Journalism in the Public Interest

By the Numbers: A Revealing Look at the Mortgage Mod Meltdown

We compiled the most compelling data we could find to show how the mortgage industry and the government’s main effort, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), have failed homeowners.

For the past year, we've been digging into the administration's fumbling efforts. We've crunched a lot of numbers along the way, and now we're sharing what we found – including loads of previously unreported data.

Using new Treasury Department figures, previously unreleased documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, and new analyses of state and industry data, we have assembled the most detailed look yet at how the the mortgage industry and the government's main effort, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), have failed homeowners. It provides crucial context to the ongoing government investigation into mortgage servicing practices, which might lead to reforms of how banks and servicers handle homeowner requests for modifications.

Here's what we learned:


Only a fraction of struggling homeowners are getting help.

Total Pool of Delinquencies

Total Mods Each Month

(Source: LPS Applied Analytics and HOPE Now)

The number of modifications each month has remained dramatically lower than the number of homeowners behind on their mortgages.

Although Treasury Department officials and mortgage servicers claim the industry has gotten better at handling modifications, the average rate of modifications in the past two years is not significantly different than the rate before HAMP launched.

The data for the total number of modifications provided by mortgage servicers comes from HOPE Now, an industry-headed coalition.


Mortgage servicers are reaching only a small fraction of struggling homeowners.

Percent of deliquent homeowners in contact with servicers

(Source: State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group)

Ideally, servicers would be in contact with troubled borrowers, discussing possible alternatives to foreclosure. But servicers aren't doing that with most homeowners at risk of foreclosure-and they haven't improved much. Servicers generally have multiple alternatives to foreclosure, including modifications, short sales and deeds in lieu, all of which are generally better outcomes for both homeowners and investors.

“If you have names, addresses, and phone numbers for your customers, it seems like you ought to be able to do better than reaching one out of three,” said Mark Pearce, formerly North Carolina deputy commissioner of banks.

The data for the above graphic comes from the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group and covers 11 mortgage servicers that collectively handle about 35-40 percent of mortgages and a majority of subprime loans. The data show what percentage of homeowners who are more than two months behind are in discussions with their servicer about a possible foreclosure alternative.

The largest servicers, especially Bank of America, have left most struggling homeowners hanging without either modifying or foreclosing.
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%

Percent of seriously delinquent mortgages that have been...

Modified Unresolved Foreclosed

(Sources: Moody's, ProPublica analysis)

A homeowner's chance of getting a modification depends a lot on which company services the loan. In an analysis by Moody's, Bank of America fared worst of all, providing less than half as many modifications as Ocwen, which specializes in servicing troubled loans.

The above chart is based on an analysis we did of Moody's data on 300,000 subprime loans that had been more than three months behind in the last year or so. All had been packaged into mortgage-backed securities.

Moody's also reported that getting a modification takes several months at all of the servicers, though some were worse than others. The worst was JPMorgan Chase, where the average modification occurred 11 months after the borrower fell behind. At Ocwen, the fastest, it was seven months.

As you can see, the vast majority of subprime delinquencies at Bank of America, the nation's largest servicer, haven't been resolved either way. About 41 percent of Bank of America's loans in this analysis hadn't even begun the foreclosure process, despite an average delinquency of 13 months. Another 27 percent of homeowners were in foreclosure but hadn't yet lost their homes-the average delinquency there is two years.

HAMP hasn't led to an increase in modifications.

Non-HAMP Mods



HAMP Delays Mods

(Source: HOPE Now)

Though HAMP was designed to make it easier for homeowners to get modifications, most of the people who applied when the program was launched in April of 2009 waited months for an answer. The result was a steep decrease in overall modifications. As that backlog was addressed, modifications temporarily increased but then returned to their pre-HAMP levels. Just before HAMP launched, there were about 125,000 loan mods per month. Since the program launched, there have been on average 125,000 mods monthly, including HAMP mods.

Just over one in five homeowners who applied for a HAMP mod have received a permanent modification.


Number of Homeowners

(Source: Treasury Department, ProPublica analysis)

About 1.3 million homeowners who have applied for a HAMP mod were denied without being placed in a trial, a three-month period that is supposed to give homeowners a chance to show they can afford the new payments. Meanwhile, getting placed in a trial is just the beginning of a disappointing process for many homeowners: More than half of trials were canceled, most of the time despite the fact that the homeowner had made all of the payments. Trials have also frequently lasted far longer than the three months they are supposed to last. About six percent of those who'd applied were in a trial as of December.

The data, which covers through December, actually undercount the number of homeowners who have sought help, because it only includes loans where the servicer says it has responded to a homeowner's HAMP application - about 2.7 million homeowners. There are no records for the many people who have applied but, often after months, not heard back from their servicer.

Mortgage servicers, notorious for losing documents, cited missing documents in a quarter of rejections.


Percent of Rejections

(Source: Treasury Department, ProPublica analysis)

In total, two million homeowners have been rejected from HAMP as of December: 1.3 million were denied even a trial modification and about 700,000 more had their trials cancelled.

The most common reason servicers cite for denying a modification has been that the required documents are missing or incomplete. Almost a quarter of rejections were for this reason. This occurred against the backdrop of widespread reports of servicers' inability to reliably keep track of documents. That means that many of those 460,000 homeowners may have been wrongly denied because the servicer lost their documents.

Over 500 homeowners have told ProPublica via a questionnaire that the servicer lost their documents. At least 300 times, homeowners were told they hadn't supplied required documents that the servicer had never actually asked them for.

Note: HAMP defines an "affordable" monthly payment as 31 percent of the borrower's gross monthly income.

So, you've applied for a loan mod: What are your chances of getting it with your servicer?

The eight largest servicers: Here's what happened to applicants, as of December 2010:
No mod Waiting Got a mod
Denied Trial cancelled Currently in a trial mod Non-HAMP mod HAMP mod
American Home Mortgage Servicing 23% 2% 11% 37% 28%
Bank of America 29% 24% 8% 20% 19%
CitiMortgage 36% 18% 3% 24% 19%
GMAC Mortgage 53% 4% 2% 21% 19%
JPMorgan Chase subsidiaries 44% 9% 4% 29% 14%
Litton Loan Servicing 43% 10% 2% 33% 12%
OneWest 47% 10% 4% 17% 22%
Wells Fargo 31% 15% 5% 30% 20%

(Source: Treasury Department)

These are the breakdowns for the largest eight servicers.

Denied: You didn't get a HAMP mod. You may have lost your home to foreclosure, sold your home through a short sale, or you might simply be waiting for further action from your servicer, including a possible offer of the servicer's in-house modification.

In a trial mod: You're in the program's trial period, making payments to show you can afford your home with a HAMP mod. The trial is supposed to last three months but usually lasts longer. From here, you'll either end up with a HAMP mod or your trial will be canceled. If that happens, your servicer may still offer you a non-HAMP mod.

Trial canceled: You were denied a HAMP mod, either because your servicer decided you didn't meet the program's requirements or, less likely, because you didn't make the trial payments. You may have lost your home to foreclosure, sold your home through a short sale, or you might simply be waiting for further action from your servicer, including a possible offer of the servicer's in-house modification. Advocates say it's worse for a homeowner to be rejected after making months of trial payments than to be rejected up front.

Non-HAMP mod: Your servicer rejected you for a HAMP modification but has offered you an in-house modification. These mods generally are less affordable than HAMP mods.

HAMP mod: Your servicer offered you a HAMP mod.

Left in limbo: You might not fit into any of these categories, since servicers have struggled to process homeowner applications: Many homeowners, for example, go several months without getting any kind of response. As we've noted earlier, this data, provided by the Treasury, only includes loans where the servicer says it has responded to a homeowner's HAMP application. There are no records of how many people fall into that category.

Treasury claims servicers are improving, but its own data show otherwise.


Complaints as percent of calls to HOPE Hotline

(Source: HOPE Hotline)

Treasury officials-most recently, HAMP chief Phyllis Caldwell in congressional testimony in December-have cited the complaint data from a Treasury-sponsored hotline for homeowners to support their claim that servicers are getting better. Treasury officials generally point to decreases in certain narrow categories of complaints. But that obscures the general upward trend of complaints and sharp increases in the most common complaints, which are related to servicers wrongfully denying homeowners modifications.

Over the past year, Treasury Department data, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, indicate that homeowner complaints about mortgage servicers are increasing. Complaints are calculated as a percentage of total calls (excluding irrelevant calls like hang-ups and wrong numbers).

The Treasury Department's log of complaints is also almost certainly an undercount. Known as the HOPE Hotline, it has not been advertised to homeowners as a place to lodge complaints about their mortgage servicer. In fact, many homeowners don't know where to go to complain. When people do call, hotline operators do not solicit complaints but only record them if they are volunteered by the homeowner. Additionally, when a homeowner calls with multiple complaints (i.e., the servicer lost their documents and wrongfully denied them), only one is recorded. Logged complaints must fit into specific categories, and Treasury only added certain important ones in March of 2010, eight months after they began collecting the data.

A Treasury spokeswoman said that the increase in complaints was likely because there had been an increase in the number of homeowners denied modifications in 2010. According to program rules, homeowners are supposed to receive a denial notice that includes the hotline number. Many homeowners were denied after spending several months in prolonged trial modifications.

Overall, mods are more affordable, even including non-HAMP ones, though their terms are still less generous than HAMP.


Payments decreased 20% or more

Payments decreased less than 20%

Payments unchanged or increased

(Source: OCC and OTS Mortgage Metrics Report)

Before HAMP, most modifications left homeowners' monthly payments unchanged-or even increased them. HAMP mods have affordability guidelines, which, for those lucky enough to actually get one, generally lead to a sharp decrease in monthly payments. There's also evidence that HAMP has had a positive impact on the terms of modifications that servicers have offered outside the government program. Those non-HAMP mods, which outnumber HAMP mods, are now more likely to lower payments, but not as much as HAMP mods. According to recent government statistics:

  • HAMP mods last year decreased homeowner payments by an average of $585
  • non-HAMP mods reduced them by an average of $332

Instead of mods, servicers have recently been offering more repayment plans, which actually increase struggling homeowners' payments.

Repayment Plans

Total Mods

(Source: HOPE Now)

In a return to its pre-HAMP practices, the mortgage industry has increasingly been putting homeowners who fall behind into repayment plans instead of modifications.

In a repayment plan, the homeowner catches up on missed payments by paying a portion of the past due amount each month on top of their regular payments. This is typically done over three to six months and is a far more difficult option for struggling homeowners than a modification, because it imposes an additional burden. Modifications actually change the terms of the loan forever and typically lead to a reduction in monthly payments. Government statistics show that homeowners are twice as likely to re-default if the plan they're offered increases their mortgage payment than if their payments are significantly lowered.

“Repayment plans have always been what the industry has favored,” said Diane Thompson of the National Consumer Law Center, because it's easiest for the servicer. “Nobody takes a permanent hit, it's easy, quick, doesn't require new underwriting, doesn't require much thought.”

Before HAMP, most solutions offered to homeowners were repayment plans. That changed for most of 2010 due to HAMP's emphasis on mods as a solution, but now with new applications for HAMP winding down, servicers are returning to their preferred solution.

Most funds set aside to help homeowners are still unused.
$0 $30 billion



(Sources: Treasury Department, ProPublica)

The Treasury Department set aside more than $37 billion from the TARP for two programs meant to help struggling borrowers, but little more than $1 billion has been spent.

HAMP has used so little of its funds for a couple of reasons. It provides incentives for mortgage servicers, investors and homeowners only for completed modifications, but the program has achieved relatively few. Also, the incentives are paid out over five years for each loan. In a report in December, the Congressional Oversight Panel estimated the Treasury would ultimately spend only about $4 billion.

About $7 billion was set aside for the Hardest Hit Fund, which provides subsidies to states for various foreclosure prevention programs. That, too, has been slow to get off the ground. Only $104 million has been spent so far.

You can see all of this data, broken down by state and servicer, in our bailout database.

Well, I’m about to send off my first “trial payment”, and I’m wondering if anyone (maybe a lawyer?), here can answer this question:

HOW can they deny a permanent modification if this sentence (below) is in the wording of the trial plan documents that I received?

    “After all trial period payments are timely made and you have submitted all the required documents, your mortgage will be permanently modified.”

Also, right above that sentence is another one that says:

      “To qualify for a permanent modification, you must make the following trial period payments in a timely manner.”

So…if I make them in a “timely” manner…what can they come up with to deny me?  If I cross my t’s and dot my i’s etc., is it still totally on the whim of some unseen “decision maker” as to whether or not we actually get a permanent mod?

It’s very confusing—-so what else is new?  Basically I guess what the letter is saying is this:  ‘You are “eligible” for HAMP, that’s why we are giving you a “trial plan”.  BUT—-we can change our mind any time we want to, as to whether or not you QUALIFY for a permanent mod….so there—-ha ha—-you lose—-sucker!’


Sorry…can you tell I’m just a little fed up?

HAMP is a proven SCAM and a National Disgrace.  When are we going to have our CURRENT laws enforced ?

From NEVADA AG Catherine Masto:

The Complaint alleges that Bank of America is:
1) Misleading consumers by promising to act upon requests for mortgage modifications within a specific period of time;
2) Misleading consumers with false assurances that their homes would not be foreclosed while their requests for modifications were pending, but sending foreclosure notices, scheduling auction dates, and even selling consumers’ homes while they waited for decisions;
3) Misrepresenting to consumers that they must be in default on their mortgages to be eligible for modifications when, in fact, current borrowers are eligible for assistance;
4) Making false promises to consumers that their modifications would be made permanent if they successfully completed trial modification periods, but then failing to convert these modifications;
5) Misleading consumers with inaccurate and deceptive reasons for denying their requests for modifications;
6) Falsely notifying consumers or credit reporting agencies that consumers are in default when they are not;
7) Misleading consumers with offers of modifications on one set of terms, but then providing them with agreements on different sets of terms, or misrepresenting that consumers have been approved for modifications.

Because of Bank of America’s false promises, many Nevada consumers continued to make mortgage payments they could not afford, running through their savings, their retirement funds or their children’s education funds. Additionally, due to Bank of America’s misleading assurances, consumers deferred short-sales and passed on other attempts to mitigate their losses. And they waited anxiously, month after month, calling Bank of America and submitting their paperwork again and again, not knowing whether or when they would lose their homes. Whatever the consumers’ particular circumstances, they all suffered the stress and frustration of being misled by Bank of America while trying to take responsible action to modify their mortgages so they could continue to make their payments and remain in their homes.

“We are holding Bank of America accountable for misleading and deceiving consumers,” said Attorney General Masto. “Nevadans who were trying desperately to save their homes were unable to get truthful information in order to make critical life decisions.”

Bank of America’s misconduct in misrepresenting its mortgage modification program was confirmed in interviews with consumers, former employees and other third parties and through review of relevant documents. Former employees describe an environment in which Bank of America failed to staff its modification functions with employees who had the necessary training, skills and experience. According to employees, the modification process was chaotic, understaffed and not oriented to customers. Employees were even reprimanded for spending too much time with individual consumers.

“Consumers turn to their banking or lending institutions for answers when faced with a life changing decision such as saving their home,” said Attorney General Masto. “Bank of America’s callous disregard for providing timely, correct information to people in their time of need is truly egregious.”


YES, JA—-that is the “billion dollar” question——WHEN are we going to have our current laws enforced?

You can insert ANY BANK’S name where you say Bank of America…mine just happens to be IndyMac/One West…aka Deutsche Bank…aka CRIMINAL…

It is a river of tears the banks are creating in this country.  Homeowners need genuine help now, but what we’re getting is hyperbole and posturing. Then the banks do whatever they want with us. I feel like a flea inside the endless stomachs of a giant beast that doesn’t even know I’m there.

It was surreal at the recent Homeowners Retention Conference because the 200 or so troubled homeowners were sitting looking at a table of 8 speakers who all spoke of the things the government is doing to help us. Treasury, The IRS, HUD, Consumer Affairs and the Department of Corporations all told of their programs to help homeowners in distress. The local Congressman and Assemblyman were also there posturing to their constituents.

Behind us was a blue line of cops. (perhaps 12-16 in full uniform) I can only assume they were protecting the speakers from the homeowners. Then behind the cops were the bank representatives. WFHM, BofA and CHASE were there with computers and fax machines.

Oddly, the banks weren’t offering ANY of the programs the panel spoke of. Troubled homeowners were taken one by one to the reps. No person from the banks was over 25. A bunch of kids that never bought a home or signed a loan doc. were standing in judgment of us.

Karen - once you have paid your three trial payments, fax in updated paystub and bank statements. Then call the bank to make sure they got it. Ask when you will have your permanent mod. They will probably say “just keep paying the trial” or something like that. Even if you pay your fourth trial, I highly recommend you send a letter to the CEO at the bank (and cc it to everyone you can think of), demanding to know why you should pay more than three trial payments.

I know that is scary, but they will draw you out forever. I did this, quoted the regulations, and asked if they were actually putting ME at risk of negating the conditions of the trial by having me pay more months. I asked for the permanent mod now, and, if they were denying my mod, for them to tell me, SIGTARP, the OCC, and my senators in writing the reasons for the denial. I cc’d this letter to the hamp escalations team and got my mod.

This was after three denials and 16 months of absolute hell. This whole process is meant to drive us into the ground. What it is doing instead is making thousands upon thousands of people very angry.

I was turned down for a HAMP modification by Bank of America, because they cited that they were unable to reduce my mortgage to the 31%. They claimed that when they attempted to do so, that my mortgage came out to be more than what HUD would allow, stating that the ceiling was $86,000 and my reduction was more than that??? This is the first I have ever heard of this and nothing I’ve read states something like this..If $86,000 is the ceiling than only those homeowners who have a balance of approximately $250,000 would qualify for a HAMP modification???

This whole thing is is so unbelievable how hard the banks are making it for people to survive. It’s not like they are losing what is the problem? Do they get some sick sense of satisfaction to human suffering!! Once I get out of this mess, I am going to do everything in my power to get my mortgage from Bank of America. They are really too big and need to be broken down!!

Geanette - that is one of the strangest reasons I have heard for a HAMP turn-down. Do you have the energy to write the CEO of BofA a letter and send copies to your Senators, SIGTARP, the OCC regarding your need for an explanation of this reasoning?

I don’t understand what they mean by “ceiling.” Not at all. If you want, bring your question over to and someone there may have info for you.

Thanks, BarbaraC—-I will do that!

I already have an email for someone in the escalations team at One West Bank, and I just sent an email to him regarding this whole thing, and I said if I don’t get a satisfactory answer to these questions I will be sending letters/phone calls to CEO’S, OCC, senators, Attorneys General, etc., until I get satisfaction!

I’m not “scared” anymore—-just angry and determined to be a very “squeaky wheel” when it comes to my rights and the rights of all Americans!!!!


March 8, 2011, 5:53 p.m.

Karen, they can,  The don’t care, the trick is to push back, and save and document every payment you make also, right before you make your las payment start asking questions ask the bank if they are going to need anything else you need to know asap, let them know you have documented everything,  that you very well aware of the banks practices with the trial periods plans and you will not let them make you another victim of those kind of practices
All of this preferably in written
Good Luck !

Excellent work Paul and Olga.  I am sending this link to Issa, Jordan and all the others that want to cancel HAMP.  You have clearly demonstrated here that HAMP mods work when done correctly.  You have also shown the poor job by the servicer from connectivity, to processing to underwriting, lost docs, delays past guidelines, etc…

The servicers recent attempt at offering more re-payment plans and non HAMP mods indicates that a HAMP mod is better for the homeowner when given.

You demonstrated how the complaint process through Hope Now is unreliable.

Under “Percentage of Rejection” numbers - 71% could possibly qualify for a modification with only 5% could not afford a HAMP mod.

HAMP is not the problem or a scam to benefit the banks. As you can see from the numbers here it can clearly help people.

In my opinion, if we want our government to help the American people in anyway we need to fight to keep HAMP. If we let it be canceled you can see from the numbers what will be the alternatives offered to a struggling homeowner.

We need to get sole underwriting out of the hands of the servicers when ever possible. Most of the problems reflected in this article can be solved by that one action.

Please join the effort some of us here are working on. Go to the web site and start calling today.
You know the start than add


March 8, 2011, 6:07 p.m.

Geanette, The banks make the most stupid excuses in order not to give you the Mod, Once they told me that they could not approved a mod because they received the pay stubs upside down, are you kidding me?
After that i requested the reason for the denial in written, I push back and i contact everybody i could think of AG, Congressman, Senator, OCC, Thrift,  HAMP, escalation team, Treasurer Dept, Fannie, Freddie, etc,
I got the mod approved

Be careful Karen. I too had IndyMac. Thought everything was on track for a modification, until they offered us a re-payment plan. Than suddenly the house is auctioned with out notice and a real estate lady shows up and tells you 10 days to get out!!! Get this, we owed 447,000, the bank bought the house from Duetcsh for 262,000 and now its on the market for 259,000. We were never even given a chance to qualify for any kind of reduction in the original mortgage amount. We bought the house for 280,00 15 years ago and have never been late on a payment. Due to my husband now being on SSD our income didn’t qualify us for the 447, but it sure did without any trouble the 262,000. or less.

Brandon cohen

March 8, 2011, 9:36 p.m.

I have one west also.they cancelled my permanent mod. Because of a math error it’s been 2 years and they finally figured it out!!!!  now I am getting foreclosure notices of default. I am scared.

I suffered a brain injury when I fell in the Army back in 2003, I was discharged in 2004. During 2005 I was bringing home about net $600
per month from SSDI and OPM disability,
$400 in Med insurance and $98 in Medicare.
They did not want to pay ( Army problem ).
as I waited for my V.A. claims. Lenders were calling every day, and
so Crestline Funding
was able to get me a loan for $150,000 and 6 months later for another
$150,000 for a total of $300,000.
The actual money was a lot less due to fees.
My payment was a only $900 per month to start but after a couple of years of living on the money and paying
medical bills. The V.A. was charging me for treatment and the
Feds were garnishing my SSDI. I gradually ran out of money after a
few years. The payment went up to $1400 per month and they had
added $20,000 to my loan, then $320,000. The V.A denied my claim
then 18 months later approved it. I Applied to Bank of America for
a Loan Mod about 3 years ago, I went into Foreclosure in Sept of
2007. I have not made a payment in 39 months. Bank of America
has called me over 200 times. to ask me what my intentions are.
I have submitted the application and paperwork at least 10 times.
Once they Fed-Exéd me aprox 10 application packets at once with
the same form. I have the money, to reinstate my loan, but they
will not tell me how much, I owe. The Bank of America collection
agents will not collect, even when I say I will pay.
I have a new foreclosure sale, month after month. They cancel
the day before. When B of A calls, they say they are recording the
conversation, but when I say I am recording, ( I am not ), they
hang up. In December 2010 they told be by phone, I qualified for
the HAMP mod, Then by letter in late January they declined it.
They called me yesterday and today and asked me again what
my intentions are, I said, I would pay, How much? The customer
rep, could not answer. So I have to fax them asking for a
re-application for HAMP. Funny I qualified for the Crestline Funding
loan on $600 net, but now we make10 times that amount and
I do not qualify. My loan is now over $400,000 in a little over 5 years.
I tried to catch up 3 years ago, but they would not take my monthly
payments, saying I had to pay the full amount of arrears. They say
the same today. I blame the FEDS for not taking care of me when
I injured my brain in the Army and the long process to get my benefits
and the California National Guard for not providing for me after my injury. ( I am still fighting them ). The Guard back-dated my discharge
10 months, like I never returned from the Active Army, so they would
not have to pay me Injury Comp Pay and last but not least, My
Congressman Darrell Issa, Whose Office, after many emails, personal visits letters, Since 2003 did not help me at all. But they argued with me and told me to quit bothering them. If his staff would have helped
me in the beginning, I would not be in this problem.
Thanks for letting me vent, from the nightmare B of A is causing.
But in the end it was my fault.

a lot.

maria Ortiz Martinez

March 8, 2011, 10:30 p.m.

My bank is Central Mortgage . I have a councelor from the Community organization Lucha in Chicago.
My councelor is overwhelm with people trying to modify. I have been tring since August. Central Mortgage has been giving me the runaround since.
The loan owner is Freddie Mac. I gave Central Mortgage all the documents. The same documents over and over.  I have a tenant I supplied them with the rental agreement and a gas bill that they demanded. They even had me get a pay stub from my tenant.They are not supposed to ask me for that. Then they ask me for a personal bill from my tenant. They said not another utility bill. They told me that a utility bill does not proof residency. My councelor filed a complaint about 3 weeks ago. No answer yet. Central mortgage cancelled my modification because I did not provide them with a personal bill from my tenant. My tenant refused and that is not in the guidelines.Now my home is in foreclosure.I had only missed two payments . When they canceled my modification they also refused my mortgage payment because they do not accept partial payments. That is why so many are loosing their homes. I have many friends mostly with Chase that are loosing their homes. The Banks are not dealing in good faith. They do not care… They do not loose any money. They make a profit regardless to what happens to the mortgage. They write it off as a s lost. Check on how many loans they have written off.
Central Mortgage 801 John Barrow Little Rock Ark.
I give up. I am now selling my wedding ring, my children are selling some of their own items to help me catch up.
Maria Ortiz Martinez Chicago Ill

Gary P. your story is awful. Have you contacted the local media in CA to tell your story.  The spin you have to put on it from the start is how Issa is your congressman and would not help you with your VA issue and now your mod issue from the start but yet Congressman Issa wants to cancel HAMP so thousands of other family will lose their home.  Make sure when you are speaking with the media you make a clear connection about his lack of help and canceling HAMP.

Connie - you have to contact the FDIC, they have jurisdiction over Indy. Braandon - the same thing for One West Bank

Maria - you have a Freddie Mac loan the servicer has to evaluate you for HAMP You do not have to get that info from your tenant - it is not part of HAMP.  You just have to demonstrate the income in your checking account.  Contact Freddie Mac directly for escalation.

Geanette - They are telling you they need a $86k principle reduction to get you to 31% front-end debt to income ratio on a $250k loan?  Call them and say: please walk me through this, you say my principle, Interest, Taxes and insurance is what? Ok my gross monthly income is $___.  What happens if you lower my rate to 2%, where am I on my front end DTI - am I at 31% yet?  No - ok what happens if you extend my term to 40 years where does that get me? See what number that gets you.  If you are still over 31% front end DTI ask - How much do you have to reduce or forebear my UPB.  Let them tell you you need an additional $86K.  I do not know your situation but it would seem to me that you had a major reduction in income.  If that is not the case than ask for escalation.

My point is folks each of these cases sited are not HAMP guidelines. The numbers in this article show that only 5% of the people did not qualify under HAMP due to income - the rest is BS.

We have to fight for HAMP, we have to fight for a neutral third party review. - Maria you said you have a counselor that can not handle the requests for help. That counselor should have everyone of their clients and the people she does not have time to help to join our SAVE..OUR…HOMES effort. I do not mean to pick you out Maria but everyone should reach out to others they know that are in trouble. 

We have had over 1,000 people visit the blog so far - how many are making the calls as laid out in the strategy - I do not know to the effort need to continue, tonight, tomorrow and Thursday.  If the person that answers on the Republican side says HAMP is hurting people - say NO Congress inability to force Treasury to implement HAMP properly is hurting millions of Americans - FIX the DAM THING.

Sorry for the soapbox but I do not think everyone realize that this situation will only get worst if HAMP is ended - and that signal can be sent this week if it gets out of Committee…..

I know it stinks. The stories, they all tug at your heart. But one simple fact exists in every case. You signed saying you would pay back the loan. It didn’t say “pay back unless (job loss, underwater, divorce, medical, etc).

I lost my job, my income went down. I did what I needed to do, made the tough choice and moved on. I didn’t blame others, or cry for someone else to help.


If I may Scott - three quick points.

It is and has always been standard business practice to renegotiate a business arrangement if it is no longer in one parties interest to continue that arrangement.  What happens is that both parties come to an arrangement that is equitable for both.  In an overwhelming majority of this situation it is better financially for the Investor to renegotiate the terms of the agreement.  The problem here is; it is not the investor doing the renegotiation but the servicer who has a profit motivate to drag out the process.  And why is it ok for business and not for individuals to renegotiate?

The second reason is a National foreclosure effort (HAMP) was designed to stabilize real estate values for the 6 out of 7 people that are still able to pay their mortgage.  This effort is in the Nations best interest short and long term to save the economy. We have already lost $5 trillion in equity in residential real estate alone.  This is the money that has spurred the economy for the past 50 years.  We will never get out of this mess as a nation if we do not handle the foreclosure crisis quickly.

On the third point - I think others will address those points.

@Scott- Seriously, I don’t believe you are aware of all that is involved here. Not only has the banks previous actions caused people to be in the position they are in today, but their present actions are making things much worse. Not to mention some of the things they have done are illegal (as in felonies).
IF THEY HAD OF HELD A GUN TO OUR HEAD it wouldn’t have been much of a difference. I’m sure you are one hell of a man and maybe losing your money and home was something you could accept. Not me!
As for the crying…only crying I’ve heard has been the children of families I have helped relocate. Those cries haunt me. Maybe something else you can accept. Not me.
May I suggest that if you are not going to be of any positive help (as it seems you have already given up, been bent over without even so much of a reach around) that you would PLEASE excuse your banker troll commenting self and disappear. Please…before you cause me to cry and maybe put a gun to my head!

Scott, you did not say you sold your house.  Therefore, more than likely you walked away and “moved on.”  But either before or after you did,  they foreclosed and you were probably relieved!!  Good for you, you really “showed them, didn’t you?  Well, the problem for most people here is that many of them had their homes for a number of years;  are definitely not sub-prime mortgagors and none of them knew that:

A very small number of people used the world as a casino, made a fortune investing in MBS (on mortgages like yours), packaging and selling them.  Then, they turned around betting that mortgagors like you, would default and move on, but insured the bets with AIG.  These investors did not pay taxes on those billions earned because they are this nation’s capitalists and they do not have to.  And that is OK because this is an unregulated capitalist society.  Now then - when the Scotts of this country of ours defaulted, these capitalists decided that socialism was not just OK, it was essential; and therefore, those of us who DO pay taxes had to have our tax money go to AIG’s billfold (they had also been heavily become creative in designing MBS and CDO investment strategies and the like) to pay the gamblers, though we had no say on it.  In other words, to design a system to siphon the well of a very rich nation and not pay taxes is capitalism.  To lose it all in a deviously corrupted operation and have a socialist method to reimburse them is all creative and therefore, all those creative minds got never before seen bonus compensation.

And so the people who post here lost their jobs, income, savings or a combination of all.  Some had a member of the family become ill and refinanced their home to pay hospital and emergency bills.  But for them, there was no negotiation though they were offered a just very corrupt, faulty and fraudulently implemented modification program.  That is the difference.

What all the mystry?

Clearly this was a fox watching the hen house play from the door.

The poor folks that went for the “trial mod” are the biggest fools. They were conned once and they should have seen the handwriting on the wall when these same criminals came back with the “second offer”.

The Bansters figured correctly that the less money these poor people have in their hands, the less chance they have to hire a good lawyer.

ProPublica-get a little Publica in your articles.

Current laws = make your mortgage payment or lose your home.  When is that going to be enforced??!!!  Protracting the issue by allowing borrowers to stay in a home they cannot afford, that they couldnt afford when they took trhe mortgage out, is hurting the housing market.  FC and get the pain over with already!!







CURRENT LAWS, MY A**!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Karen - borrowers signed a legally binding contract - no one put a gun to their heads.  Moral hazard is destroying the country I love - it’s a real shame.  People need to grow up and be responsible adults and take RESPONSIBILITY for their OWN actions.

Borrowers that LIED on their mortgage applications to live in a house they couldnt afford MANIPULATED the sytem Karen.  Are you telling me borrowers shouldn’t be blamed it any of this????  GET REAL!

It is very sad and tragic when people lose their income and can’t make mortgage payments. Lenders hate to take a house back and sell it because it’s a guaranteed loss in this real estate market. But they hate even more having to let someone stay in the house for over a year while they make no payments and fight them with lawyers. The Federal government already provides a huge insurance plan on defaulting borrowers through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD and the VA. Investors who lend money to home buyers through those agencies are made whole on a defaulted loan by the Federal Government.

For borrowers to go on and demand that all delinquent borrowers get free loan payment reductions, loan balance reductions and other concessions because they can’t afford their situation or don’t want to realize a loss on a declining real estate investment seems tough for everyone else to get behind. There’s no doubt that servicers are bad at executing these loan mod programs. Clearly they are not putting their best effort into a program which makes them no profits, lowers the value of an investment on their (or their investor’s) balance sheet, and has a very high probability of failing in the future, when the foreclosed home’s value will be even lower. At best they will do just enough not to get fined by the regulators or have laws written to take away future profits.

At the end of the day a borrower shouldn’t expect a lender to start giving them free money because the they can’t or won’t pay back the loan. It’s just not a good lending practice. Everyone seems to have lost sight of the fact that taking out a loan doesn’t equal home ownership. While it seems like good policy to keep everyone in their home, the reality is that it’s not a sustainable situation when those people can’t afford the payments.

Interest rates are at all time lows. During the subprime boom, they were low and you didn’t need a down payment. If you can’t afford to make payments under those terms, you shouldn’t be in a mortgage. The rates will only go higher and down payment requirements will only get more stringent.

So yes - it’s very sad to hear about HAMP eligible people not getting good treatment, and trial mod participants getting denied because of lost documents. Tragic when good people through no fault of their own can’t make the payments. But the reason mortgages are so affordable is that the bank has valuable, liquid collateral in the case of default.

These voluntary programs are meant to help someone above and beyond the contractual obligation of the loan. If every loan priced in the probability of granting payment assistance, balance reductions and a 24 month foreclosure cycle, we’d all have to pay 15% interest on our mortgages.

The majority of us who are current on our mortgages would not like that to happen. Those in default should be excited that there are programs available to them and be sure to publicize when the banks are misstating the facts. But they lose credibility when they demand more than what’s already been given.



Go watch the movie “Inside Job”.

Motives are everything…why don’t you check yours?

Karen - first, you have committed one of the major mistakes of rational argument:  you have argued ad hominem and not ad rem.  Argue the point at hand and not against your opponent.  Why would you insult someone you don’t even know just becuase they take a position contrary to your own?  Sounds like you, my dear, are the one that ought to leave the country, because that certainly is not consistent with the values upon which our country was founded.  Now to the merits of the argument:  there was likely fault on both sides, but a contract is a contract, and no one forced every single person to sign their mortgage.  Greed (big surprise) took over.  Now, those of us who are responsible, who have budgets, who pay our bills on time, etc. have to pay for and subsidize the greedy and irresponsible among us.  You can say what you want, but greed and irresponsibility are never justifiable.  Were some folks on Wall Street greedy?  Sure.  But they didn’t sign the mortgage contracts…

joe - well said.

Karen - sorry you didnt qualify for a loan mod but you need to grow up and take responsibility for your actions.  I’m proud to say that I’m current on my mortgage and havent looked to the government for a hand-out.  If I wanted to live in a Socialist country I’d move to France!!

Banks, rating agencies, appraisers, BORROWERS all had a hand in this - we cant throw everyone in jail…

Thought about just not responding but you guys must be educated about this mess, which would not have happened if Wall Street had not jacked up housing prices, had not made false promises to buyers, had not created the MERS debacle, and had not been as seriously manipulative and cruel in their treatment of homeowners who were only trying to take advantage of the loan modification program offered by the government.

Sure there are people who would have been foreclosed on anyway. Sure there are people who are manipulating the system. But that happens everywhere. Not excusing it. It just does.

Here’s the scenario:
-Joe and his family buy a home in 2006 for $300,000.-
-This home had sold four years earlier for $180,000. Other than better landscaping, no improvements had been made.
-Joe puts 10% down. (yes, less than the 20% traditional downpayment, but still a chunk of change).
-Joe is given an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). He’s a first time homebuyer, and believes the bankster who assures him he can refinance in two years before the loan adjusts.
-Then the market crash. Joe’s wife loses her job. The ARM adjusts up.
-The house loses value. Now it is worth $250,000 and falling.
-Joe can’t refinance because he owes more than the home is worth.
-Joe can’t short sale because the bank won’t agree to a short sale.
-Joe hears about the HAMP program and contacts the bank.-
He works with the bank for 7 months (nightmare) and finally gets a temporary modification
-He pays 6 temporary payments, then the bank says that the foreclosure process is finished, he is not eliglble for a permanent mod, and the house will be sold.
-Joe is dumbfounded. Joe is angry. Joe is really angry. Wouldn’t you be?

Barbara - I’d be angry too if I made a bad investment.  I actually have made bad investments but never once blamed others for my actions or looked to the government for a handout. 

Oh, and Joe wasn’t “given” and ARM loan - he signed up for it.

Again, moral hazard destroying this country from the inside out - it a real shame.


March 9, 2011, 11:19 a.m.

Wow…finally some people on here who are saying something intelligent.  Guess what…when you borrow money (it appears that most people on this post do not know the definition of borrowing)...let me put it in laymens terms…it means you have to pay it back!  The mortgage issues we currently face have nothing to do with a Ponzi scheme as this person above is implying in capital letters.  The banks lent out too much money to people who could not pay it back.  If you cannot pay the money back (your mortgage payment)...they take back the collateral (in this case the house) that was the basis of the loan.  The banks have lost billions, because in many cases, borrowers have lived in homes that they could not afford while someone else pays for it. Guess what…you may not know it…but most taxpayers (likely you) and the “evil banks” are paying for millions of people who made bad investments (those who bought homes they could not afford).

I get it.

You guys don’t care, and you’re lumping everyone together.

But you still haven’t told me why the executives that used mortgages as gambling chips (illegally) are allowed to make even more money (bailout, bonuses, etc.), and never, ever go to jail?


March 9, 2011, 11:37 a.m.

Barbara…is Joe really a code name for you?  Sounds like Joe made a bad investment.  Arm loans are risky…note that the rate changes…and that means that it will likely go up…which means your payment will go up.  Anyone who signs a contract to borrow $300,000 should know that.  If they don’t…they should not sign a $300,000 contract.  Would you tell your friend or your child to sign something (a mortgage loan) with so much risk without understanding what they were signing up for?  I hope not.  In this day and age there is so much information out there about loan types and mortgage that I find it ludicrous and irresponsible that people are claiming ignorance and that they were taken advantage of.  The contracts state all the stipulations that you are agreeing to.  Guess what…I could have gotten a mortgage on a house double the size of my current house…and have gotten an ARM loan…but I did not.  Why?  Because I know that houses prices do actually go up….and down.  Just because someone would have lent me the money for a much more expensive home…does it mean they took advantage of me?  Should I be angry that they were going to lend me the money?  Should I be angry that they would have expected me to pay it back regardless of what the value of my home was at some point in the future?  I think you and many other people are getting caught up with all the propaganda on TV about “Evil Wall Street”.  Plain and simple…all people who take out a mortgage are taking a gamble…most think the value of their home will go up and they will be able to make the payments.  Many people took that gamble at the peak of the housing market…and shockingly to some…housing prices do actually go down at different points in time.  Simple premise…you borrow money…you are supposed to pay it back.

FYI tiredofexcuses:

It’s not “propaganda”.

Educate yourself. 


Karen - there you go again attacking the person and not the issue.  Your points become SO much weaker when you do that.  Of course you must realize there are two sides to every coin.  You have your views, and others have theirs.  Objectively speaking, you appear to be advocating a position where contracts are meaningless and obligations may be disregarded.  I am not sure what you were taught as a child, but most of us Americans were taught - among other things - that when you borrow something, you give it back.  We were also taught that you keep your word.  Our children today - thanks to all of this irresponsibility - are being taught that it is sometimes ok not to repay; and it is sometimes ok not to keep your promise; oh, and perhaps what is most disgusting - that Uncle Sam will be there to help in these cases, at the expense of responsible citizens.

Putting the cases of true fraud aside, the masses of greedy and irresponsible Americans who had to have the BMW and the big luxury house ought to now pay for their own mess.  And I truly hope their credit is scarred for a long time.  Blaming the bank who extended the credit is merely a cop out.  And forcing those of us who are responsible to pay for it all is a disgrace.  Ask yourself this:  would our Founding Fathers have run the government in the same manner in this case?  There were banks back then and extensions of credit.  The difference was that people had a different attitude back then.  It really all can be summed up in one word:  Accountability.

Lesson1: if you take out a LOAN you need to pay it back.


Joe should have taken a look at property price appreciation (driven by willing buyers and sellers - banks don’t buy properties) and thoughtfully said “Hmmm, it seems unlikely this price will continue to go up forever. It’s taking two wage earners per household just to barely make today’s mortgage payments. Should I assume that is sustainable as long as I own this house? Or should I not buy a house that drains all my cash and leaves me perilously close to bankruptcy if the unexpected happens?”

Joe should have done his own homework on an ARM and believed the multiple disclosures he signed informing him that variable rates may go up instead of the employee who stood to make a profit from the loan. By the way - rates are _down_ now.

Joe should also not view his house as a source of income or investment return. If his goal was a long term shelter, he should have taken the 30 year loan option. If he was a speculative investor, he should take his losses like everyone else.

Now Joe’s mad that HAMP didn’t work as advertised. Was Joe under the impression that a government designed national loan modification program, rolled out in a matter of months and affecting hundreds of independent lenders, thousands of employees and hundreds of thousands of borrowers would be as easy to work with as applying for a mortgage?

In the end I think he got to live in a house for 7 months with no payments, and 6 months at reduced payments. I don’t feel like Joe should be very mad. Joe should have been packing his things and apartment hunting when Joe realized his wife lost his job, they couldn’t afford their house, and were about to default on a mortgage.


March 9, 2011, 12:12 p.m.

Gary P, You have certain foreclosure rights under a VA loan, Make sure you get well inform on that
Connie, Braandone, Steve is right, contact the FDIC, they do have jurisdiction over Indymac and One West Bank
Maria,  contact Freddie Ma, directly, send them a copy of your application, whole package and write a cover letter with your situation, let the bank know that you you sending the package with the cover letter to Freddie, send copy of cover letter to the bank and write CC: Fredie on it
Steve excellent tips on Geanette,
Good luck to everyone

Still, no one has answered my question:

Why haven’t any of these executives that illegally manipulated mortgage-backed securities, etc., (which caused the biggest economic breakdown since the Great Depression and millions of people to lose their jobs) gone to jail? Why?

And why is the American public obliged to follow the laws of the land, but not Wall Street, Banks, certain investors, etc.? 

Please watch the movie “Inside Job”.

It’s not fiction.  It’s a documentary.  It won the Oscar.

Everyone who is commenting here with absolutely no sympathy for people just trying to shelter their children must have money in the bank and they are chomping at the bit to get their hands on all of the foreclosures…

It’s the American way, right?

Karen - are you even reading these posts or are you just so blinded by rage???

I answered your question a while back and I am still waiting for your response:

“Banks, rating agencies, appraisers, BORROWERS all had a hand in this - we cant throw everyone in jail… ”


March 9, 2011, 12:28 p.m.

Scott Brown, Your logic is the same as blaming passengers of a discount airline for their deaths if it turn out the plane has been flown by monkeys. Shouldn’t they have known they should pay more?
Banksters did almost anything to entreat consumers to borrow far beyond their means, reassuring them in a booming economy thy’d be suckers not to buy buy buy.
One more important fact, The banksters would be begging consumers right now to stay in their home, they would be extremely willing to renegotiate the debt, and super willing that borrowers apply for HAMP, If the AIG bail out did not happened, because with the AIG bail out the banksters have their money insured against foreclosure, that is why they don’t care to negotiate, they can foreclose and collect that AIG (bail out) insurance

Karen - should the borrowers who lied on their mortgage applications - that they made more than they really did; or that they read and understood the ARM disclosures and promised to pay notwithstanding a possible later increase int their payment, for example - go to jail too?  I am very curious to hear your view on that.

I love you, John…have a nice day!



I have Bank Of America. After 10 months of hell, I finally got a trial mod. However, I am not holding my breath because I keep up with the news regarding mods and do know that most trials are not made permanent. I made my first trial payment March 1.

I believe I received a trial because I was on their a**es all the time. I filed a complaint with the OCC. I purposely went 60 days behind even though I didn’t have to, I called everyone I could and eventually got transferred to the Office of the President. Funny how it moved along quite fast once I went 60 days behind. Even though the Hamp regs state you do NOT have to be behind to qualify.

If I do not get approved for a permanent mod we will lose our home. My husband is an employee for the state of Nevada and also works a second job. His pay has been cut numerous times with the state as Nevada is the worst off in the nation. We were just fine when we bought this home, not so much anymore. The mod trial has lowered our payments over $600 a month and if we get to keep that way, we can keep our head above water, barely.

For the record, “Joe” is not a code name for me.

However, I have been in this fight myself (successfully got a mod which didn’t reduce the AMOUNT I owe, just the interest rate). I have been fighting ever since for others.

It would be great if everyone understood all the ins and outs of the mortgage process. But quite frankly we don’t.

All I can say for you who continue to judge other homeowners is that you had better check your own chain of title if you think you own a home. See what is recorded at your County recorders office. Then try to figure out who owns your loan now. Then see if their is a clear chain of legal recordation/assignment between the time of purchase and now. If there isn’t, and for alot of you that will be the case, you have a “clouded title,” especially if MERS is in the mix.

Now you are so smart I know you will understand what that could mean for you if you try to sell your home.

But then again you are so smart you probably already knew that you might have a clouded title when you bought your home, So that means that any title issues are your fault because you signed for the mortgage.


Karen - I would love to meet you some day - take care and good luck!

J :)

Wow! You guys are really amusing. I get the impression the majority of the “holier than thou” characters are republicans in the far right. Regardless what anyone says, Barbara do whats right for you. After all you came here for help not judgement

I have ProPublica to thank for allowing me to tell my story in a way that gave me the media leverage I needed to save my home.

The banks are not being upfront about the process, it is designed to get them the most money possible. I had not missed a payment when we tried to negotiate with the bank to allow us to miss a payment. Which is a reasonable request, forebearance is a commonly used loan option. We figured we would have to pay it back, tacked on to the back of the loan, we just needed a bit of breathing room until my paychecks caught up with our bills. We did not want anything for free.

The bank offered a “pre-approved modification” so we went with it. Six months later we had sent in our paperwork two times, had not gotten anyhting from the bank in regards to our modification and they were sending us foreclosure notices that the bank told us to disregard, all the while paying the full amount of their modified terms. When finally they had us in debt and in foreclosure they got around to denying the “pre-approved” modification.

I was so scared and mad I turned to this site to at least have someone hear what we had to say. We have been modified, but it took a media giant, the VP at our servicer and the involvement of lawyers and a senator to make sure it happened.

If the bank had said “we can get you started on this process but by no fault of your own you will be foreclosed upon and live in fear for the next 15 months putting your health and family at risk” you can bet we would have continued to borrow money from my family and made it work rather than be at the bank’s mercy. The process is convoluted and secretive and is putting undue stress on the people who are being told it will work for them. I will never trust a bank to do what they say they will and I will be forever grateful to ProPublica for being a vehicle for the truth.

Victor - not “holier than thou” but lets call a spade a spade - a lot of people had a hand in this mess and some of these posts are complete nonsense - lack of accountability/moral hazard/sense of entitlement - blame others but never yourself.

Connie - when our founding fathers signed our constitution, it meant something.  What did your signature mean when you signed your loan application and mortgage docs?  I guess a bank should never trust you again and never provide you with any financing ever again.

(couldn’t resist)

FYI “Falcs” person:

I have never owned a BMW in my life…I have an old Saturn in the driveway, and a 1953 1,292 square foot house.  I have 2 young children, and a husband who lost his job when the economy went bad…and I don’t have to tell you how difficult it is to find work in this economic atmosphere…I’m sure you know.  We have been doing everything humanly possible to get an income and keep our children sheltered.
Our credit is ruined (so we can’t get into an apartment), because the bank told me in order to qualify for a loan mod I need to be late on my payments…was I wrong to believe them?  Who CAN we believe?

Well, believe it or not, this is the situation of untold hundreds of thousands (maybe millions), of people in the good ‘ol USA.

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.

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