Journalism in the Public Interest

Feds Replace Flawed Foreclosure Review With Vague $8.5 Billion Settlement

Banking regulators admitted the Independent Foreclosure Review was a big expensive mess and shut it down. But many details about the $8.5 billion settlement that replaces it remain murky.

Banking regulators admitted the Independent Foreclosure Review was a big expensive mess and shut it down. But many details about the $8.5 billion settlement that replaces it remain murky. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The Independent Foreclosure Review was supposed to be a full and fair investigation of the big banks' foreclosure abuses, and it was trumpeted as the government's largest effort to compensate victimized homeowners. Federal regulators, who designed the review, forced banks to spend billions to carry it out. Millions of homeowners were eligible and hundreds of thousands submitted claims. But Monday morning, the very regulators who launched the program 18 months ago announced that it had all been a massive mistake and shut it down.

Instead, 10 banks have agreed to pay a total of $3.3 billion in cash to the 3.8 million borrowers who had been eligible for the review. That's an average of around $870 per borrower. But typical of a process that's been characterized by confusion, delays and secrecy, regulators said the details of how the money will be doled out were not yet available.

The headline number for the settlement is $8.5 billion, but that includes $5.2 billion in "credits" the banks will receive for actions they take to avoid foreclosures, such as providing loan modifications. That's very similar to the separate $25 billion settlement reached last year between five banks, 49 states and the federal government. That settlement has been criticized for awarding credit to banks for things they were already doing.

Officials from Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, one of the federal regulators that ran the review and negotiated the new settlement, did not say how they arrived at the $3.3 billion in cash. Pressed on this question during a conference call with reporters on Monday, an official would only say, "The best way to think about that is that it was a negotiated amount. It represents an acceleration of payments to consumers that results in more consumers getting more money in a much quicker time frame."

Critics had assailed the original review since it was launched. Regulators required each bank to hire an "independent" consultant to review the case of each eligible homeowner, evaluate if the bank had committed errors or abuses and, if so, determine how much money, up to $125,000, that the bank would have to pay the borrower.

But those consultants turned out to be companies that had other contracts with the banks and so relied on them for business, causing consumer advocates and some members of Congress, among others, to question how independent the consultants could be. Fueling suspicion was the fact that many details of how the banks and the consultants actually worked together were kept secret. Last year, ProPublica published a series of articles revealing that the banks' own employees were heavily involved in the supposedly independent review, calling into question its fundamental integrity.

Regulators dumped the review and struck a deal for two main reasons, OCC officials said on the Monday conference call with journalists. The officials spoke on the condition they not be named.

First, they said, the reviews had taken far too much time. That was great news for the consultants that had been hired by the banks to conduct the reviews, because the banks have paid them more than $1.5 billion. But all that work has not resulted in a single payment to a borrower.

Second, months and perhaps years from now, when the consultants finally finished their work, most borrowers still would not have received compensation. The officials said only 6.5 percent of the case reviews completed so far had produced evidence of harm to the borrower.

Given the flaws in the review, it's questionable whether that rate is "remotely accurate," said Alys Cohen of the National Consumer Law Center. "Because the reviews were flawed," she said, "basing a total settlement number on them would grossly understate the harm and really be an abdication of responsibility on the part of regulators."

Divvying Up the $3.3 Billion

The OCC officials said the details of how the $3.3 billion will be distributed had not been finalized and likely would not be made public for several more weeks. But they outlined the basic approach.

As originally designed, the review identified 13 categories of potential harm and put a price tag on each. For the worst errors, banks would have had to pay victimized borrowers up to $125,000, while for lesser problems they would have had to pay only $1,000 or even no cash compensation at all.

The new settlement will work in a similar way. Each of the 3.8 million homeowners will be placed in categories, they said. The categories would be broadly similar to the ones from the review. For instance, one category might be homeowners who were denied a loan modification and later lost their home to foreclosure. Another might be those who were put in foreclosure, but received a modification and are still in the home.

Each category will have an associated payment. Borrowers who fall in more than one category will receive the highest category payment they qualify for.

As for the amounts borrowers in each category might receive, it will likely range from $125,000 down to a few hundred dollars. Officials said the precise amounts had not yet been decided.

Unlike the original review, no case-by-case effort will be made to sort out who was really the victim of a bank error or abuse and who was not. Instead, basic criteria will be used to assign homeowners to a category, and everyone in the same category will receive the same amount.

The banks themselves will sort all the homeowners into the various categories, the officials said, but regulators will oversee that process. They argued that the banks had no incentive to game the process since the total amount each bank will have to pay out had already been determined. There is no way for a bank to reduce that sum.

495,000 borrowers submitted claims as part of the original review process. Those borrowers will receive a higher payment than borrowers who did not submit a complaint, but the officials would not say how much that would be.

It's unclear when regulators will release the full details of the process, but they did commit to a timeline: Borrowers will be contacted by the end of March with news of their payment amount.

ProPublica will continue to provide details as they become available.

clarence swinney

Jan. 8, 2013, 10:24 a.m.

WHOSE FAULT? R or D? Or both?
1. Outsourcing industries—R & D
2. Flush Wealth to top 10%—R tax codes
3. Bush 1900B Tax Cuts—43% to top 5%—16% to bottom 60%
4. Bush two war=cost2000B over a decade—ruined our reputation as a caring Christian nation
5. Bush Part D Medicare
6. The Middle Class has been gutted while top 10% own 73% net wealth,, 83% financial wealth-get 43% individual income paid 18% tax rate—25% get 66% income paid 15% tax rate—top 50% got 87% Income paid 12.5% tax rate—70 Million got 13% of the income.
7. Redistribution of Wealth our biggest problem. We must tax wealth to get a balance and pay down debt. It is a sham when we tax 2100 Billion—spend 3500B—and borrow 1400B.
Let the rich off. 14,000B Income cannot pay 3500B budget???  37Mm tax returns paid 11.06% Tax Rate in 2009. Will we awaken?
8. Repeal Glass Steagall allowed 10 big gambling institutions to buy up 80% of 7000 Banks.

It seems to me that there’s one glaring problem with every attempt to analyze the banks, and that’s the complete avoidance of calling a spade a spade.

Here’s a simple question that no regulator will ask:  Who owns the loan?

If the bank can’t answer that question conclusively and show the promissory note, then the bank is in the wrong, plain and simple.  If you don’t own the note, you have no standing to foreclose.

If the bank can find the note, then the question is whether the mortgage is a NINA (no income, no assets) loan.  It is?  Well, that’s an abuse in all but a handful of cases.  The buyer doesn’t deserve the house, but the bank should still be prevented from doing that again.

They make this seem like a complicated analysis of variables that need to be teased out through high-level math, but the reality is that loans were given to people with the intent of failure so the bank could profit from that failure.

That’s exploitation, and it’s easy to find.

Will that catch everybody?  Of course not.  But they’re the largest individual group and they’re easy to find, so they’re a good place to start.

Of course, the financial overseers are appointees whose prior and future lives are as executives of major banks, so I don’t expect anybody to look at anything that might be a smoking gun.

This settlement is outrageous. The largest financial scam crime in history has just become even bigger. The administration has sold out to the bankers and has crushed millions of American families. What is next?

My husband and I lost our home during the foreclosure fiasco in 2010, under the exact circumstances described in the complaints against the banks—while negotiating a modification, our home was also being foreclosed upon. No one can repay us for the humiliation and sadness we experienced as our names were published in the small town paper where we lived, and we were forced to move from the home where we raised our daughter. The long term emotional effects have subsided but we still wonder whether our credit will be repaired—one of the supposed remedies the banks were to provide. Has anyone researched this question? It is almost more valuable than monetary compensation.

Thanks Laura for your story. I remained blessed at the ability to maintain my mortgage despite being underwater and current.  But it’s just a matter of time that I’ll no longer want to feel like a renter and walk away..unless I get reduction in principle.

common law private attorney general Chris

Jan. 8, 2013, 4:23 p.m.

Likely another feeble Legal Ruse to CONfuse and RE-Establish vaporized NOT existing: NOTES;
that are determinate to establish precedence to Have lawful Standing in law to Bring the Foreclosure actios they LUST for to Cover their Theft Schemes and Racketeering?
The Lies and Tricks Never cease or desist to provide Legal Cover for FELONY CRIMINAL Malicious Criminality?
Liars Lawyers, Attorney Codifiers and other vile demoniac forms skullduggerous serpents operating a Global Bankster Gangster         cAH Ba’als of Thieves the army of Satan?
May the DEVINE CREATOR prevail in Victory to Save Mankind ? Pray


Jan. 8, 2013, 5:15 p.m.

The “speed” issue is totally bogus; I submitted a very thick file in support of a review back in 12/11 and after 6 months with no action was told no reviews would start until the filing deadline had passes.  The filing deadline was pushed back 3 times due to lack of response.  Of course THAT was due to the banksters using only direct mail to the addresses of the foreclosed homes; duh!
This like everything else associated with this crime of the century is mere window dressing to obscure the fact that the American people and specifically the middle class have been raped and plundered by the banksters.  Seems to me the mafia is running everything now in the U.S.

Like Laura we too had our home stolen. Not one person believed me when we were 3 days late on our payment and received a letter stating that we were no longer in a loan modification an we were being forclosed upon.  When I called and the bank took the payment and I was told ” don’t worry, your at the top of the list for a new modification” stupid me for believing that after paying for my home of 17 years it was.  Coming home a few weeks later to locks on the door and two kids with nothing but what they were wearing is what I got! For a 3 day late payment! Our home was stolen, everything inside, even our animals. This settlement is disgusting.  You know- we would be grateful for an apology letter! To be acknowledged! We can’t even rent an apartment or buy a car because we have no credit. Shame on you for bowing down and makin deals.
Love to all who still drive by your homes like I do to see your children’s footprints in your walkways!

Richard Isacoff

Jan. 8, 2013, 8:27 p.m.

What happens to all the borrowers waiting for the results of the Independent Review? Will the $850+/- each borrower is allotted pay for a move?

The dislocations to the economy would have been much less severe if the PSAs were deemed to be voidable and the investor contracts were not held out as sacrosanct. The Bankruptcy Courts could have adjudicated all of the worthy cases as part of what they do normally. Sure, staffs would have been increased but insignificant cost compared to what we have spent to pretend to help homeowners.
In fairness, some facing foreclosure were helped by the HAMP and other programs but a very small percentage.

Let’s face facts, HSBC just paid a mere $1.6B for taking drug cartel money and laundering it. Oh, and how about the movement of funds to Iran and who knows where else that is embargoed? HSBC was the mortgage lender that was proud to say “We don’t have to do any modifications; we didn’t take any federal money”. I know that was said because it was said to me. The special representative from the Office of the President of HSBC (or some portion of it) called me for an explanation when my comment about HSBC was read in the Amer Bnkr or Washington Post. He promised a thorough review of the 7 cases I sent him. NEVER HAPPENED.

Or maybe we look at JPMC and their modification of a first mortgage w/o considering the 2nd which they had while raising the escrow payments for force placed insurance that wasn’t needed. Or the World Bank’s Pick-A-Pay loans that resulted in foreclosures. Or IndyMac Mortgage, not to be confused by IndyMac Bank, which OneWest bought after IndyMac Bank was declared insolvent, and runs the Mortgage company and owns the loans the mortgage company services.

I any any two other people could have made money, and a great deal of it with the deals the RMBS pools rec’d and the participants in the PSAs profited from and, of course, the BankUnited, IndyMac Bank deals.


Richard Isacoff
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Unfortunately after the foreclosure of our home and working hard to save it, trial mod, denial, foreclosure auction sale dates, BK13, loan mod (2 payments) another denial, Joseph Kiaune from Indymac/one west bank telling us after our home of 17 years was sold at auction “the bank made errors re your loan and that we will rescind the sale and give you your loan mod back. Didn’t happen we were evicted and the flipper who bought our home was never even contacted by one west! We cannot trust the banks anymore,they are liars. Why would anyone want to do business with brazen liars?

I have 4 children and a wife. Was in a trial modification thru bofa. Was told after 3 trial payments, our modification would turn into a permanent modification. After making 8 trial payments- they told us keep making trial payments because they were behind- we received foreclosure documents. Under the independent foreclosure review we fell under catorgory 3A in the financial remediation framework we would be entitletd to $125,000. Now what? What is bofa gonna have to pay me. I could not and still can not rent suitable housing, get a loan, but I was super siked to hear of the $125,000 so I could buy my family a home(in Ga, I could buy a 5 bedroom for $100,000 or less) I cant even get a loan for a pencil and a paper! I did everything right. Made all my payments on time. Was never late while in the trial modification. But im supposed to trust the government now. I would like info on how to sue bofa for what they did to me so if u have any info on lawyers that can help me in Ga qccmoutletmall at gmail. Please, I need the help!

Vote. Throw them ALL out! My “representatives” have done zero for me despite my requests for help. Lost my home of 35 years where I raised four children, double-tracked, home sold while I was supposedly being considered for a loan mod. Completed the “three month trial modification” successfully. I got ONE reply from *one* of my congressmen, thanking me for “your interest in your government”. He doesn’t know where my “interest in my government” is taking me.

I, and all my family have been lifelong Democrats, that’s over now. They can kiss my ass for my vote.

I have much sympathy with the people above who are asking for help. My house will be foreclosed within another year. I have managed to avoid it this far, but it’s just a matter of time. And to be frank, I will be better off afterwards- it’s completely bananas to keep paying on a loan you can never pay off (I would be 93 by the end of my mortgage) and to be paying interest on a balance that is 100k underwater. I have even gotten money from TARP, years after it was provided by Congress, but every penny goes straight to the bank so who is really getting helped? Reduce principal? That’s communism! Trillions to banks? That’s saving our economy! And dream on if you think voting for politicians will help you- you and I got screwed, and it’s final.

What justice has been afforded to homeowners? Most certainly, many of them lack the funds to fight the level of legal representation that these Banks have at their disposal, as in my son’s case. How true are the words spoken by US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black: “There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has”.
Engraved on the front of the US Supreme Court building in Washington , DC is the quote: “Equal Justice Under Law”. Homeowners across this Nation have held on to the promise that our legal system is committed to the fair and impartial treatment of all who seek its protection. The words spoken by Lewis Powell, US Supreme Court Justice: “Equal Justice under the law is not merely a caption on the façade of the Supreme Court building it is, perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system exists…it is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status.”
This is not the case with regards to Foreclosures! Our elected Officials in Washington , Attorneys General, Federal Agencies and Judges who refuse to hold these individuals accountable play as much a role in the destruction of lives in this Country as those whose names appear on the dotted lines of these manufactured and manipulated documents.
In the case of my son, let me emphasize that every attempt to keep his property over the past few years had been exhausted. Bank of America has never played by the guidelines under the Treasury for the “Making Home Affordable Program”. Rather, they sit in smug indifference and defiance to both the letter and spirit of the Law. In my son’s case their deliberate failure to credit his third payment (sent in on a timely manner as required), and yet, deliberately deposited to a vague ‘suspense account’ afforded them time to record the necessary documents in order to facilitate the foreclosure and eviction process.
His story is only one of the many who have suffered deliberate abuse at the hands of these individuals in the name of GREED. Yet where are the prosecutions? These crimes that have been committed are intentional and deliberately executed to the disadvantage of the Homeowner. I ask you again…”Where are the prosecutions?” I am left with the words of William Gladstone: “Justice delayed is justice denied”.
As my son passed through the doors of his home for the last time on September 11, 2012, I have told him, hold your head up high, for you did not fail. Rather it is your Elected Officials and the System that has failed you.
On this poignant date with respect to so many who lost their lives from the attack from outside our borders
I cannot help but think that once again Americans across this nation are being attacked and lives destroyed from “THE ENEMY WITHIN”

I did not submitted the questionnaire to IFR because I did not trust them. The deadline passed.
Now how can I participate in this program just announced ? Kindly share any information to me so
I can help myself and several friends and families. We are still renting room to room after 3 years.
No chance to buy another home even interest rate is 2 percent and house is half price.

” Financial incest”!

Is that 3 billion for the people who lost their homes, or is that the payoff to the investigators that allowed such a giant fraud to basically be ignored via a ridiculously low fine?

Wise Words. We spent thousands of dollars
trying to save our home, did everything and more we could possibly do. All our documents used to foreclose on our home were signed by famous robo signers: Gary Trafford (indicted by a Nevada grand jury in 2011) signed our NOD, Erica Johnson Seck among others. These documents were recorded at the County Recorders Office as legal when they are not but they were used to foreclose on our property because there was no note.
The judges pension fund is directly tied to the securitization of Mortgages so they most likely will rule in favor of the banks.
The “powers that be” have their own agenda and are trying to keep the Pandoras Box closed and locked as long as they can…for now anyway.

S.D., your post was eloquent and spot on and well-taken here.  BofA was also deceitful with us through our modification process.  I think this new settlement is a slap in the face.  And as Laura stated, it is nothing compared to the damage suffered by millions to their credit.  If the regulators really want to insult us with pennies on what we have lost, at least have the decency to expunge the record from our credit history so we don’t have to continue paying damages on the abuse we have taken.

I think after the heartache & stress my family & I went through.  The approximate nominal amount of money they propose to give homeowners is a slap in the face, I would rather have had better communication with BOA, instead of calling for years and getting no one to talk to with any information to calm my fears. I am thankful I received a modification after almost 4 yrs but my mortgage is still extremely high and I ended up sick from all the stress. I’m disgusted w/ our experience w/ BOA!

@ Lihn Le: I’m not sure of this but you may still be able to submit a claim form for the IFR - although the deadline has passed - and it will be forwarded for processing for this new “settlement”.

I think what held everything up and why not one person received an IFR check is because there’s no way to “settle” without admitting the banks broke contract and federal law - leaving the banks wide open for massive lawsuits because the “research” done to pay the settlement is prima facie evidence for future personal suits against banks. Hmmm -how to deal with this dilemma? Just delay delay delay - and lie lie lie then scrap the whole thing and start all over again - but this time don’t call it a “settlement” - call it “compensation”.

Wow - exactly when did this country become lower than a snake? I think I noticed a blatant change somwhere in the mid-90’s. The major corporations in the U.S. have absolutely no fear of the federal government - case in point - on CNN today it was announced that Walmart told Joe Biden to shove off when he requested they send a representative to attend federal hearings on guns and gun sales - but Walmart quickly did an about face when they learned public sentiment is very serious about addressing the number of guns sold in this country. Looks like Walmart may be one of the biggest gun sellers in the country - who knew?  But the about face had nothing to do with sympathy for victims - and everything to do with greed - perhaps the latest lying Walmart commercials aren’t working as well as anticipated. Walmart is a dirty dirty corporation - ditto for insurance and pharmaceutical and telecoms and energy companies and financial institutions - the gloves are off and it’s to hell with everything but fraud and greed. We no longer have a working government - we have a finger in the dike holding back anarchy - for now.

Sheilisa McNeal-Burgess

Jan. 10, 2013, 11:22 a.m.

Until we collectively decide to hold the banks accountable we will continue to be sodomized! This settlement came as a result of them knowing the payouts would bankrupt them once it became public just how many homeowners were defrauded by their deceitful actions. $850? Seriously? I say we should find a team of lawyers willing to go the distance to file an action on behalf of the millions of people who have been victimized. Or let every homeowner put their $850 up to pay for legal fees (that can be recouped when we win the suit!) Until people decide that collectively we are more powerful than individually, we won’t win and nothing will change. I applaud ProPublica for reporting this news, but if you want to help us, help us sue the banks (ALL OF THEM) until we get our rights/homes/credit back. Every homeowner should be made whole, (double for their trouble) and have their credit restored. That’s the only fair action I see in this debacle. Until then… we will sound off on blog boards and wistfully remember the days when we lived in the homes we worked blood, sweat and tears to purchase.

Ronald Williams

Jan. 10, 2013, 12:05 p.m.

Here’s the problem: Leaving it up to the banks to audit is like assigning the Fox to audit the hens in the hen house. I have been screaming bloody murder against JPMorgan Chase Bank since the year 2009. They fraudulently convinced me that they had been assigned by the FDIC to service my mortgage with the late great Washington Mutual Bank. I learned to the contrary and have litigated as such all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The lesson to be learned here folks is do not expect the courts - states or federal - to provide relief from the bank frauds. We presented a comprehensive case to the high court showing a federal judge to have made an Order in our case where the Judge fabricated in it that loan documents exist that conveyed standing for Chase Bank to service our mortgage. In the very near future I will publish a book consisting of ours and Chase’s pleading on my case before the high court. It presenting a clear case of fraud involving not only Chase Bank employees but also the federal judges with trial and appellate jurisdiction of our case. The book will speak for itself since the fraud perpetrated by the banks and judges is so conspicuous. For a copy email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). You will not believe what you read but you will have to.

Excellent idea to sue the banks collectively. We are in. We need a team of Lawyers who have access to unlimited funds, time and will go the distance. Hopefully the Federal Judge will not be corrupt and have some brains. Use the deny
and discover method from livinglieswordpress, Neil Garfield.
You are going up against corrupt banks and their dishonest, unconscionable lawyers who
have unlimited funds, judges in their pockets, use illegally recorded or fabricated documents allowed as evidence. Not even mentioning the precedents.
The present court system now is too corrupt for a fair trial if it ever gets to that point.
What people can do now is spread the truth like Pro Publica reporter Paul Kiel because our mass media certainly is not, they are reporting only what their sponcers (the banks) allow them to report. It is about waking up America as most are ignorant due to the lack of the whole truth in reporting.

... Extremely frustrated, I called the ” independent Forclosure Review” an spoke with a manager.  I asked specifically -  technically there will still need to be a review. As now there is a minitary figure put out there, how will they be determining if a homeowner simply did not pay in their mortgage- or was wrongfully forclosed on?  She said, I don’t understand the question?  I said- you - or whomever, still have to do a review to see how people lost their homes.  I for example was 3 days late on my mortgage payment after 16 years, and came home to locks on my door and a letter on my window that anti- freeze ha been put into my plumbing system that same month. I literally lost my home and everything inside of it. Will hat loss be the same as a person who for example said- I can’t afford this home and I’m going to sit here until they take it?  I surely don’t feel they are comparable. 
Again, she said- I don’t understand what your askin me?
I said- let me guess…. You get to go HOME later.  I cannot because i do not have credit because my home was stolen from me!
She said, ma’am, you can look on the comptrollers website to see if there is any updates.
..... Click.
That’s right, she hung up. 
It’s all disgusting! It sickens me. It’s like sickness date you don’t forget! 11/23/09 thanksgiving day. That’s my date.

I don’t know where to begin with my tale, by liquidating our 401K, we were
able to avoid foreclosure. 2 trial payment, my paper work was never in good order, and or never received. After preventing being foreclosed, CITIBANK attached $2000.00 in additional legal fees to my mortgage payment.( I had to pay their legal fees to their attorney to sue me) Now
after the announcement of the independent review scare, they’re again
offering me to modify my loan. Do I want to do this again?????
My heart breaks for all the families that have suffered at the banks’ hands. Its time for to revolt…..clean office with a big broom…

Absolutely- a 15 yr 401k Loan for a bathroom pipe that was fixed 2 months before they put locks on my house. That doesn’t eat at me every pay check!  And that tax yr they came after me for over 208,000 in excess of what money they didn’t make on MY house they stole and resold!
It doesn’t stop. Not a person believed me- they said that is impossible! Now it’s all coming out! I feel almost free in that someone an see it really happened! 3 years of people saying really- what did you really do? How did you lose your hs over a 3 day late pmt?
- how do they sleep? Karma! Just wait!!!!

karen youngblood

Jan. 10, 2013, 6:01 p.m.

The nightmare with citibank was outright fraud. My home was destroyed in a fire and while we waited for the insurance to settle the claim, they filed forclosure on me and 9 months afterwards citi received full payment for thee mortgage. Low and behold they went to court and filed for summary judgement for the entire loan amount and they got it!  They could have recinded the forclosure but didn’t. They even forced place on a property that no longer existed and added 2,000 to the loan balance !..

karen youngblood

Jan. 10, 2013, 6:16 p.m.

Corection…it was 6 months after filing the forclosure, that they received full payment. They had the funds on 9/2009 and filed the summary judgement on 1/2010. When asked why they went ahead with the forclosure instead of telling the court that they received the entire balance, their response was…” sometimes the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand was doing ” . I was left virtually homeless..unable to rent an apartment, or get any credit. I am now living with my kids because my life has been totally ruined and this mess is on my credit report and they won’t take it off. I have located a lwfirm in philly that handles class action lawsuits. Contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) they are now suing the banks over forced placed insurance.

At this point I suggest each homeowner contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and file complaints regarding their banks/lenders. Our voices need to be heard on this matter. The “Making Home Affordable Program” put in place was meant to help struggling homeowners yet failed dramatically. Now we have the Federal Regulators admitting that the reviews that   where suppose to be a full and fair investigation of the banks was a massive mistake and shut it down???? Homeowners as consumers have been violated in every aspect.

I for one will not stop fighting Countrywide/BOA, MERS and The Foreclosure Mill who was directly involved in recording documents which were ultimately determined to be a forgery of the NOTARY’S signature and recorded 2years after the expiration of the notary’s commission. Initially I thought it may have been negligence or incompetence on the part of this Foreclosure Mill. Now I believe it was a deliberate act to circumvent the Law.

I like to believe that Officers of the Courts are held to their Code of Ethics… and do not participate in any way to “deceptive trade practices” involving documents to initiate foreclosure. Am I wrong?

If we give up without SCREAMING at this point for JUSTICE we have allowed them to WIN. They are all hoping we have been beaten into the ground, so we will all go away and their deliberate crimes will go unpunished.

So far,since IndyMac/OneWest bank would not work with us I have contacted and sent
our docs to the Office of Thrift Supervision
who helped but told me “the banks can do whatever they want” re loan mods.
We were sent a Freddie Mac Backup Loan
Modification packet. We took the packet to
the local UPS store to be notarized, the notary (of ten years)
told us 1 of the 2 notary forms was illegal to sign in Ca. but she signed and notarized the
“CALIFORNIA ALL-PURPOSE CERTIFICATE OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT. We sent in the packet in a timely manner and paid 2 payments which were accepted. The bank did not accept the third payment stating in a letter
that your Loan Mod is denied because it was “not notarized” we have a copy of our signatures from the notary’s journal and also why it was illegal to sign in Ca. Our Lawyer also confirmed it was illegal to sign in the complaint we filed against the bank. The funny thing is we know someone who got the same
loan mod packet went to the same notary and sent in the notary form unsigned just as we did
but he has been paying the Loan mod and is
still in his house for over 2 years now. So what is that about? They just wanted to find any way they could to foreclose on us. I have also written to the president,our local representatives and the AG’s office as well to newspapers and news stations to no avail.
I am now in the process of making a complaint to the local realestate fraud unit re the County Recorders are recording illegal, forged documents that were used to foreclose on our home. We must continue to bring these crooks to justice.

Our home loan had been through Taylor, Bean and Witaker- when they went under in ‘09 we were never told. Three house payments later, a payment was refused. We found out BOA had bought our loan, and not to worry, a welcome letter and payment book would be forthcoming. Two weeks later we got a forclosure notice. Four months behind, because BOA claimed those last three payments didn’t come to them, and they had no idea where they were- so pay up. All or nothing. Hours on the phone with BOA. Send us fifteen-hundred bucks, then you’re caught up. Of course we sent it, then.. mother-in-law calls to tell us she read in the local paper that we’ve been forclosed upon. Now come up with eight thousand or it’s all over in two weeks. Our lawyer said, “You need to give up. You’re going to lose.”  Eight hundred dollars? OMG. I can’t quit crying.

Hi if there is anyone out there going to file a class action pls let me know. Thank you. to here all these sad stories break my heart , I thought I was losing my mind dealing w/ BOA. Truly I was not alone. My intentions when I moved here was completely pure, I never thought that maybe I can’t afford this home, I just didn’t realized that my mortgage would triple when the adjustable rate kicked in, then the market crashed & that’s when work dried up. My home was my-childhood dream that one day i will have my own home.

BOA wrongfully tried to sell my home BEFORE the note had even transferred from the previous bank.We were able to stop the sale one day before it was to be auctioned.
  We had been put on a 3 month trail plan and THEY misdirected our funds to someone else acct. When I called to make a payment they told me I missed 1 months payment and we said no we didnt prove it.We went to our bank and got a copy only to find the BOA had screwed up.We sent PROOF to them and they said they never got the letter.We then had to hire a lawyer and they claimed they didnt get the letter from him either!He had to send it 3 times with a copy of the check.They REFUSED to take a payment from me because they said I did NOT fulfill my obligation.
  I even went to one of their conferences they had and their rep scanned all our info in and said oh our reps made a mistake.Its a simple matter we can fix on our end. Yeah right that never happened after sitting there for THREE hours.
  Thats not all they did they sent out a lockout company that broke into my home. I was on painkillers had just had MAJOR surgery still had drainage tubes in me and they climbed into my window.I jumped up pulling all my stitches completely across my back in the process.I was startled and wasn’t thinking clearly.Their excuse for BREAKING into my home? No one answered the door.Duh my husband was changing my dressings.These people had backed their truck up to my back door and were going to clear us out.
  This has been a very stressful few years for us.I am stressed all the time throwing up a nervous wreck.My hubby is to deploy and I have children that need me.I dont know how much more I can take.
  Today we get a letter stating we CAN make the payments that the bank wants us too and they are denying our government loan mod.The good news is the bank said they will re review yeah right.
  My attorneys generals office told me that out of the thousands of cases they have reviewed ours is the worst abuse they have seen.

Exactly Jeannie! Like I said above- 3 days late in the 16 yrs living in my home- I came home and there were locks on my home and a letter that antifreeze was out into our and Our kids had nothing but what they were wearing! All our furniture, all our belongings, pets! All I side our home! The police could t go in because they said it was a government issue! Completely homeless- had to go to school with no clothes and living in our car. By a soul believed us.
I don’t know how they sleep at night. It’s disgusting! Putting children and families on the street - why? Karma. Karma is a mean mean bitch.

Angela & Jeannie My heart goes out to you
it is horrible that this crime is being allowed to happen here in America. Even though we have been through it and seen first hand in the court, I just don’t understand how people can do this to other people and live with themselves I just don’t get it.
What we did when we found out while still paying a trial mod that we had only a few days before
our home was to be sold at auction we filed a Bankruptcy 13 for an automatic stay which automatically stops the sale. Also you can sue the bank in BK court where you will have a better chance if that is what you choose. Our situation with our BK attorney did not work out so I would suggest doing some research. Find out their experience with wrongful foreclose. Also do not file 3 times as there is a law bk code sec 362 where the trustee can still sell your house while you are in a bk like they did with us. What ever you choose Just know you are not your house and things really will work out. Have faith . We had no money left no where to go and we are ok because we chose not to give our power to people who profit on the suffering of others. Stay positive and strong and keep moving forward step by step.

Thanks for the support Marie. It really does mean alot. I just dont understand how a bank can break into my home and try to sell it when its had not been transferred?Isnt that STEALING? How could this happen? If “I” did this I would be in jail but the big banks can get away with this?
  The simple fact that THEY mis directed funds into anthers account should have been the end to all of this mess.On top of all of this I now am also stressed about losing my home while my hubby is deployed.I know many of you will say they cant do that but trust me from my experience the BOA can do whatever they want AND get away with it. To all you praying people please keep my family in prayer.I know God is supposed to not give you more then you can bear but this is such a heavy burden.

You know it is getting out of hand when families of the military are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by the neighborhood bank.
Is the military helping your family with all this?
What helped me was while we were in court trying to save our home I prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. I also found out what our rights were just so I would know.
What helped me try to stay calm was breath in 7 and breathe out 7 until I was calm which sometimes took awhile but it did help. There is a bigger picture here. Save all your documentation and make copies. Google robo signers check the signatures on your docs and match them. If there is a min# on your docs it is a securitized mortgage which most likely they have no note. Take care of yourself first and a planand then you can take are of what you need too. Good Luck you and your family are in my prayers.

This saddens me. Most of the famiies who did file, knew there were errors and THEY LOST their homes IN ERROR. To have in writing exactly ALL the mistakes done and harm it caused , was going to be some satisfaction. To have the credit fixed, and compensation, more help. To have banks have to change their practices. NOW none of this will be done, and a wronged loss of MY HOME and all the rest, even though was documented and waited for , will reap nothing except, the banks GIVING some people who deserve it mods- and CREDIT for doing that. The ones THEY DID WRONG- oh well!  That data and 18 mos of wait-should be revealed, and we should get what you said we would- BACK THEN!! OCC feds, and my government, has failed me and my family for EVER!!  US BANK is still open doing business the way they did to me, and I lose my home I paid for for 11 years. WRONGFULLY at that!  I no longer beleive the governemet really does want to right this wrong- they know it happended, and they spent 1.3 B and 20 months to then say—okay keep doing what you doing wrongfully to some of our citizens, we are ok with that shameon you: OCC federal reserve, politicians- your WRONGED citizens deserve better!

these stories sadden me because i thought we were alone in our mod story. we were put thru pure hell trying to get a modification. lost paperwork, lies and at one point being given a phone number by the bank to call for assistance which turned out to be a phone sex line. the underwriter called at one point to yell at me for writing and calling the attorney general. i never wanted a free house. just fair and honest dealings with the bank. me and my husband lived in our home 15 years before stealing it from us. i fear this settlement will be more heartache.

Where do I start….my tears I can not hold back…losing a home was the hardest thing my family has gone through… makes me angry how the government is letting these banks get away and not punishing them….the settlement of 3 billion to be shared the same without knowing how each family was affected? Wow! A few hundred dollars? Maybe nothing? My loan paperwork was a mess! I am a victim of mortgage fraud who wanted justice but where can we get help? Any good attorney out there who wants to represent me and others please step up….all I want is my life back! My credit back!

what saddens me most is that ALL the banks are able to do this to homeowners and get away with it. The stories are so similiar with same gredious acts by the banks during the “making home affordable” time frame to supposedly help citizens.  THE BANK NAMES change but the behavior was the same. HMMMMMMM! They all knew how to skirt aorund doing what the MHA asked them to do to help-and got paid then- and now -and with no consequences.. We all know they wronged alotof people on modifications that should have happened, BUT THEY DESTROYED families, dreams, and changed CHILDRENS futures!  They took homes, equities and made more money off homes that belonged to FAMILIES- they destroyed the AMERICAN Dream! with no consequences -just MORE MONEY!!

Sheilisa McNeal

Jan. 12, 2013, 11:34 a.m.

Probublica does a great job of keeping the story alive so our voices aren’t drowned by the news of the day, but it’s up to us to keep making noise.

I implore every responder on Propublica and everyone you know who has been affected or sympathizes with this cause to start using your voice and your pen and YOUR VOTE!!!!

First, let’s not leave these stories here, contact the President at the White House and deluge his office with our voices! He said he cares, make him aware of the magnitude of this situation until he really listens. Here is the URL If you want to write, here is the address: President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20500.

If he and the attorney general, Eric Holder and your congressman (who we know is useless at this point) and the department of the Treasury and whomever else is responsible for regulating banks (The SEC???) hears from millions of us, we can’t be ignored. We should write our local officials too…. the state governors, etc… MILLIONS OF US. And Yes, I’ve already sent my letter to the White House and will cc all of the above in the next day or so and will continue to do so, week in and out until we get national news coverage!. Perhaps ProPublica can help us with that. We have to get millions in support if we want to eventually get a class action suit that we can win.

I pray daily for everyone who has been affected by this injustice, but prayer/faith without works is dead. We have to do something. We need to fight for justice (non-violently!!!!!!! NO VIOLENCE), so that we can be taken seriously.

Don’t give up. No freedom that was ever gained came without struggle.

God Bless America and restore her honor. Let wicked men with wicked schemes come to ruin, not by our hands, but by your justice. Vengeance is yours to repay O Lord and you will restore us, never leave us, nor forsake us. Amen.

Sheilisa McNeal

Jan. 12, 2013, 11:44 a.m.

Tom Cox, an attorney from Maine was recently awarded $100k for being the whistle blower on the robo-signing scandal. Perhaps he will be interested in putting together a team of lawyers willing to work on a class action… I’m going to reach out to him and ask him to read the ProPublica posts. There must be some lawyers out there with the spirit of a Thurgood Marshall who is willing to fight for the disenfranchised. There has to be!

Sheilisa McNeal

Jan. 12, 2013, 12:01 p.m.

I found this article, written byTom Cox and it says nothing will ever change unless there is a collective effort to effect that change.

Tom Cox of Maine—We As Lawyers are Not Doing Enough

Posted about 1 year ago.

After a lot of reflection this past week, I have realized that I am not doing enough. Neither are you.  This is a plea to every member of this listserv to do more.  You can do significantly more without a great deal of additional effort.  Please follow along with me. 

A few years ago, in my “retirement”, I planned to volunteer a few hours a month to help with the Maine Attorneys Saving Homes project. That has morphed into far more than a full time effort that has produced some postive results and attendant notariety.  So, it is easy for me to fall into feelings of self-righteousness about my hard efforts and to see myself as doing the “good work” in the face of the foreclosure efforts of the evil banksters and their foreclosure juggernaut. I have tended to tell myself I am doing all that one lawyer can do to fight the evil empire of the foreclosure industry. 

The decision that came out of the Maine Supreme Court last week in FNMA v. Bradbury, 2011 ME 120, is what is causing me to realize that none of us are doing enough. That Bradbury case was the best shot anywhere in the country at getting a reasonably receptive state supreme court to really do something about stopping the foreclosure fraud that we all encounter on a daily basis. In that regard, the effort failed. The refusal of the Maine Supreme Court to subject GMAC Mortgage to contempt proceedings for its nationwide six-year binge of foreclosure fraud tells me that my naïve belief that the judicial system would be our salvation was wrong. I already knew that a legislative solution was never going to happen, that the regulators are owned by the financial industry and would offer no meaningful solution, and that the attorneys general were not likely to do anything transformational.  So, knowing now that my placement of faith in the judicial system as the ultimate source of a solution is also gone, I realize that we must pursue other approaches. 

According to the Center for Responsible Lending, we are not yet even one half of the way through this foreclosure crisis. Our individual and collective legal efforts during the first half of this crisis have had a barely noticable impact on the foreclosure industry.  If we keep on doing the same thing that we have been doing for the first half of this crisis, we are not going to make enough of a change.  While we need to keep battling in court on behalf of our individual clients, the courts are simply not going to give us a big picture solution.       

One of the blogs that I read regularly to keep myself informed is Mandelman Matters.  Martin Andelman quite diplomaticly pierced my feelings of self-righteousness about my efforts recently by pointing out the truths stated in the preceding paragraph.  He explained how our individual and collective legal efforts will not be enough to solve the problem and how, if there is to be a solution, it will come only come through concerted action. 

Folks like Jamie Daimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, live in rarified worlds that insulate them from seeing the dirty foreclosure industry tactics that their institutions orchestrate and that we and our clients live with every day. They just do not percieve the misery and pain that their banks are inflicting, often unjustifiably, and often callously, on millions of American homeowners and their families. The do not believe that there is enough of an outcry and negative reaction to their banks’ actions to cause them any concern.  Andelman wants to change that and has some good ideas about how to go about it.

Andelman has been trying to organize concerted responses to the misconduct of the banksters. He knows the industry, because he used to work within it, just as I used to do. He is smart, articulate and simply has more energy for this battle than almost anyone I know. On top of this, he got a rapier wit—reading his blog is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.  Andelman is looking for “DOERS”—people who will respond when he asks readers to take specific actions when he calls for help. What he is asking for does not take much time. Some of his requests may even sound a bit hokey, but what have we got to lose by trying them since what we have been doing is not working.  Go to this link for an example of the kinds of help that Andelman asks for from us.  Cont’d

Sheilisa McNeal

Jan. 12, 2013, 12:03 p.m.

Continued from the previous post….

Here is what I am going to be doing to help Martin Andelman going forward and what I ask each one of you to do:

1. Subscribe to Mandelman Matters and read his blog post without fail; 

2.  Send Andelmen an email message (he really wants this) and tell him that you will be one of his “doers” and that when he asks for concerted action, you will participate;

3.  From heren on out, when Martin Andelman asks us to join him in a concerted action, however goofy it may seem do it-that same day (even if it is goofy, it will not hurt you to do it and it will not take much time); 

4. Insist that everyone of your foreclosure defense clients (past and present) who can read and write and who has access to a computer also agree to perform steps 1, 2 and 3 above. That is the least that they can do to reciprocate for the legal assistance that we are giving them, often for free or at reduced rates, and almost never being charged for all that we do for them; 

5.  Ask every lawyer and staff member in your organization to follow steps 1-3 above; 

6.  Think of who else you know—family members, friends, colleagues and others, who might be willing to help, and ask them to commit to performing steps 1-3 above.

If everyone on this listserv followed these steps, we could bring thousands more people into supporting Andelman’s efforts at really minimal efforts to ourselves.  If you know of better ways to increase the impact of our efforts on behalf of homeowners, I’d love to know what you have in mind.  But absent better ideas, we have nothing to lose and maybe a lot to gain by getting behind Martin Andleman’s efforts. If we fail to do this, we are simply not doing enough.

Thank you for being patient enough with me to consider this.


Thomas A. Cox, Esq.
P.O. Box 1314
Portland, Maine 04104
(207) 749-6671

Forward this to any attorneys you know who are working with homeowners in this foreclosure crisis.

I had contacted a lawyer - the only lawyer I could find that has dealt with the ” forclosure crisis”.  He bluntly explained to me that being my funds have been exhausted ( our 401k and bank accounts) re: our home- and now havin no credit because of it.  There will be no way the fight it.  To get a lawyer would be minimally 30k to begin a very long fight and could take years.  He said - they have his this for years, and now the government has basically given the ok that they did it. all my hopes of at least getting my credit cleared from the ” forclosure review” got screwed- and now aparently lawyers don’t even want to touch these cases because we don’t have a leg to stand in because they know we have all the proof and yet still they want it to go away, so they say it disnt happen.

Holy COW. And I thought MY story was bad. My heart goes out to you Nikki and the others who had their homes stolen outright from them. I live in Kona Hawaii and am a survivor of bank abuse. My story starts like all the others. Approved for a Trial Mod by BofA in March 2010, paid for 9 months on the trial… was supposed to be modified after 3 payments, yes? Constant nonsense with lost documents, according to the bank they were lost or never submitted. I submitted docs AT LEAST 10 times. Didn’t matter, they then sent me a decline due to “Missing Documents” immediately put me in foreclosure and issued a sale date for May of 2011…. I paid on the trial for another 2 months until they stopped accepting payment. My first sale date happened to be in the very month that the state of Hawaii issued a change in the foreclosure law. Banks had to use mediators and try to work things out or go judicial. Well, they converted all their foreclosures to judicial, while I kept re-applying, pleading my case. Endured a revolving door of idiotic customer service reps, none of whom could really help. It was at about that point, I read the ProPublica piece of Urban Lending’s whistleblower suit, verifying that HAMP was a sham for the bank and that they had hired this company to decline as many applications per day as they could. (If you haven’t read it, look it up on this site, it’s a fascinating read!)  I finally resubmitted a new package after the National Mortgage Settlement, paid on three trials and bam….was modified… but happened to notice they billed me for two and a half years of their delays and the foreclosure mill attorneys’ fees. The new loan is now much more than the original and I will be 94 when it’s paid off.  The bank robbed me for tens of thousands, ruined my credit (now restored) and caused years of stress and hardship. We had some hope for this new settlement and get jacked again…. How many different ways can you say it? CRIMINAL, CRIMINAL CRIMINAL.

we tried to modify but not in the sense of lowering our loan amount. we just wanted to either put the missing payments at the end of the loan or a balloon payment in a few years we never argued for reduction in what was owed just a little breathing room. we took the loan so we owed it very simple. the loan co said no to the modification and by the way get out.our problems was caused by loss of jobs of us both, surgery for my wife and lower pay on my replacement job. you know what is funny, our rental house we moved into after being foreclosed on cost us 100 dollars more a month plus all the same bills as our home did. go figure

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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