Journalism in the Public Interest

Despite Praise From Banks, Treasury, In-House Loan Mods Provide Less Help to Homeowners

Banks’ own modifications typically reduce monthly payments by half as much as those made in the government program, making homeowners twice as likely to fall behind again after a modification.


Nancy Gordon, inset, failed to qualify for a government loan modification for her San Diego home and instead was offered a bank modification that increased her monthly payment by $50. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Gordon)

Nov. 5: This post has been corrected.

When San Diego homeowner Nancy Gordon finally received a letter from JPMorgan Chase Bank offering to modify her mortgage, she thought there must have been a typo. The letter said her monthly payment would jump $50 -- not exactly the help she needed. Chase said she did not qualify for a government-sponsored modification that would have lowered her payments by $600. Instead, Chase's own proprietary modification was the best offer. It was no typo.

The government's foreclosure relief program has resulted in few permanent modifications, but the Treasury Department says it has at least spurred banks to do their own loan adjustments. The government program has "transformed the way the mortgage servicing industry treats borrowers in distress," Phyllis Caldwell, a Treasury official, said in congressional testimony last week. The banks' in-house modifications have come to outnumber the government modifications by four to one.

But like Gordon, homeowners across the country are finding that the help banks offer outside of the government program is a small consolation prize.

How Are the Mortgages Modified?

Type of Modification % of Gov't Mods % of Bank Mods
Added past-due interest and other fees to the principal 98% 87%
Reduced the interest rate 93% 80%
Froze the interest rate 1% 4%
Extended the term of the loan 48% 48%
Reduced the principal 1% 4%
Deferred some principal to repay later 21% 3%

Note: Mortgages can be modified using more than one type of modification. Source: Analysis of Mortgage Metrics data from fourth quarter of 2009 through second quarter of 2010

A ProPublica analysis of regulators' data shows that, compared to modifications in the government program, banks' own modifications are less likely to reduce interest rates, less likely to defer principal and more likely to actually increase monthly payments. Homeowners frequently fear that the bank modifications may not provide enough help to prevent foreclosure, yet they feel like they have few other options.

The government pays banks incentives for modifications done via its program and has standards to make the adjustments more affordable for homeowners. But no such guidelines exist for modifications banks do on their own. Forty percent of homeowners rejected for the government program get proprietary modifications from their mortgage servicer, according to Treasury Department data.

To be sure, proprietary modifications have improved since the administration launched its program in the spring of 2009. Before that, more than half of proprietary modifications did not reduce monthly payments.

Experts say lowering monthly payments is essential for preventing homeowners from falling behind on their modified loans. And the banks' own modifications are still much worse on that front than government-sponsored modifications: Proprietary modifications typically reduce monthly payments by half as much as those made in the government program -- $300 as opposed to $600, on average -- making homeowners twice as likely to fall behind within six months of a modification, according to the only quarter where data is available to compare the two.

Take the case of Joseph James, a homeowner north of Los Angeles who wanted a modification when his income as an automotive consultant fell sharply and he faced increased expenses as the custodial parent of an autistic son. For 13 months, James paid Bank of America $1,000 as trial payments for a government modification, less than half of what he was paying before. In March, the bank sent him a letter approving his permanent government modification but never sent the final paperwork. Eventually the bank told James that his only option was a proprietary modification that was $600 a month higher than a government modification.

Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens said the approval letter was an "error," and the bank is reevaluating his proprietary modification to see if it can offer James a more affordable payment.

How Much Are the Mortgages Modified?

Change in Monthly Payment % of Gov't Mods % of Bank Mods
Reduced by 20 percent or more 79% 38%
Reduced between 10 and 20 percent 12% 21%
Reduced by less than 10 percent 8% 22%
Stayed the same 1% 4%
Increased 0% 15%

Source: Analysis of Mortgage Metrics data from fourth quarter of 2009 through second quarter of 2010

ProPublica's analysis found that almost 80 percent of the government modifications reduced monthly payments by more than 20 percent, whereas fewer than 40 percent of proprietary modifications made such reductions. Fifteen percent of proprietary modifications actually increase the monthly payments, typically because the modifications added past-due interest and other fees to the loan's principal.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Teri Schrettenbrunner said the difference between its proprietary and government modifications is justified. "The only people who don't end up getting payment reductions are people who quite frankly don't need them or that we can't do a mod for at the end of the day that matches with what investor expectations are," she told ProPublica.

Homeowners tell ProPublica that they feel backed into a corner with few options aside from taking an in-house modification, even if it doesn't make financial sense. As ProPublica has reported, the government program can leave homeowners worse off if they're ultimately rejected. That's because homeowners make monthly trial payments and then, if they're booted from the program, often find their banks slap them with a bill to pay back the money they saved during the trial. Banks frequently give homeowners just one way to avoid immediately paying up: Take one of their proprietary modifications.

Connecticut homeowner Connie Breault, for example, said she was current on her loan before Chase told her she needed to miss a payment to qualify for a modification. After more than a year of making trial payments, Breault was denied a government modification and suddenly owed $13,000 to cover the difference between her full mortgage and the reduced payments she had made during the trial. The modification Chase offered Breault would end up costing an extra $40,000 over the life of her loan and only trimmed $100 off her monthly payment. The bank's modification barely dropped her interest rate down to 7.648 percent and added a $165,000 balloon payment at the end of her loan.

When Breault questioned the modification, especially its large balloon payment, she says an employee in Chase's executive office -- echoing the housing bubble's logic -- told her, "Why don't you just accept what we offered you, and you can refinance in a few years?"

Breault declined the modification offer and is working with an attorney to consider what options she may have. Chase did not respond to ProPublica's request to comment on the matter.

James, the homeowner near Los Angeles, says he took the modification because he felt he was put in a "take it or leave it situation," and he couldn't risk a foreclosure that would force him and his autistic son to move away from a local special-needs school. But he says the bank's modification is still not "affordable," and he fears redefaulting on the loan.

James is still holding out hope that Bank of America will make good on the letter in which they approved him for a government modification. He's been raising such a fuss, including contacting the special inspector general for the bailout, that he said the bank recently promised to honor the initial letter. "I have hopes that somewhere down the line I can get what I was told I would be getting," he said -- a government modification.

Correction: This post incorrectly stated that homeowner Connie Breault had filed for bankruptcy. Breault has considered bankruptcy but has not filed.

Informative article.  My husband and I tried to refinance via FHA loan through Bank of America and after a few months of gathering papers, appointments, and an audit (all of which cost us $500 plus time and effort) they told us that our house doesn’t even qualify in the first place because of the area it is located in.

We couldn’t afford to stay in our own home, and are now living with family. We had to have people rent our home in order to keep the property afloat- but now since it is not owner occupied the refinance rates are just as high as the original agreement.

We feel lucky to have people to support us in this time of need, but we definitely feel pushed into a corner, and the banks we’ve talked to have only caused hassle and stress in our lives (apart from wanting up front fees which we cannot afford to lose anymore).  We are trying to do the right thing and pay off our debts, but when houses in communities are foreclosing and the value of the property becomes lower than your agreement, the moral grey areas start to emerge.

I read this article with some trepidation. I was laid off in Silicon Valley at the end of April and I’m in the process of pursuing a loan modification now. My experience so far is that the bank won’t tell you what you need to know unless you ask the right questions, and they won’t give you the right answers unless you know what they are supposed to be. In the end, I’ll probably get denied. It’s sad, because my three little girls and I have a beautiful property, but the banks don’t care. Obama has tried to do the right thing for people like us, and I sincerely thank him for that. But it’s all going to hell. We’ll be back to square one in an apartment somewhere. We’ll make it, but we’ll have lost everything. And the banks still stand to make a tidy profit.

The worst mistake made thus far was to bail out the greed encrusted banks. A majority failure would have been best. At least the playing field would have been even.

Folks, we are a very long way from getting this. Years away. There are no easy solutions and common sense always has, and always will, work in difficult situations.

Heart, compassion and unity is lacking in this financial mess. Add the ingredient of common sense solutions, and we would be well on our way to recovery and folks staying in their homes.

If there is a lesson learned in this, get out of debt as soon as possible. Banks cannot be greedy when there aren’t any loans or credit cards being issued.

Just know that your not alone in this mess. Hang in there. This is still America.


Here is a good loan mod from Chase.

Original mrtg payment was $ 1,680.00

Entered into a written 3 month trial plan and the payment was lowered to $ 1,020.00. Payments made on time, same documents sent in countless times.

After finally 10 months of trial payment we received a notification of our new payment of $ 2,800/month

Chase is working to make home loans un-affordable.
Our government standing on the sidelines doing nothing


Oh my Gabor! Good Lord…I would be absolutely livid!!! Maybe I should be grateful that for the past 8 months BoA has been just giving me the royal runaround. Received notice today from them that I will not be be getting an overage check from them concerning excess I have in my escrow account (several hundred dollars)...due to me being in a “loan assumption” with them. They’ve yet to give me an answer one way or another concerning mod…yet have hit my credit score with inquiries since June every month. Plus putting a credit block on my account for making a request as to who actually owned my note. My FICO score has dropped from 750’s to around 700 in just the past 5 months. This despite me not carrying any balances on my cards and no outstanding debt. Along with never having missed a mortgage payment or ever being late. But your case really takes the cake…how are these institutions able to do these things? It would be alot different if we were deadbeats and NOT paying. I came to the table with 20% down and paid 20k cash for upgrades. And now they are ruining my good credit for what reason? This place is almost 80k underwater. Anyone else would have walked (strategic default) a long time ago. They WILL answer to this sooner or later…just wish I could help you Brother! Maybe in some small way I can…by not giving up this fight. Please hang in there Gabor…we are in the right…just keep calling, writing and e-mailing anyone who might help turn this horrible situation around. We didn’t start this s..t. They did with all their self-dealing (CDO’s etc.) I have moved enough of my Brothers and Sisters and their families from their homes…I am haunted by the desolate expressions on their faces…but more so by the anguished cries of their children. Enough is enough!

My story is the same as those above.  Wells Fargo has lied consistantly and Uncle Sam stands by their side.  Everyone needs to face the truth; The United States Government has deputized the banks to steal your house from you.  There is a plan for every last homeowner, including those not in a modification program.

The only solution is to improvise, adapt and overcome, using tactics that the banksters cannot counter.

This requires bravery and tenacity.  You stay in your house.  Make them communicate only in writing.  Document your case and alert your local Sheriff beforehand that you WILL NOT be leaving.  Don’t fight them in “court”, where they have friends and their money (which is our money) can work against you.

These criminals are trying to talk you out of what is rightfully yours.  Refuse their premise and they become toothless.

Be prepared to defend your home with force.  This is no different than a car-jacking.

Gabor - Chase is STILL dragging me along after 20 months, 6 forbearance payments topping 50% of my monthly gross income, etc. etc. etc.  I’ve written to every political figure in my state (MA), cc’d Dimon on everything, to the point where he’s sick of hearing from/about me. SIGTARP, HAMP Escalations, Pres. Obama, OCC, AGO, you name it, I’ve written to them.

Dimon has now “escalated the file,” which means he wants me to shut up and go away - nice try:)  Since Dimon’s executive decision to escalate my file, however, I’ve received ANOTHER letter from some office in Colorado requesting the SAME docs I’ve sent 12x (last count) because they “haven’t received them.” 

I’ve written to Gov. Patrick and have “escalated” things on my own, which Dimon doesn’t like.  PRESSURE PRESSURE PRESSURE.  Keeping it on him as much as possible until he can no longer breath without hearing my name.  I will win this battle - I have a stable income & job (thankfully) and qualify for a HAMP in every way according to the guidelines. EVERY Chase rep. (including those at the so-called Exec. Level - hahaha) has told me I’m the “perfect candidate.”  SO, what’s the hold up??

The way I look at it, Chase has made so many errors in judgement, to the pioint where THEY are somehow the investor of my FHA loan (used to be Ginnie Mae but Chase “was part of a gov. buyout” - and I’m Lady GaGa), which they actually put in writing.

I guess I can consider myself one of the lucky ones…we continued to pay our $3800/month mortgage while we applied for a loan modification.  After 10+ months of sending, resending, and sending again the same paperwork; making call after call each and every week, etc., we finally got our loan modification from ASC (Wells Fargo’s servicing company).  They lowered our interest from 6.25% to 4.85% and used the current amount that we owed.  Our payments went down about $700 a month, which helps immensely.  Because we continued to make our higher payments on time the entire time we were applying for the modification, our modification was permanent from the git-go.  It was a long, hard road, but we kept persisting, calling, sending documents, etc., and we didn’t listen to people who told us not to pay our mortgage….we struggled and paid it on time each and every month, which helped us get the permanent modification.  Basically, they just refinanced our loan at a lower interest for 30 years, which works for me.  All I can say to people out there is to hang in there, don’t listen to people when they tell you not to pay your mortgage, try your best to keep paying it while you apply….you might have a better chance of getting them to refinance than to modify.

What I forgot to tell you was that in order to keep our mortgage paid on time, we ended up having to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but it was that or lose the home I’d lived in for 54 years (grew up in, etc.).  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was a decision we had to make—keep our house or keep our credit cards.  You can guess what won out.  In 5 years, we’ll be free and clear and can start building up our FICO score.  It shouldn’t be too hard because we’re maintaining our other secured debts; i.e., car payment, HELOC payment, mortgage, etc. and that looks good on a credit report.

hello people, i have been dealing w/ this s… for 18 months now and here is my conclusion thus far;even after having my clients file escalated to the highest level i have painfully recognized that many people even at this level do not have a clue as to what they are doing! why in god’s name aren’t the professionals of the industry being utilized to implement the program.i had a huge fight last week w/ a negotiator in the office of the pres of HSBC because he did not know the hamp guidelines ! once i realized this , after having been spoken down to,i changed tack and asked him to describe the guidelines to me.lo and behold his answers PROVED that my client was qualified!had i not known the guidelines this single mother of 3 would have lost her house.i actually had to structure the mod because the ” negotiator” couldn’t!the good news is here is the result; homeowner was 13 months in arrears and was never given even a trial mod.she owed $ 286,000 and her payment was $ 2,700/mo.we did an internal mod w/ a new bal of $315,000, $ 39,000 princ defered, 2 % rate, 40 year term new payment $ 1,688 /month.the moral is that we have to tie our own shoelaces and do not take no for an answer! if you know the system well enough you can get your just rewards.KNOW the guidelines !!!and do not trust that whoever you speak to knows the rules.keep the faith and be tenacious.the squeaky wheel gets the oil.anyone can feel free to e-mail me @ .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions or comments

If you want to know what bankers tell congress how they lie and what they lie, watch this video. Its worth it.

Roy,  I guess this is the same when an Airplane is going down. All we can do is Pray.

Maureen: I am the same way with David Lowman I believe it is a retaliatory to all who complain to top
execs. Recently in San Francisco a home was foreclosed and Jamie Dimon personally promised the homeowner on a meeting that the home will not be foreclosed.

Regarding our Representatives.

I recently found out that Congressional Representatives were warned by the house ethic committee not to interferer with banks about loan modification or they can be in trouble.

In my opinion
The house ethic committee should be Investigated who greased them to make this announcement.

The last time I checked the representatives job was to represent constituents. Since banks are braking laws buy unfair and deceptive business practices they should be investigated, fined, and punished for what they have created.


Nov. 5, 2010, 4 p.m.

Garbor, I also find out that one of the first meetings the Republicans just had yesterday was with Goldman Sucks ! and J P Morgan Chase-the homeowner out their homes
Reps for their constituents? what a joke !
Like you said Banksters should be regulated, investigated, fined, and punished for what they have created and keep doing

Democracy as we know it CANNOT survive this maldistribution of the fruits of labor of the toiling millions whose belief in the country make America what it is.

                Lawrence Goodwin 2010

At least when a mugger robs me, it’s a straight-forward transaction.

Our financial institutions, masquerading as beneficient agents (with the govt. in their back pockets) will hopefully collapse under the weight of their own gluttony (but I’m not holding my breath on that one). I am very disappointed in the man I voted for President; I am a die-hard liberal, and if ever there were a Presidednt that could have put in place real “meaningful” reform, it was he. Hopefully he will put in place meaningful legislation to help people from this disgraceful injustice.

Nissim Sasson

Nov. 7, 2010, 4:50 p.m.

Lets organize ! There was a Glen Beck Rally and a Insanity ,Fear Rally by John Stewart and Colbert both are Jokes, none them even mention the real issues: Banksters, Fraudclosures, Loan Modification denials, Unemployment, Free Interest money for the Banksters, the Bail out to Banksters, no regulation to the Banks so the Bnaksters can keep stealing the wealth from the middle class stealing etc
We need to organize a rally from all of the people that are unemployed, in foreclosure, trying to do a Modification, etc
If yanybody makes one, please sign me in, or let me know how can i help to make one,  a real issues Rally
Sign me in Lets organize and go to Washington ! its our only hope we need to put real presure to this politicians specially the new ones they need to know that we wont take any more
Or at leats lets get signatures and send them in a letter to the politicians lets get 5 million signatures that will scare them !

Although I agreed with the bailout of the big banks, it was purely because otherwise there would have been a global financial collapse.  My husband was downsized in 1999 after 15 years of faithful employment for Merrill Lynch in their IT department.  He was caught in a downsizing of 10% of their total staff after the company lost money on their investment deal with Russia.  Instead of firing the bankers who made the deals, they fired 10% of their staff to insure 3rd quarter profits.  And, the incompetent investment bankers received hefty bonuses.  This was their MO to retain their investment bankers who engaged in high-risk trading and banking deals and fire their mid to low level staff to boost their profits. 

It came as no surprise to ex-Merrill Lynchers that the company was in horrible financial difficulties back in 2007 and no surprise that they rewarded their highest paid staff hefty salaries and bonuses even after taking federal bail-out money.  And, it comes as no surprise that these same BIG banks would be hesitant to modify loans.  They do not see their high-risk behavior as a major factor in the financial meltdown as they don’t see themselves as having to play by the same moral behavior as the rest of us.  Hence, you will see our national legislators try to reverse the parts of the financial reform bill that regulates the shadow banking laws.  And, unless President Obama forces them to work on loan modifications or there are some behind the scenes manipulations, they won’t change their behavior.

I have little regard for the investment banking units of these big banks as their staff are largely amoral.

Nissim I Really think we should do it.  We need to put faces to this crisis rather than papers and documents, which we know they could careless about considering how many times we have had to submit paperwork.  I have read today the investors are planning huge lawsuits against these big banks. maybe we’ll get a chance. Money speaks to money!!!

Michael- You really do have our best interest at heart and you work really hard at this and I just wanted to say Thank you so much for helping me on my journey.

These banks are evil!  They hire ill trained, uneducated people who could care less about your predicament and many actually seem to enjoy torturing you. 

Shame on the politicians for not requiring strict guidelines for the loan mod’s.  The banks put so many through hell, don’t communicate worth a darn during the entire process, often give out wrong information, and then we’re left holding the bag and told “sorry.” Sorry doesn’t cut it!!!  Please call your elected officials, both state and federal and complain about this loudly!  The politicians should also be introducing a bill that would allow us to make early withdrawals into our IRA’s WITHOUT penalties or taxation, but my rep, Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) refused to do it stating that “he feels the IRA is for retirement.”  Really?  Because the hundreds of thousands of dollars we’ve invested into commercial land that will not sell is our retirement!  I’m tired of being treated like a child,d instead of being helped.  The IRA money is money I paid into it and in this, one of the worst of economic times, our elected officials should be doing more!  Find your elected officials at all levels, local, state and federal at:  SPEAK UP!

Criminal chartges should be brought against those executives and head of these large banks who are resistent to helping the average American. They are obligated to work with familes via HAMP or HARPif they accepted bail out funds. Yet, they simply refuse to do so!!

We as Americans must make these banks accountable…let’s collectively write our congressmen etc….let’s become pro active in making this situation right!!

adrianne, you are very welcome. please keep me posted

@JR DoBruck, yes, logic is a very powerful tool and it does work great and has worked great in the past as you say.  the catch is that someone has to actually engage their brain in order to stimulate the logic-center of the brain.  And thats where it all falls apart.  Everybody knows logic works its just that no one uses it.

@DAN HOLDEN….I’m afraid I’m not as generous in my appraisal of Mr. Obama as you seem to be.  While you say he is trying his very best to get help out here to the people I think its more likely that the stage is set and players arranged to make it LOOK LIKE he’s doing everything he can.  Afterall, he is in a position of power and he can make things look anyway he likes.  The facts don’t support your statement.  There are laws/sanctions/rules in place to use to whip these recalcitrant banks in to shape and to “encourage” them to fulfill their promises.  Obama is aware of those sanctions because he has on several occasions rattled his mighty saber and threatened to use those sanctions, a very public chastising was doled out by Obama when he made that threat.  Problem is it was all talk.  No one, to my knowledge, has gotten more than a slap on the wrist, and even that is questionable, as a result of their foot-dragging.

So often when I criticize Obama, in fact the majority of the time, the words are barely out of my mouth or the ink dried on the paper before I’m accused of being a racist motivated only by my racism and not any real desire to give the man a break.

I’m all for giving the man a break IF it appears he is trying to give me one and I’m sorry that does not seem to be the case in this instance.

@Michael, I’m not sure if I may have missed it but you reference your client.  Are you an attorney, a financial specialist or exactly what is your area of endeavor?  You left your email address but I guess its not clear to anyone considering mailing you exactly what it is you do.  If I missed it, I apologize, its been a log day and a long year.

My situation is that I am still in suspended animation basically after years of trying to work something out.  The good news is I was finally notified I would receive a permanent modification.  The bad news is that it doesn’t change lower my payment by very much, especially once the interest starts to go up (its set to go up every year for two years after the first five years but it is capped I believe at something like 6.5 percent.  However, the permanent modification is almost just as much of a fiasco as everything else I’ve had to do with Bank of America.  There was no accounting how they came up with the figures included in the modification and there was an add on amount at the end of the loan which I could not figure out where or what it was and no one seemed to be able to tell me.  Some financially in-the-know people advised me to take it anyway even in light of the unexplained add-on because they say I will make up the amount of that add on in the first year in interest savings.  So I signed it but I am still unsure because I’ve never gotten back any copy that BOA signed agreeing to it and I’m sure there is some fine print somewhere that says unless I get back a copy its not a done deal.  I don’t trust BOA AT ALL, not one tiny bit.  The permanent modification came with a “Clarity Commitment” which as i have pointed out is a joke especially in light of the fact that when I call the phone number listed on the letter that came with the Permanent Mod Agreement (the number was to call “if I had any questions” and I do) I was told they couldn’t help me and it was the same old same ole, passing the buck here,transfer me here, transfer me there and eventually the same number I called to begin with.

No one could be accidentally as inept and frankly incapable as BOA appears to be which is why I believe that all their bumbling and phone call passing game is just a part of their efforts to frustrate people into giving up.

Incidentally, when I called to make my last payment at the beginning of November I was told they were sorry they couldn’t accept my payment as I was five payments behind.  At which point I nearly lost it and then got passed here and there until someone did me a favor and took my money.

I feel blessed (if you understand sarcasm)!

@Lauren, I’m afraid I must agree with you and I do not think it is due to paranoia that I share your suspicion that there are those employees who enjoy twisting the knife.  After becoming frustrated out of my mind trying to just make a payment (which I still cannot do online) and being nearly in tears of a mixture of frustration, helplessness and anger when I finally reached somebody who said he “could” take my payment he quickly became intolerant of my “attitude” I had developed during my hour long quest to make a payment.  I confess to saying more than one expletives however I plead innocent nonetheless.  If you poke a dog enough times he will growl at you and maybe bite.  Anyway, he didn’t care at all what I’d been through or the frustration of having to repeat for the 20th time my name account number, phone number, address blah blah blah and he told me he didn’t have to listen to such things and if I didn’t quiet down he would hang up on me.  I told him basically “you people have some nerve, your torment people day after day and hour after hour and when they lose their cool you become self-righteously offended.


I do have one question that I can’t seem to find an answer to, well actually I have more than one.  But one which has puzzled me is why when my loan (which was to refinance a home equity loan here in Missouri) amount at the beginning of my agreement with Capitol One (who later sold my account) which was (seems like a small amount based on the balances I’ve seen here, but it is a modest but comfortable house though not in the greatest neighborhood) but why when the amount was $73,000 why do the papers say it is a Jumbo Loan?  There is no way 73,000 even comes close to the amount defined as a jumbo loan?

I’m curious.  If anyone has a clue I’d be interested in hearing.

Anne-  Sounds like you need a hug! Then maybe a cold beer or a glass of wine.
I totally agree with your assessment of BoA. Spent a couple hours on phone with them myself today. Finally got them to agree I am not and never have been late on payments. Acquisition of loan mod may be another story…start of my 8th month. Your story scares the s..t out of me…and I’m fearless. I would be wary of fine print…get some rest and give it a go tomorrow with a fresh set of lungs. We have a hard row to hoe…in my case I’m leaving it in the good Lord’s hands…where it will end up eventually anyway.
As for Michael…he is GOOD people.
GOD Bless All!

Anne, i am a spy for the banks. they had me infiltrate this site to wreak havoc. ( just kidding !)I am not a lawyer. i am just a guy who helps people navigate through the system.i happen to know the ins and outs, the language and the guidelines.
EVERYONE - if you have not yet called the OCC ( office of the comptroller of the currency ) do so NOW at 800-613-4743 and lodge a formal will be directed to a web site.PLEASE,PLEASE do this for yourselves

Roy and Michael, thank you for your comments and suggestions.  I like your idea Roy about the relaxing with a glass of wine, sounds good but it is very hard to relax these days.  It’s been a trying summer.  I suffered a home invasion by thieves in July.  They came in through an unlocked window.  I was home at the time but most of the time they were here I was outside and unaware until I came inside to see why my phone didn’t work and discovered it was because my desktop computer was missing and that whoever unplugged it also unplugged the phone with the computer.  Then in another room I discovered by laptop also missing.  At that time I saw the last of the 3 thieves running across my front lawn and my neighbor saw them run to a car a block away which they all climbed into and took off.  It was unnerving at best and it has left me fearful in my own home and I’m not someone who normally gets scared at every bump in the night but now I do.  When I lay in bed at night I have a hard time going to sleep because instead I can see the silhouette of a man in my bedroom doorway and I know he can’t be there for anything good.  My vision of him seems very real to me and I realize that if there were someone in my house in the middle of the night that there is not much I could do.  There have been a couple of homicides in my neighborhood that might have been home invasion related and one confirmed homicide of a man who came home early and unfortunately had a fatal encounter with the thief who was inside his home.  Then I’ve had one heck of a time fighting off accusations of a debt for a credit card I never had in court and which ended badly because of some “confusion” about the continuance date and when I didn’t show they got a default judgment despite the fact that I kept going every month to the hearings waiting to see their evidence which does not exist and so with zero evidence except one of these same fake affidavits and nothing more now I have a judgment against me to deal with.  All these events together have destroyed any belief I had in my government that I or anyone can expect justice in or out of the courts.  People who have been untouched by any of this are in denial and totally unaware of the serious degradation of our security due to misconduct and ineptitude and a total disregard for the American people.

Incidentally, I am not the Anne who responded on the 9th about her experiences.  I read her post with interest and for a while wondered if I didn’t have multiple personality disorder when she wrote about her husband and approving the bailout because I’m divorced and I didn’t approve.  Anyway, just wanted to clarify my circumstances and avoid confusion.

Michael, funny you should mention contacting the OCC.  I just made a post on the article about the OCC failing to heed warnings early-on from the two attorneys general and their continuing failure to do what they are supposed to do.  I had contacted them in January and the answer was basically no answer, they were just crossing T’s and dotting I’s and it really didn’t have any real information for me.  But its a good idea to cover all the bases.

With everything thats been going on in my life I don’t have much energy or patience or even hope lately that things will be right again any time soon.

Sorry to be such a gloomy voice but it is what it is.

Incidentally, since you say you are familiar with the processes and so forth, can you shed any light on my question about why my comparatively small loan being processed as a Jumbo loan, why would it have been and what if any significance would it have???

Thank you for trying to help out as it seems like the most help we are able to get along with credible information comes from each other and not from our fearless leaders.

it was just brought to my attention that the # i left for the OCC , which worked up until yesterday is now a sex line. I am mortified. here is the real/ current # 800-613-6743.sorry for any embassasemen.

anne-the only thing that the OCC does is to get the bank to escalate the file to the off of the pres and you should receive a call from them.btw their web site is ( or gov)

re; difining your loan as jumbo simply illustrates the incompetence that is widespread.

@Roy, I meant to tell you before, I do have empathy for your 8 month ordeal being left on edge about ever getting a permanent modification.  I hope you find out soon.  It has been my experience that almost without fail if I am to get notices via Fed Ex about significant stuff like modifications or requirements not met it comes on Friday late afternoon, how convenient, so if you want to talk to someone you have an even smaller chance of getting someone who knows anything.  Anyway, Fridays around the corner, who knows?

@Michael, I got the web site and phone number to contact the OCC last year when I contacted another source, it might have been the FTC can’t remember about filing a complaint and was told that any complaints of whatever nature about any national bank should be addressed to the OCC so I wrote them about my concern regarding making payments that got held up and laid apparently on someone’s desk for a month or so.  They just forwarded BOA my complaint and BOA said “oh we took care of it” and so the OCC said “good news, they took care of it”.  I’m paraphrasing of course but that is the context of what happend.  So it was a waste of time, imo, as it was just a relay service.  I suppose it might serve some kind of incentive or reminder that I’m not brain dead yet, lol.  (Emphasis on YET). 

I have the opinion, after all I’ve been through with them and all the poor service and lack of information that they aren’t at all concerned or interested in getting modifications done for people.  If they were sincere, then it would be apparent by means of better communication.  They have had over a year to get their communication problems straightened out and they have not and I have to assume that is because they either don’t want to (so as to cause frustration) or else they just don’t care.

I’ve had an opportunity to work for more than a few companies during my lifetime and I cannot think of one of them that would have tolerated the totally unacceptable communication problems, getting a different story form each number, being given numbers to call only to hear “We’re sorry, you have reached a number that is no longer in service, please consult your phone directory and try again”.

I have not heard (but then I rarely watch TV) any recent recurrences of the “postal” syndrome which of course no longer is confined to postal workers but people and workers in general, of another round of workplace violence with mass shootings and so forth.  But given today’s state of the economy and peoples homes and lives on the balance with uncaring and inept banks, it wouldn’t be illogical to wonder whether it wasn’t fueled by despair and the seeming never-ending torture by companies who could care less, I mean they got theirs.

As crummy as their communication systems seem to be its obvious that they left a working phone number with the White House to call when the bailout checks were ready for pickup.  I mean, all companies have PRIORITIES.

wonder, does anyone know whatever became of these principal forgiveness loans that BOA was going to “look at” (how’s that for hedging?)

They were strict limitations to the types of loans and they were all loans that originated with Countrywide?  I’m just curious if they ever delivered anything besides hot air on this?;=

The truth is for all the modifications that get rejected after homeowners make many trial payments,  what happens next is they all go into foreclosure because they can’t get caught up.  So for every one person they help, how many are they hurting….......and you wait and wait and wait.  And they just can’t get it right.  Does this country care what is happening right in front of them.

Overall, no I don’t think the country cares with the exception of those directly affected.  People have a tendency to disregard inequities that are directed towards others.  they might initially say how wrong they feel it is.  And ultimately, I see a lot of people actually attacking those of us trying to get a modification with the mistaken idea we are getting some sweetheart deal and reductions in principal at taxpayer expense which is untrue.  The only people who know or care, overall, are the people losing or in danger of losing their home.

This foreclosure debacle is just one of a number of outrageous inequities and injustices perpetrated on the people of the U.S.  Overall people look the other way if it causes them no discomfort.  Fraud and misconduct in our courts and among the judiciary is commonplace.  Judicial oversight is advertised as being well in hand but the fact is its a good ole boy system that looks after each other first and the people later.
I am just as alarmed about the tendency of the public to insist on hanging onto their rose-tinted glasses even when there is good evidence that wearing them enables and continues the wrongs that are widespread and indiscriminate in whom they affect.

Anne- You are absolutely correct!!!! As for my situation…BoA in almost 8 months time isn’t any closer to giving me an answer as to me being “qualified” for HAMP. NO ANSWER…no offer of trial mod…NOTHING. Yet, they have no problem “reviewing” almost 200,000 docs in less than 10 days to be able to continue foreclosures.
With their new revalations (completely untrue…and I have paperwork to prove) of me being late and disputing amount I owe affecting my credit rating…we have opened a new can of worms.
I am well aware that BoA and others are completely aware of this site and comments that have been posted. My response…does the truth hurt???
Revelations (sp)

My long story short—-I have 2 kids and a husband—-and I am in “Mama bear mode”!!!  I’ve been trying to get a loan mod. from the EVIL OneWestBank (formerly IndyMac) for several months now—-with the usual run-around and lies—-“Oh, we need this documentation—-(which I had already sent twice) waiting, waiting, calling, calling,—-blah blah blah—-“it’s in review” blah blah blah—-and then I get a “notice of default”, in the mail a week ago—-saying I have 90 days until a foreclosure sale of my house!  We qualify in every way for the guidelines of the loan mod., but even so, the “investors” with the OWB mortgages apparently have the final say—-and they know they can make more money if they foreclose on everyone!!!!!  So, here’s my next plan—-it worked for someone I know:  STAND IN FRONT OF THE HEADQUARTERS IN PASADENA, CA (OR WHERE EVER YOUR BANK IS) WITH SIGNS AND GET MEDIA ATTENTION AND YOU WILL GET YOUR LOAN MOD.!!!!!  They hate the negative publicity—-WE MAMA BEARS HAVE TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET NOTICED AND GET JUSTICE!!!  Anyway, that’s what I’m going to try—-I’ll let you know what happens——hang in there, everybody—-AND BE A SQUEAKY WHEEL!!!

Mamma Bear Maggie- The tough part now, is if you have received a foreclosure notice, you evidently are behind in payments…as a result you might be limited in what you might do to be able to help you and your family’s cause. Although I give you 2 thumbs up on the picketing (just be sure it is allowed by local and state law.
The first thing I would do is to file an appeal…then send in a “qualified written request” asking who is the actual owner of your mortgage.
If you have the time I would go through ALL of the articles here in ProPublica that apply to loan modifications…then check out the comments made from Michael,Steve,Anne,Linda L.,Nissom Sasson, David and Gabor to name just a few.These are people who are extremely knowledgeable concerning this situation…who are either going through this process themselves…or have made this a crusade of sorts to help others.
I’m not trying to dissuade you when I say you are in for an extremely long and trying battle. Just do the right thing and stick to your principles. Be as transparent with your servicer as you can…knowing ahead that they favor 4closure to working with you toward a mod. Keep records of EVERYTHING concerning…get as much as possible in WRITING!
I wish you the best. And may GOD Bless you and those you love!

Roy, I share your concern that anyone choosing to picket first ascertain what the local rules are in regard to protest.  I’m wondering if it makes a difference (I tend to think it will) if you are federal, state or city property whild doing the protesting.  The government has lately been coming down on the heavy-handed side of the law.  Rules, requiremements and regulations, it sometimes appear to me that they are trying to weave a magic spell over “the people” so convoluted in nature and intentions so that no one can make any clear decisions of right or wrong and as such you will be required to PLAY IT AGAIN SAM, stay on the treadmill, do not pass go and DEFINITELY do not collect $200.

The speed of time has a maddening tendency to speed up or slow down relative to the anticipation of dread of a given event/moment in time.  The threat of foreclosure looms large and ominous but there are no dates, no goals to by pass and “cut to the chase” lol Conversely the illusory permanent loan modification seems to hang in suspended animation on a far horizon, an enticement to the discouraged and the tormented to come once more with hope in your heart and hat in hand.  The question is do they hold out the “hope of hope” as a genuine reflection of their theirs that you truly would like to help.  Or are they evil financial wizards who seemed determined to stretch the pain and agony out for at least one more month while they watch in amusement safely enthroned on their loft perches.  (I would expound on what I feel about the inegrity of our government more fully but I’m afraid there are restrictions about what we can say in polite society without being deemed an ogre, how ironic to be so accused.  Sometimes I think these foreclousure proceedings be stopped in their tracks due for the same reasons some death row inmates protest: CRUEL AND INHUMANE sentences.

i was workin on a modification with the bank and had made my 3 trial payments and have been waiting on the review process,only to be told a day after i talk to the bank on any news on the review process,that my home was sold the next day,now the new owner has offered me $3000 to move out in a month or he will evict me..what can or should do??please help me

Mike- Legally (from what you have told) I don’t think what has happened is legal. I would immediately contact your Stae’s Attorney Generals office…then call a lawyer who deals with real estate matters. I believe you were supposed to have received a notice of sale first. Good luck.

Mike, I urge you to contact local media sources, do a mass mailing to let them know what happened.  Surely the incidents you describe will capture their attention. An independent media/news source is a very important tool for holding the line against such an outrageous and cruel action.  The concept of morality seems to have taken a backseat to greed I’m afraid.  The faces behind the stories tend to become invisible while the machinery of the government continues to grind out its unjust product.  “For the People” is a concept which has gone missing apparently as the bankers continue to gorge on their unfortunate pray.  “We the People”, consummation of our hearth and our homes is the fuel upon which money-lenders feed without regard to the emotional pain and mental anguish they cause.  Nothing it seems will hold them in check.  Our government which should protect us appears to look the other way even while our president makes impassioned speaches proclaiming his intentions to help.  If our government had half the passion for “the people” as it displayed during the mad dash to “bail out” those responsible for this mess then our faith would not be so sorely weakened.  I am tired of hearing speaches about help being available, about the the tools (sanctions) in place for prod reluctant bankers into keeping the promises they made.  I want to see some real and believable action on the part of our government.  The tail is wagging the dog.  Our government does not work for us, it works in concert with the lords of Wall Street.  I am outraged, as we all should be.  But there are those of us who are smugly self-righteous who will say we brought this on ourselves by purchasing homes beyond our means.  They refuse, for some reason, to see that the foundation families built their homes on is crumbling due to the uncontrolled greed that threatens to consume everything.  Not until it is their home and their family which is threatened will they finally accept the truth that our government hides from us.  The ultimate insult is that our “representatives” from the President on down continue the charade of false hope.  The machinery of greed never stops and the roar is becoming deafening while our leaders seem deaf to the noise.

The “holidays” are once again on our doorstep.  The tv stations will beam again, pictures of families nestled around cozy hearths will smiling parents and grandparents, chubby babies in red santa outfits with the twinkling lights of christmas trees reflected in their eyes.

The traditional broadcasts will be repeated of “Scrooge” the dickensian tale of greed and avarice.  At the end of the show Scrooge will see the error of his ways and joy and the hope for prosperity will fill our hearts once more.  Traditions are nice, they fill a need to believe that good things are not only possible but within reach.

But even while Scrooge finds his way our bankers are unstoppable seizing homes and wrecking lives without conscience while our government officials look on.  Tomorrow a new “plan” will be proposed, another round of speach making will occur while more families find themselves deposited on the streets homeless.

But, the holidays are at hand, so raise a glass of cheer.  Let’s all be happy, why not?  Tis the season to be jolly so venture forth, charge cards in hand to purchase one more bauble and one more toy to wrap and place beneath the tree.  Christmas Eve just days away, be happy, have another glass of egg nog. 

Dream a little dream, why not?  More and more it seems dreams are all we have.

Mike - get a lawyer and sue!! My understanding that all foreclosure proceedings are stopped while one is in the modification process..was you notified that your home was in foreclosure? or given an opportunity to bring you loan current?? I don’t understand how this happened? Is there anything you are leaving out?

geanette.. thank you for your kind response..truth of the matter is i have been in default since early 2009..for a different number of that time i received a notice of intent from the bank to sale,but due to what i was going trough i got an agent and tried doing a short sale,but durin the process the government come up with the modification process which my bank informed me i qualified for ,so i got in contact with the bank,citi bank sent in all the required paper work.and while i sent in all my required trial period payments and waiting for the review process my home was sold to a third party whom contacting me and offered me $3000 to move out within a month..  i am so drained and tired,and really dont know what the right thing to do is..tried contacting lawyers but they all want money in order to advise me..but am trying to save everything i can right now cos i might be without a home ...any kind of advise right now can help me thanks and god bless us all

Mike, that is their goal to wear you down, I do believe that.  It’s why anything at all from the smallest to the biggest that you have to do with them is annoying and frustrating beyond belief.  There is no way a company can continually bungle things the way that these people do.  If it were any other company they would get fired but they probably get a bonus the more irritating they are.

I really sympathize when you say you are tired as I have been there and just tired of trying to think.  But as long as you are still in the house then nothing is final.  If they sold your house while you are in the modification process then they did break the rules and they just need to tell the buyer they screwed up.  There is no reason why YOU should be the person who gets disappointed because you were trying they just weren’t sincerely trying or even hardly trying.

  thank you so much for the time and words ,they really mean sad to say ,i will b giving up this battle and will continue to pray that they are people like you anne out there to give us the american avarage citizen that do everything right but continue to end up on the receiving end brings me to tears just reading and understanding the tearful situation this great country has come to..and how these institutions are allowed to operate in such a manner..i know if i continue this battle to save my home i will preveil,but i regratfully cannot,i have to take a number of things into health ,and rebuilding my life..i will leave my home ,i will rebuild and during this time i will urge anybody going through or similar situation ,please dont give up like i have. i know for a fact their are alot of anne s out their to help..and i believe real soon..this evil and unjust manner in which these banks have been taking advantage of us the avarage hard working american citizen will come to light and change ..thanks again and god bless us all

MIKE, I support you whatever you choose, YOU are the only one who can know what you need.  I will tell you that I have considered doing what you are doing.  I have wondered if I am not hanging on to an albatross.  It is hard for me to think of my home that way because I have loved it here. 

I have loved spring and summer days in my garden or on my patio that I had a nice cover put on about ten years ago.  I have loved and gotten to know the little birds that come visit me and remind me when I have not fed them.  The back yard is full of trees I planted and the trees have abundant bird houses but I’m sure the birds would say I need more.

It was just a house when I moved here and I made it my home.  I have six little graves in the far corner where my precious pets have gone eventually and I have wondered how I could abandon them but of course I will one way or the other maybe when i go to my own grave probably so.

But with more houses emptying out and becoming overgrown with weeds and sagging gutters full of a million tiny maple trees sprouting there and with jobs hard to come by and things not as they were and my taxes going up more and more and me getting older I wonder if I might be better off to do what you are doing or am I just to stubborn to say that is what I need.

You’re right, this country used to be as our forefathers said when they took so much care writing the constitution FOR THE PEOPLE.  It is not for the people anymore it is for the wealthy and the politicians they bought with their money and for the greedy people who make their living taking what used to be a home.

They don’t take care of them they sit empty and sad with black eyes and no lights on.

Maybe you will look back someday and not be so sad because things will yet turn out well for you.  But it would be easy for me to say except that since I have thought it I know it is neither easy to think nor do.

I wish I had some magic words or elixir to take the pain from your heart and ease your mind.  But all I can do is wish you the best and that you have the peace of mind soon that has eluded you for too long.

I still do not know “where” I am.  I filled out and signed with hesitation my modification papers almost 3 months ago and haven’t heard a word.  They could come for me tomorrow, who knows?  none of us know anymore, everything is up in the air.  Not quite as dramatic as the Oklahoma trageda during the dust bowl days but still a similar event.  People being forced to move not because they wanted to but because it seemed there was not choice.

I can only wish you luck and godspeed to find a place that will bring you peace once again.  And so i do with all my heart wish it for you Mike.


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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