.  House “worth” 190, but wouldn’t sell for 10 to 20 months, if ever, at that price.  We could stop payments this month and with our smarts, a lawyer for 1 to 2 K and maybe some luck we could stay a year, socking away 20K in cash.  Now we may have bad credit, but we walk away with a tidy sum. 

Not necessarily the worst move, but not the best, given we’re still solvent and the market isn’t a given—I repeat the market is not predictable.  “Little in life unfolds as we predict.”  So at the moment I buy some time and fork over the interest to B of A while watching and learning about the market. 

Best case scenario: we stop payment to B of A for as long as possible before jumping to something better (a mother-in-law infused 20% fixed 5% at 15 or 30 years on a distressed foreclosure in 15 months when the market is flooded and bad guys like B of A are cutting their losses).  We care for mom and stay in the new home.

Sound cold?  I’m 55, probably unemployable, smart, and fighting for my life.  I won’t cut your throat, but there’s a few who are in danger.

My heart goes out to all who are going through this very trying time. It is shameful that so many are going through such ordeals due to the greed of a few. Phyliss bless you for your advice….you and your family will be in my prayers tonight. May God bless all!!!!!

Mike McDermott

Aug. 24, 2010, 8:28 p.m.

Richard, I’d like you to explain how a person can obtain a mortgage on a house that he cannot afford?

Richard, it’s not just an issue of people deserving or not deserving a loan modification.  It’s an issue of the banks acting in a DELIBERATELY dishonest manner.

Check out all the accounts of how CHASE bank is handling loan modifications!

MITCH HACKNEY

Aug. 25, 2010, 9:18 a.m.

Perhaps no one noticed that Senator Chris Dodd, Rep. Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, Lobbyist Jesse Jackson, Rep Charlie Wrangel, all, demanded that FHA, VA, Fannie and Freddie, LOWER their credit standards.  That was the catalyst that started it all.  Then the greed of Wall Street and the Mortgage Servicers hastily moved in to get their piece of the pie, flippers joined the hustle, and then many ordinary folks said “everybody is doing it” so they jumped in as well.  There are two kinds of fraud in the industry: FFP, which is fraud for profit, and FFH, which is fraud for housing.  When people with credit scores in the low 500’s [ and even less ] were able to buy homes it only exacerbated a terrible problem.  Stable markets do not have dramatic increases in the value of homes, but when you add 10% more buyers to the market the exponential increase in demand causes the values of all properties to go up.  Many of the comments here are from people who bought after the huge increase in prices, and many bought thinking that if I don’t buy now the prices will only go higher and I may not be able to buy.  The whole modification bureaucracy should be thrown out.  As an originator for over 45 years and over sixteen years as a mortgage instructor I can testify that the banks are no friends of the people.  I have my own stories of the incredible meanness of banks, and CHASE is one of them, who are miserable to do business with.

Everyone here should read this:

Axing the Bankers’ Money Tree: Homeowners’ Rebellion against Wall Street
Recent Rulings Could Shield 62 Million Homes from Foreclosure, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20688

To Richard and so many others who believe this way…I do loan mods for a living, every single day I deal with what these borrowers are telling you, only worse because I am an Authorized Third Party (ATP), who in fact is rarely recognized as “authorized.” I digress. The first round of foreclosures were people who got in over their heads, bought too much house or qualified loosely (did I mention I’m also a mortgage professional?). The people you are reading about now have either suffered a reduced or lost income and a huge reduction in the value of their homes. Most of the people I work with didn’t gamble at all. Everything ProPublica has published about LMs is true, they have been spot on with how the banks are treating people. Just my two cents, for what it’s worth.

I read with both interest and disgust the link to the article about the California regulation to help homeowners that turned out to do more harm than good.  So much of the time our government seems to be giving with one hand and taking with the other just as in this example.

I hold Obama responsible in large part for what is happening because he has the power to stop it and he’s not using it.  He has all the authority he needs to fine these companies for their misconduct and while he thumps his chest and says look my warchest full of tools, very impressive, in reality it means nothing because he has no intention of using them.  I’ve learned Obama is all about show.  A lot of this is a well-choreographed stage play.  You know the shows with the good cop bad cop storyline.  Thats whats going on here with a few tweaks.  We see news storys about how obama is lecturing the bankers and lenders and so forth for not stepping up to the plate, its just a show.  Doing what he does he escapes some of the heat he should be feeling because a lot of people still believe him, not me but a lot.  The people are subject to propaganda everyday.  The media all tout the same manufactured and cloned info to “direct” our attention as they would have us believe meanwhile we are distracted from whats really going on.

Do I sound cynical?  There’s a big difference between cynicism and realism.

As to Richard, I suspect he would have like to ripped into us a lot horder but knowing that he is outnumbered he conceals the totality of his attack like any good snake oil salesman would.

Richard, “friend” what I’d like to say is to point out that those who got their bailouts were not shamed and humiliated and made to grovel and jump through hoops as we have been.  Nope they marched up there and got their bailouts and went on with their lives.  Now having dones so they have no mercy for any of us and it doesn’t help that people like Richard lend a hand, or maybe he is a plant here to interject views for the otherside.

All I can say is I remember feeling proud when President John Fitzgerald Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.  I don’t feel that way anymore and I don’t ask what I can do for my country because my country has obviously either actively participated or looked the other way while the people who were bailed out by taxpayers are now giving us the shaft.  Why would I ask what I can do for them?  It is an insult to those brave men and women who went to battle for us and some shed their lives for it all to come to this.  My government and these financial charlatans are a disgrace.

Here is something Florida victims of this nightmare might find useful:

http://www.daytonabeachrealestateattorney.com/2010/08/florida-ag-accuses-3-law-firms-of-fraud-in-foreclosure-process.shtml

Florida AG Accuses 3 Law Firms of Fraud in Foreclosure Process

August 20, 2010

The economic crimes division of the Florida attorney general has issued subpoenas to three South Florida law firms that represent mortgage lenders.

The firms are suspected of fraud in the foreclosure process.

The attorney general’s investigation targets three firms representing mortgage lenders. The three law firms have handled the largest number of foreclosures in the state. In some cases, the firms handled thousands of foreclosures a month.

The investigation centers on allegations that the law firms used forged and fabricated documents in the foreclosure process, sometimes filing false documents with courts as they sought judgments against homeowners. Potentially thousands of foreclosed homeowners could be affected by improper actions by the firms under investigation.

The three firms under investigation are the Law Offices of David J. Stern in Plantation, the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson in Fort Lauderdale, and Shapiro & Fishman, which has offices in Boca Raton and Tampa.

Steve Sagala:  Not silly at all. Not in the least. The dynamics might be a little tricky but it could work. How about this - How about the pros at Propublica help us put together a petition along those lines -we could sign it by leaving email addresses in the comments section then each person forwarding it along to the next person on the list who left their email address. Something or other like that.

I know there are hundreds of thousands of people trying to get a modification. I think Congress needs to see real signatures representing real people before they believe the anger and frustration caused by the HAMP program. Right now we’re just numbers and not real people to them. Real people equals real votes.

All these loan modification programs are based on the premise that a lot of poor homeowners got in trouble and need some help, never mind why.  Not on the premise that a lot of lenders, and major financial industry players like Goldman Sucks and Douchebank devised a very effective scheme to drain people of their life savings, from a distance. 

Good idea re the law firms.  Many are guilty of filing false documents, an offense which calls for stiff penalties including prison time.

I don’t want to leave my email address for the public at large to see online, it just invites trouble.

And we can create email addresses a dime a dozen so I don’t think getting a bunch of email addresses is going to impress any of the feds.

another method needed

I keep reading all these comments and can’t help feeling like after 911 when it felt like we were all “in it” together. What’s different is that back then, the arrogant who had no compassion for the affected and who had not been affected directly felt some fear.
Does anyone get that sensation by reading on and on?

Steve, I don’t think it’s silly either.  I have spent the last two years trying to figure out a way to turn the tables in favor of the homeowner.

I formed corporations and LLCs for over a decade.  Was a registered agent.  I can’t help but think that if we formed our own corporation(s), transferred our deeds, interest into our newly formed corporation, and recorded that deed that it would be a MERs like situation, but in favor of the homeowner.

If I formed a corporation called Find This Loan, Inc.
Prepared myself a warranty deed transferring my person interest into Find This Loan, Inc.

The bank foreclosed on me, personally.

The bank forecloses on me individually.

Problem is, the bank should have done their due diligence via checking the title at the recorder or land records office to see if I still held title. 

I don’t.

I transferred it to Find this Loan, Inc.  Therefore, the foreclosure should be set aside.

Granted I would still individually own the amount on the loan due to the note.  But the foreclosure cannot be upheld.  They foreclosed on the wrong party.

I have tried so many petitions that I have learned that they don’t work.  I was very involved in forums, websites, causes where petitions were being circulated.  It did absolutely nothing.  Nothing.  That’s not the answer.  I am not sure what the answer is.  I am still trying to find it.

There are hundreds of people putting their heads together at beingmiddleclass.org trying to find a way to turn the tables in favor of the homeowner.

There is power in numbers.

I invite you to join us—to find a way to turn the tables.

Adversity, like attracts like, misery loves company

Yes, like 9/11 there is a brotherhood.  I felt it then, suddenly we were not Chinese, White, Black, Indian, whatever, we were Americans and terrorists had invaded, horrified and killed. 

I’ve been thinking lately how 9 years later so many of us don’t understand that, at least in part, its 9/11 that motivates us to be vigilant of our borders, of who is here illegally, etc.  Now, that day is gone and any mention I make about the illegal problem and I am accused of racism and prejudice etc.  Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  I don’t get what is so hard to grasp?  ILLEGAL (meaning NOT legal) yet some of us say its a mean-spirited venture we are against illegals.  And a lot of us, amazingly, can’t see the bitter (intentional imo) irony of a Mosque standing in place of the Twin Towers.

This brotherhood we have here, is a smaller scale and those not directly affected by the banking meltdown will say as demonstrated here that its our fault and we need to confess we overextended ourselves.  Will they say that same thing years from now as a result of the new Push to get housing loans for people who want to be home owners but can’t.  My Congressman, Mr. Do Nothing Cleaver, writes me how proud he is of the efforts on behalf of those people.  Its like he just wiped his memory slate clean and we are YESTERDAYS NEWS. 

I’ve been viciously attacked on a consumer website as being a whining loser, a drain on society, selfish.  Not trying to say it nicely either just right between the eyes.  Those who do that are the ones untouched that fortune, fate, luck, work or a combination have left the in good standing now and so they feel entitled and a little bit more secure themselves that they can look DOWN and see US. 

WE don’t have faces to them, we are numbers on a spreadsheet.  And those are our fellow Americans so the support is just not there except those of us who know.

To Richard Ordowich who must be a Republican Banker because you would of not made such moronic statements. People who have had their homes for 20 years have lost them. These are not people who bought at the height of the real estate boom to flip. These are hardworking Americans who have lost their jobs, gone through their savings & lost most of their 401K in the economy & trying to float their mortgages and pay bills. You probably work for Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sacks, Indy Mac, Aurora Loan Services or another predatory lender. To make such insensitive statements your karma will be to lose your job then home, good luck.

well, if petitions do not seem to work how about a targeted day of phone calls flooding congress and the Treasury?
Phyllis Caldwell and Herb Allison has calmly bragged about the “success” of mortgage assistance. Let’s see how they handle 5,000 calls to their switchboards.
My senator, Bill Nelson of Florida, will listen to constituents. He has worked to save the space shuttle program, or manned spaceflight, on behalf of workers here.
I would call him, big time.
Let’s pick a day - maybe the Fri. before Labor Day weekend or the Tuesday after?
No curses, no screamers, just calm messages left for our reps and senators with our real names. Demanding that the issue be addressed, win lose or draw.
I stopped paying and expect to be out in the spring. But I am not getting suckered into a loan mod that siphons off what is left of my savings. Thanks, but no thanks.
BOA, bite me.
What goes around, comes around.

To date my Congresswoman, Barbara Lee, and Senators Boxer & Feinstein, have appeared to be helpless in getting any concessions from the banks.  They talk with the bank’s Congressional Liason and accept whatever the bank itself tells them—whether it’s truth or lie (mostly lie).  Likewise the OCC’s method of investigation is to contact the bank and then the bank self-investigates itself.  Then the FDIC insurance comes into play allowing the banks who’ve acquired loans from failed banks to reap windfall profits through foreclosure and short sales—- creating no incentive to work with homeowners.

Personally I am a 64 year old Vietnam war widow living in Oakland, CA dealing with Chase Bank on a WAMU loan.  I applied for HAMP or a bank modification in July 2009.  In September 2009 I entered into a 3 month trial modification agreement and actually made 5 payments on this 3 month trial and was then turned down.  On 4/27/2010 Chase posted a foreclosure sale notice on my front door.  On 5/13/2010 I filed Chapter 7 and on 8/10/2010 my bankruptcy was finalized.  Now on 9/21/2010 Chase plans to sell my home of 38 years on the Alameda County Courthouse steps.  I got into this mess because of extenuating circumstances.  I had a serious back injury and my B&B business took a nose dive with the economy.  My primary job as an EEO mediator suffered also as a result of my accident and fewer EEO complaints coming down the pipeline to me. 

I have been trying to obtain legal representation as I have numerous legitimate claims against Chase, California Reconveyance, and others.  The problem is that my funds are pretty much depleted.

Chase has run rough shod over me and stands to reap a huge windfall profit from the foreclosure sale on my home.  This is evil.  This is federally sanctioned “bank welfare.”

Brenda….I read what you wrote about getting concessions from Banks/Bankers (the inability of your Congressman etc. to obtain any for you).

It occurs to me how truly ludicrous that idea is anyway, this whole thing is, that we should come groveling on hands and knees begging for concessions from the Banks who certainly didn’t have to grovel to get their bailouts.  So they step arrogantly up to the plate to collect their booty, jet of to vacation somewhere warm paid for by bonuses they don’t deserve.  And these are the people we try to appeal to?  We shouldn’t have to but our government, surely with all its resources and advisors, etc. knew and still knows that money was handed over with little to no accountability as to what was done.  They let these bankers sign an agreement as part of getting their bailout that they would modify loans etc.  They put these things before the bankers with NO requirement to report or explain what they are doing with the funds or whether or not they are living up to their agreements regarding modifications, etc.  But the wherewithall to smack the hands of these bankers and lenders/real estate/wall street people is right there on the books.  Obama has made a big show of how he’s going to rap their knuckles if they don’t start delivering.  But, like the old commercial, WHERE’S THE BEEF?

There’s lots of chest thumping by Obama what he’s going to do to these bad boys but they haven’t changed and he’s done nothing.  So based on the fact that our government was responsible for turning over OUR MONEY to thieves and “naively” leaving no way to know what was going on, and its continual habit of looking the other way, conveniently either not seeing or else disregarding their shameful behavior DOES NOTHING.

So I believe we have BEEN SOLD OUT BY OUR GOVERNMENT, beginning with Obama, after all he’s the head honcho right?  Our Congressmen/women do a really good immitaton of obama, chest thumping and war dances but NO ACTION.

You can darn well bet that these members of Congress could and would do something if it involved them personally.  After all, these are the people swife enough to vote themselves midnight raises of salary and benefits.  They aren’t trying to help because their words when campaigning for election about “wanting to serve and make changes” is A BUNCH OF HOT AIR.

I am keep asking CNN to start a 2 week Special on Loan Modification Nightmares. Please Join Me and write to CNN. If enough people will follow eventually I believe this will come out of the shadow and will show the true face of the banksters.
Here is my recent letter to them.
Families with children get foreclosed on while banks suppose to help them with the loan modification. The incompetency or unwillingness of banks has caused too many families with children to find themselves homeless and on the street. When Big Wall Street firms got bailed out our government has assured the people the bail out will help Main Street, and this is the only way to stabilize the economy. It has been almost 3 years since the first bail out by Bush. Nothing has been accomplished for homeowners, only big banks have benefited from the bail out. No job creation. No Credit for small businesses. We have more foreclosures then ever in US history. However at the same time CEO salaries and bonuses have been skyrocketing and these CEOS salaries are higher then ever in US history.  All this on the back of the American Taxpayers.
I have been watching CNN since Bobbie Battista reported the news, and it was in the 80s.
I believe a 2 week special every day 1hour show, with an open telephone line and e-mail would bring a light on this current corrupt crisis that many homeowners going through. It would enlighten our nation how this Home Affordable Modification is just a game for banks that has been created buy banks through our government. Reason: Too many foreclosures would literally paralyze our economy. This way banks will not take too many properties back right away, and at the same time banks able to collect some money from homeowners before eventually foreclosure take place.

# 1 - to all - identify the mortgagor.  All Chase victims do, but Chase is not the only one.

# 2 - to all the victims:

—-Contact the FTC - they will assign a case #.

—-Write to your State Attorney General; his/her portal has forms that you can print, and attachments are allowed.  Be sure to put the FTC case number in the complaint.  With enough complaints, his/her office will do something: either penalize servicers, or fashion some other kind of punitive action.

—-cc to:

*Corporate Offices of your servicer

*Comptroller of the Currency (call 800-613-6743 to obtain their web-page for your state)

*Your state’s Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending

*And last, copy the FTC quoting the original case number.

Be professional and do not let your emotions be apparent.

It is OK to vent your frustration here, but the only way that agencies will take action is when they can no longer ignore the issue. Let’s flood them.

It may be good to let propublica.org know that you did (mention your state) so that they can keep track.  They have the tools to do so.

My story extends to 17 months of everything everyone is talking about.  No additional debt.  Started with a credit score higher than 820.  Wells Fargo approved me for the 3-month trial, then a few days before the permanent mod was to take effect, I was notified of a rejection over a fact known to them for more than half of the 17 months and was never a problem before.  Wells ordered six credit reports without my knowledge or authorization and my score is down to 791. It goes on and on.  But taking action is what is needed. 

Please do.

maybe i’ve been into this too long and i’m missing something but why, with a score that high, don’t you try to get a conventional refinance, the rates are low???

If my credit score was that high thats what I would do.

For people who have developed a “yen” to hue & cry about “Illegals” - perhaps if you educate yourself on the situation you may think differently.
A major reason at least two presidents and the Congress has largely done little to address illegal immigration is because the U.S. is directly responsible for the poverty and suffering of millions in Mexico and therefore responsible for illegal immigration.

U.S. greed is the reason for the collapse of Mexico’s economy and the suffering of its people so a humane solution must be arrived at to address illegal immigration. Regardless of how people feel individually about the fact over 30 million people entered this country illegally over the past ten years, the majority of them from Mexico, it remains most wouldn’t be here were it not for the collapse of Mexico’s economy by the very same people who nearly collapsed the World’s economy and created the foreclosure crisis many of us are dealing with now.

Yes immigrants take jobs, yes they strain resources but they’re in a fight for their lives. I just think hating what they represent, even hating them is wrong, wrong, wrong. What kind of people are those who would blindly blame people for doing whatever it takes to mitigate poverty that is a direct result of evil and greed? Do you malign and hate people like that, do you screw up your face with blind hatred, write about how angry you are against people you don’t even know, carry signs with ugliness written on them and march for suffering rather than against it? What kind of person does that make you?

Man created borders - not God. And God never created any “Illegals” either - he only gave the breath of life to human beings. And His only begotten Son admonished the world to look after the poor with the advice ” . . . the poor will always be with you” - meaning man’s baser nature would always create poverty and suffering.

Illegal immigration is a matter for the federal government to address - not mean-spirited citizens who believe they alone have the right to exist. The U.S. is the sole reason for the poverty and suffering in Mexico and praise God Congress knows that all too well and is not so quick to pass out kicks and punches to those who’ve been literally thrown to the ground as a direct result of U.S. greed.

As adults, we are responsible for knowing the truth -and not be blindly led by ignorance. The U.S. is on a slippery slope of hatred the consequences of which could destroy this nation from the inside out.

Mi mistake.  I am the mortgagor, Wells is the mortgagee.

Could someone please tell me how to determine if your WAMU (Chase) mortgage is a MERS?

My loan docs state that Washington Mutual is the Lender; that the Lender is the Beneficiary; that the Trustee is California Reconva=eyance.

No entity has filed a Substitution of Trustee. Chase has not filed a Substition.

My Notice of Trustee’s Sale lists Washington Mutual as the Lender and California Reconveyance as the Trustee.

Yesterday I spoke with an attorney to see if something else could be done since I had already done a Chapter 7.  He stated that he had luck by doing Chapter 11 and suing the bank in state court but that option is now not available to me now.  He told me to review my Deed of Trust to determine if I have a MERS situation.

I am so running out of time and options. And of course dealing with Chase is dancing with the devil.

If anyone of you has the answer on the MERS question, I would be most grateful for your information.

Even with a high, very high credit score, a self-employed person who enjoyed a decent income for many years, reduced to ashes since November of 2008, does not qualify for conventional finance. However the point is not my income or monthly deficit and I am not asking for advice. 

The call is to action.

I bought my home, my mortgage is the same amount that I was paying in rent so I was pretty sure I could keep paying it monthly. The problem came 30 days after I moved in, the subdivision that I moved in to (brand new) contracted with off the wall utility companies who charge outrageous fees just to have the service, on top of actual usage. this is several hundred dollars more a month than anticipated. Nothing we can do about it, houses are forclosing all around me. I have not asked for the loan mod yet but am thinking about it. I pay all my bills on time but I am borrowing money from my ex-husband to make sure all is paid monthly, can’t go on like this much longer. I also sell my plasma every week to bring home food money since I make about $150 too much to get food stamps. Whatever it takes I will keep my house, don’t just honk if you see me hooking on 6th street LOL ;)

MERS information.  Brenda - I am not sure if one can do anything with MERS.  They are all so corrupt.  MERS employees and Cal Western Reconveyance switch from one company to the other when it is their best interest.  However, you can email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Here are the phone numbers:
Bill Hultman (direct line)703-761-1284
Corporate 319-334-4024
Toll free 800-646-6377
Fax 703-748-0183
Hope this helps.  When I spoke with Bill Hultman his answers were very evasive.

Forget main stream CNN doing an expose on HAMP; try a real news organization, Fox Business News.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Foreclosure Crisis

Foreclosure Crisis: Banks and Government Fail Homeowners

Banks and the government have fallen short in helping homeowners in danger of foreclosure.

The Story So Far

Systemic failures at the country’s banks and mortgage servicers have exacerbated the most severe foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, and government efforts to limit the damage have fallen short. ProPublica created an unrivaled database of homeowners who have faced foreclosure, opened a Facebook page to encourage homeowners to share their stories, wrote profiles of some of them, and incorporated their experiences into our reporting. We also provided a comprehensive rundown of the numbers behind the crisis.

More »

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