Journalism in the Public Interest

Homeowner Questionnaire Shows Banks Violating Gov’t Program Rules

Mortgage servicers regularly make errors and break the government’s loan modification rules, including giving no reasons for a loan’s rejection, homeowners report to ProPublica.


Homeowners share their stories: ProPublica queried 373 homeowners from across the U.S. about their experience trying to get help.

Mortgage servicers regularly make errors and break the rules of the government's mortgage modification program, according to hundreds of homeowners who responded to a ProPublica questionnaire.

For example, all homeowners who are rejected are supposed to receive a formal denial from their mortgage servicer, according to the program's rules. But 136 homeowners reported that they had been rejected from the program without receiving a formal denial. Additionally, homeowners reported more than 1,000 instances of mortgage servicer errors, including losing documents and giving false information.

ProPublica received detailed responses from 373 homeowners -- all of whom applied to get a modification through the administration's foreclosure prevention program -- and they tell a consistent story. Seeking a modification has been an infuriating, stressful nightmare: a black hole of time lost repeatedly calling an 800 number, faxing and mailing the same documents over and over, and coping with the ramifications of errors made by poorly trained bank employees.

Here's what those homeowners told us:

  • On average, they'd been seeking a modification for more than 14 months. The process is designed to last only a few months.
  • Homeowners seeking modifications reported having to send the same documents nearly six times on average.
  • 175 homeowners say they were advised, incorrectly, to fall behind on their mortgage in order to qualify for a modification.

While our respondents were self-selecting and thus are not necessarily a representative sample of all homeowners seeking a modification, the results give a detailed look at the problems we've been hearing about ever since the modification program launched in April 2009. The program provides subsidies to mortgage servicers, the companies that process mortgage payments and foreclosures, to provide modifications that reduce payments to a set, low level.

Although about 1.3 million homeowners have begun trial modifications through the program, fewer than 400,000 homeowners have received permanent modifications, according to Treasury Department data. Far more have either been denied a modification or have been left waiting months for an answer.


Who responded: Most were still waiting for help. (*This category includes homeowners who said they’d been denied a modification at least once, but were still seeking one. It may include some who were previously in a trial.)

The trials are supposed to last only three months, but have lasted at least twice that long for hundreds of thousands of borrowers. Despite violations of the program guidelines such as the extended trials, the Treasury Department has not penalized any servicers.

The experience, homeowners told us, isn't getting any better. We asked homeowners still in the process if their experience had improved in recent months. Only 47 of 281 said it had. More than 100 said it's getting worse.

Here are the highlights from their responses:

The application process drags on and on. For most, it's lasted more than a year. As a result of the delays, homeowners fall further behind, putting them in danger of foreclosure and making it less likely they'll qualify for a modification. About two-thirds of these homeowners were still current on their mortgages when they began the process, but most have now fallen behind.

Falling behind: Many homeowners defaulted while seeking a modification.

Seeking a modification not only takes a long time, but can be time-consuming. Nearly half of the homeowners reported spending more than 10 hours per month (collecting documents, waiting on the phone, etc.). Most said they call, fax or mail once a week or more.


Time drain: Each month, homeowners spend many hours trying to get help.

Many complained of speaking with an exhausting catalog of call center employees. "Just to name a few: I have spoken with Richard, Sheronda, Krisit, Alyssa, Vanesa, Walter, Eden, Porcha, Donald, Lady, Gary, Leo and Kelly," said Christina Pandora, who is trying to hang on to her home in Center Conway, N.H.

82% of respondents said they don't trust their servicers to make a good-faith effort to evaluate them for the program.

John Mechem, spokesman for the Mortgage Bankers Association, said: "While 14 months can be an extremely long time to a borrower in distress, it also reflects the difficulty of completing a workout." The servicer might evaluate the homeowner for a variety of options, he said, sometimes restarting the process if the homeowner starts down one path and turns out not to qualify.


Costly errors: Homeowners say frequent servicer mistakes complicate the process.

Mortgage servicers not only delay the process, but make a host of errors. The most common problems had to do with servicer mishandling of documents. On average, homeowners who completed the questionnaire have been asked to submit the same documents more than six times. The most common reason for having to resend the documents -- in over 270 cases -- was that the servicer claimed never to have received the documents or had simply lost them. The next most common reason was that documents were outdated. Homeowners frequently complain that servicers take so long to evaluate modifications that the documents become outdated and they must be sent again. That happened in 252 cases. In about 200 cases, homeowners were told their documents were incomplete.

"It's like a bad joke on a version of 'Groundhog Day,'" said Kim Camacho, a homeowner from Arizona who said her servicer has asked for the same documents over and over.

Mechem, of the MBA, said servicers "have gone to great effort and expense to improve document handling to try and avoid this happening." He added that some of the requests and delays may be because servicers have to collect new income information each time a homeowner's circumstances change, such as a job loss.

Servicing employees frequently, and incorrectly, suggest homeowners should fall behind on a mortgage in order to get help. Though servicers and housing counselors agree it is never a good idea to fall behind on your mortgage if you can help it, 175 homeowners reported being advised to do just that.

Servicers often make mistakes that can result in denial. More than 200 homeowners said their servicer had claimed they hadn't sent in documents that the servicer had never requested. Nearly 150 said their servicer falsely accused them of not responding to attempts to contact them, and 135 said a servicer had made an error in calculating their income, perhaps the most important factor in whether a homeowner qualifies for a modification.

The reason for denial is often unclear. Most denied homeowners reported hearing different and sometimes conflicting reasons from different servicer employees for why they didn't qualify for a modification. Two-thirds of those who had been denied -- 174 customers -- said they had that experience.

Under the government program, if a homeowner applies for a modification and is rejected, the servicer is required to provide a written denial, which is important because it allows homeowners to verify the information the decision was based on. But a majority of the respondents who were denied said they never received a rejection letter. Another 15 percent said they got one only after asking for it.

The MBA's Mechem emphasized that servicers have been required only since the beginning of this year to provide written denials and said that there may be cases where a homeowner is not owed one because the homeowner never formally applied for the program. The program rules define a formal application as submitting income information either in writing or over the phone.

ProPublica has been asking homeowners since last summer about their loan modification experience, and we've heard from over 1,000 homeowners. Over the last month, 373 respondents filled out the questionnaire in response to a request we e-mailed to hundreds of homeowners and posted on our site. Thanks to for posting our callout. If you're a homeowner who has sought or is seeking a mortgage modification, we want to hear your story.

Terry Bottalico

Aug. 16, 2010, 9:16 a.m.

in a word: Class action lawsuit! sign me up.

Thank you Paul for this article. I find nothing here that is untrue. The stress of this process is incredible, and still going on. At a new member has just posted they have been paying what they think are “trial” HAMP payments based on only a verbal from Citibank, but the info is posted on the NACA site. This worries me to no end, and is not a good sign for this homeowner. We will help him as much as we can, but I fear he is being snookered. Same old same old from the banks, and now, apparently, also from NACA? We will see.

But again, thank you for this important piece.

laurence c. dahlgren

Aug. 16, 2010, 10:30 a.m.

I have once again recieved a request for the info papers to get a home mod. this is for the 8th time! here we go again!!!!

The Treasury Dept must take action against those banks who violate the terms and conditions of the HAMP Program. Somebody needs to represent the people of the US in the situation, especially since the President made a public request that banks work with homeowners to help the retain their homes!! I never in my experience witnessed such a blantant disregard to the request of an American President!!

Heavey penalties and fines need to be levied against any bank who is in volation!! And, we as citizens of the US to take our business elsewhere after this traumatic period…we need to remember the banks that worked against us…the consumer!!

Unbelievable but true!  The bank continues to refer to me as a “customer” in our correspondence.  Customer???  Then why do I feel more like an inmate in an asylum? I fell two months behind on my mortgage 20 months ago.  Now, thanks to this modification process, I am 22 months behind.  Rather like starting out with a splinter and ending up with an amputation…

I’ve just finished my HAMP loan modification.  It was a rough road, and I experienced many of the problems others did, but in the end, it was so worth it.  Also, at least with my mortgage company, Wells Fargo, I could see significant improvements in the process as time went by. 

For anyone going through this, here is my advice:

1. Understand that your documents become “out of date” after 1 month.  So after you start the program, update and fax in your documents once a month.  Mark it on your calendar so you don’t forget.  It’ll make things much easier for you and the mortgage company. 

2. After you send the docs in, call and verify that they were received.  Don’t just get the name of the person you spoke to, usually they have an ID number as well.  Get that.  Once receipt is verified, verify that all the information they have is correct.  Current mortgage, expenses, etc.  One of the biggest problems I’ve found is incorrect information due to data entry mistakes.  I almost lost my home because someone entered my monthly mortgage payment incorrectly and more than doubled the amount.  Luckily, by having the mortgage rep read off and verify the information they had on file, I caught the mistake.

3. Call once a week to check up on the process and ask if there are any issues or questions that need to be addressed.  I can’t tell you how many times this saved me. As always, get the name and ID of the person you’re talking to.  And if the rep tells you something that goes against common sense, call back and get a second or third opinion. 

Hope this helps!

If you read the directives, as long as the documents are less than 90 days old WHEN SUBMITTED, they do NOT have to be refreshed. The servicers are stalling because every month of delay adds to the borrowers loan balance. The amount added to the balance is the difference between a trial payment and a regular payment. This is basically all interest that is added back into the loan and then interest is charged on that interest for the life of the loan after or if a modification is finally granted. This charging interest on interest is basically theft.
I am one who has never received a denial letter, even after asking in writing, and have been given at least 4 differing reasons for the denial. The last response from Wells Fargo was July 10th, asking me for more patience after 15 months. I finally learned that Wells Fargo had my loan listed as a private mortgage when all this time it should have been listed as a fannie mae loan. They stillcan’t even correct that simple mistake that has cost me at least $4000.

I just completed the HAMP process after “only” 10 months.  My trial payment ended up being calculated as $20 more than my regular payment, and was told that it can’t be determined at this time whether or not my post-trial payments will rise further.  My guess is that they will!
Of course, discussing the fact that this doesn’t make my home “More Affordable” is an exercise in Monty Python-esque absurd futility.
HUD of course is absolutely worthless.  Their counselor told me to go back and negotiate with the lender, which is exactly what I’d been doing for the previous 10 months.

Fidel hernandez

Aug. 16, 2010, 1:19 p.m.

I suppose this information is going to valuable for something. What that something is, is not clear.  Is this information gathering going to yield results for us?

Dennis M.:  I caught that too, but rather than fight with the mortgage company, I just marked a date on my calendar and afterwards, month after month, I re-submitted.  It doesn’t make it right what I had to do, but in the end, it worked and prevented anymore delays.

If the mortgage companies are being so difficult though, you may want to call your Congressman/Senator.  At one point, Wells Fargo made a mistake and they wouldn’t fix it.  So I called my Senator and they had a caseworker who sorted it out in a matter of hours and put the fear of God into the customer reps. 

I forgot to mention that before:  If all else fails, call your Rep, and if the Rep blows you off, call your Senator.

the non-profit housing “counseling” agency I was referred to was beyond incompetent. I resent every cent of tax money that reimbursed this agency for “helping” me with suggestions like “increase your income” and also take in a boarder (prohibited in my neighborhood by HOA.)
These dopes sent me a massive computer file of gibberish that included, among other things, the mailing address of a food pantry about six hours away.
Just a ton of boilerplate junk that was shoveled out to me, along with the “suggestions” so they could close my file and count me as having been “served.”
This is a sham and should be investigated. The banks are not the only pigs feeding at the taxpayer trough - the non-profits are also.

I went through the HAMP process for my condo.  They sent me mod paperwork fairly quickly, but the payment was $250 more per month than I’m already paying!  What’s the point?  What a waste of time…

Delaying tactics from my mortgage company .
We had to file CHAPTER 13

The Congress should come up with a LAW ,to punish Mortgage companies not the home owners,for ruining their CREDIT.

Michael Schwartz

Aug. 16, 2010, 2:35 p.m.

All of you don’t understand banks and their mentality.
The function of a bank is to be paid back, not lend money. They are very nervous about lending money. That’s why they have to be overcollateralized, and charge fees as well as interest.

And, today, when banks can borrow money at close to 0%, and lend it out to the Federal Government at 2 and 3%, risk free, why would they take any of the risks of lending to “uncertain” borrowers?

Banks need to be forced(oh, excuse me!—“given incentives”) to make the loans they should be making, or the modifications they should do. Why not tell them if a legitimate borrower (one who submits papers no more than twice) or loan modifier is not satisfied within 90 days of properly submitted papers/requirements, the loan is interest and fee free for its term, for example. We do/did have “Lemon Laws” , you know.

Right now, the banks only have the “incentive” to stall!  One comment suggested “phone your representative or senator—a good first idea. A good second one would be to join or start a Coffee Party chapter, and put this issue on your agenda , so you have a bunch of people working with you on this. You guys need more firepower!  good luck.

ohh the banks.

they are not going to lend because we are in a deflationary spiral

any home loan they make this year will be under-water next year

likely those who are buying now because they think they are getting a good still are not.

higher taxes, higher unemployment, more defaults, demographic are not painting a good forward looking picture.

If the banks were smart they would do what they could to do the mods. In a way the banks are doing a service to those they deny..sorry but true.

even as i try to hold on the reality is USA is in big trouble it iwll take 20 years if not more for 2006-2008 vintage loans to come back above water.

HAMP: Helping Americans Miss Payments

And the taxpayers are paying 10’s of billions for this.

And the banks are pouring 100’s of millions into your Congressman’s re-election campaign.

Pretty good math on the Bank’s part, don’t you think?

It will be interesting to see how many of these people become “Strategic Defaulters” in 2011. Are the people in this survey “under water” unemployed/under-employed?

With rates in the %3.75 range the “bank” should just refinance for these people.

As a nation we have spent far to much time, effort and taxpayer money from the beginning of bubble to now on “failed policies”... we need to get people back to work soon… or this all will be meaningless.

Anna Gardiner

Aug. 16, 2010, 5:53 p.m.

I really feel the banks are using HAMP as a “bait and switch” scam. Very few homeowners are getting HAMP modifications because the banks have to discount late fees, extend terms and lower initial interest rates, which may help the homeowner but hurts the banks’ present cash flow on paper. If the banks do proprietary loans, they can charge all the fees and charge interest on all the late fees and interest by taking the arrearage and taking it onto the end of the loan as a balloon payment.

That’s what happened in my case. My HAMP trial payment was $854 and the proprietary loan payment they offered was $1875. They actually raised my current rate to 5-1/2% from 3-1/4% saying that they were taking my variable loan and making it a fixed rate. It didn’t seem to matter that my income didn’t qualify for the higher loan amount.

I had to send and fax my paperwork six times over 10 months even though nothing but the bank statement changed but no one could find the paperwork and I had confirmation of receipt in writing! It didn’t matter to Bank of America. Then at the end, they offered me a proprietary loan that I didn’t qualify for. Why all the paperwork?

I’ve been in HAMP Mod. hell with B of A.  Made 4 trial payments, which somehow haven’t been posted right, even had a supervisor working on my file.  Which did no good.  Dropped out of review same day the supervisor was nice enough to take my 4th trial payment & said everything was fine. So now I couldn’t stop the foreclosure date coming 10 days later.  Got lucky and got a different manager who stopped it two hours before the sale. So called State Of Oregon Consumer Div. and Attorney Gen. for help.  They got me to a HUD Counselor (this was a waste of time) and to a personal rep. at B of A, that turned out to be very dangerous.  Re-sent package again. Oh and none of my documents were ever lost, just told I had to start over, no reason given, never told why I was denied, I just went into the “Bermuda Triangle” per my personal rep., lol!  Within one week sent In-House mod., without requesting it.  Told I had two days to accept a higher payment, higher interest rate and $25K added onto my loan, or they would foreclose on me in 4 days. Lucky for me I knew their planned foreclousure would be illegal due to Oregon law, so I just said “NO” and the Attorney General stepped and got my 8/9 foreclosure date postponed to 9/10.  Their legal department now has my file and has esclated my reivew since they now realize I meet all the qualificaitons, duh!  Had I not known the laws in my state & whom to contact I’d be illegally kicked out of my home by now.  Oregon AG’s office is now investigating B of A, hope they get nailed!

Linda - way to go!  It is important to be knowledgeable.  We are sharing information at and invite you to join us.

kenny sellers

Aug. 17, 2010, 8:03 a.m.

I have been trying for 15 months for a loan mod., though i am in a trial mod. right now i don’t have hopes of getting a permanent mod. while they were calculating me and my wife’s income, unemployment and S.S., they increased the S.S. by 25% they said because it is tax free, although on our taxes we had to pay tax on 50% of the S.S., this almost made it impossible to get a decent offer for a permanent mod. after i denied there original offer they decided to re-submit to fannie mae for another offer. (so far it’s been 4 months on this one).

Kenny - what kind of trial are you in?  HAMP or “in-house”.  If your agreement states that you are to make 3 or 4 payments, that’s all the payments you make.  Do not make any more.  There is a member on our forum who had an SS problem….. can’t remember which member, but there is information on the forum that might help you.  I am not sure I understand the resubmit to fannie mae part.  The servicer/bank has full authority to offer a homeowner a mod based on 31% of income.  The old trick “the investor denied the mod” is just that:  a trick.  Most of our loans were put into a trust via a pooling and servicing agreement.  It is that agreement and/or the trust (paper submitted to SEC to allow our loans to be bought and sold on wall street) that has the provisions about the investors and bank’s authority.

Another CHASE BANK Loan Modification Saga:

1. I was laid off in May 2009, right after my 55th birthday, ending a 32 year career at Macy’s.

2. I paid my mortgage for as long as I could, while applying for a Loan Modification with CHASE.

3. CHASE bank moved us to foreclosure rather than process our paperwork within the stated 30 day period.

4. CHASE has made it almost impossible to complete the process.  They have employed the following tactics:

  A. They made it EXTREMELY difficult to communicate with them

  B. They asked over and over, and OVER for the same paperwork, including those that don’t require updates

  C. They told me that we don’t qualify for the Federal Loan Modification program because ours is a 2-familiy house (which of course, a lie!)

  D. They sent a package marked “FORECLOSURE” all over the outside, to me, at my former place of employment, Macy’s, even though this was never a contact address on file with CHASE Bank, and I hadn’t worked there for 10 months!

  E. After I complained in writing, about the FORECLOSURE package sent to Macys, CHASE sent yet ANOTHER package, marked"personal and confidential” in an OPEN, UNSEALED, envelope!

  F. They sent us a written rejection from the Federal Loan Mod. program, stating that we didn’t meet the 31% income/housing cost requirement (which is a lie)

  G. They failed to answer how they came up with that assessment when the NPV input values show that we DO meet the 31% requirement by a HUGE margin.

  H. They failed to send a corrected rejection letter from the Federal Loan Modification program, even though they acknowledge that the stated reason for reject was incorrect.

  I. They put us on a CHASE (not Federal) Trial Modification.

  J. They told us that we probably didn’t qualify for the Federal program because we have TOO MUCH EQUITY in our home, but refused to put that in writing.

  K. They TOLD US THAT THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO KEEP US IN OUR HOME. They ARE trying to mitigate their losses, and that CHASE Bank would prefer we sell our home and pay off our mortgage!

  L. They told us that CHASE will most likely reject us for a permanent CHASE modification because we have TOO MUCH equity on our home.

  M. They failed to answer our repeated, written requests for an explanation of all the items listed above.

  N. They failed to complete our modification after 3 trial payments, as specified and as indicated on the CHASE web site. (I’m making our 5th trial payment today.)

Isn’t it ironic, that a refinance at current rates would make it easy for us to keep our home, but we could never qualify, since I am unemployed, and CHASE bank seems determined to make sure we never get a permanent loan modification.


One of the CHASE web sites states:


      “At JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), we do our best to manage and operate our company with a consistent set of business principles and core values. First and foremost, this means always trying to do the right thing. “

REALLY?  Their actions tell a different story!

JS - we have a member at who sent a letter regarding the trial program, refused to make additional payments, sent an email to sigtarp who stepped in on the member’s behalf and her mod is now permanent.  We will help you.  Chase is definitely one of the worst banksters and yes, it is ironic that it would be easier if we could all refinance at current rates, but then the banks wouldn’t be able to enjoy the enormous profits they are making with foreclosures.  Find the letter on our forum that our member sent to Chase.  I suggest you send it, certified, return receipt requested and get an email to sigtarp.  Sorry you are going through this.

OOPS!!  CHASE DID IT AGAIN!! and again, and again and again….  It’s like the old Faberge shampoo commercial with Farrah Fawcett!!! LOL!! 

Chase is truly the WORST bank in the world to deal with.  I;ve been going through this since Jan., 09.

Ready for this one??  After sending letters upon letters and complaints upon complaints to every letter of the alphabet (including SIGTARP - for which I thank for because without their help, I would’ve given up a long time ago!! ), including my senators, reps, congressmen, etc., my case finally got escalated to the HAMP Escalation Team. Yesterday, I receive a phone call from a Carol Masterson - Chase Exec, Offices in FL - telling me “the notes on your file look very positive and it’s uner review.”  AGAIN. 

Ok - so, my loan is FHA - it’s on all of my original paperwork.  “Really??  FHA??  Oh, well FHA JUST got accepted into the HAMP program about a month ago,”  SO WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THIS 18 MONTHS AGO, CAROL???  “Oh, well, I work here and was JUST told this yesterday.” 

ROUND 12:  Here we go again.  BUT, I’ve sent so many letters and posted my loan mod story here, on beingmiddleclass .org and on so “your case has quite a bit of attention now, Ma’am, so we’ll do everything we can to help you move forward in a positive manner.”  Cool.

“We just need docs A, B, C…”  “No, you already have those docs - check my file.”  “Oh my!  It is a thick one!”  YA THINK????  That’s what happens when you ahve multple copies of the SAME documents!!!!

Keepng my fingers crossed.

The failure of the banks to follow the terms of the AGREEment they signed onto is due to one thing and one thing only.  Their feet are not being held to the fire to live up to what they agreed to.

I’ll tell you this, if you don’t pay the IRS they will track you down and find you and TAKE what you owe, they won’t ask you for it.  If you are guilty of murder or robbery unless you have a really slippery lawyer and the wherewithall to afford his services, your goose is cooked.

Now these banks are breaking their agreement and everyone with the power to do anything knows it. But they don’t care, they have no intention of doing anything because if they did it would already be happening.

Personally, I have decided if I had it to do over again this much-touted “modification” program, I wouldn’t waste 5 minutes on it because its a farce, an April Fools joke that lasts all year.

Face it, the little people, the ones who finance everything, the ones who feed the coffers of the wealthy, are taking it up the back door.  And its going to stay that way.  Congress covers for congress.  Judges cover for judges.  Lawyers cover for lawyers.  Everybody who can is covering for them selves to insure THEIR survival and whatever happens to you or me doesn’t matter for two seconds.

The banks should be required to refund interest paid by homeowners to homeowners in the event of a foreclosure. This will be an incentive for the banks to work with distressed homeowners and discourage them from foreclosing. The banks got their bailouts, and the banks get to follow new/different rules from what was in force when we all signed our mortgages. The banks are not following the agreement they made with the govt to help homeowners. They claim they repaid the loans…but only after they rec’d their lifeline-bailout They keep telling me I have to abide my agreement…but the banks aren’t abiding their agreements - and they get new rules - and it was their reckless behavior that caused this mess.

And also - I agree take back your rights - stop paying interest to these banks - and close your accounts! We are the “customers” and we have been taken advantage of by the banks…close our bank accounts with “too big to fail” banks.

When I was re-reading this article, I noticed a quote from an uninformed rep from the MBA who said a 14 month ordeal trying to get a loan modified is difficult for a distressed borrower, but also reflects the difficulty of completing a workout. 

It certainly wasn’t too difficult for these big banks to originate the loans. I don’t buy this.  If the banks wanted to get these loans modified, they would.  So the excuse that it is difficult for the bank is not plausible.

The MBA rep goes on to say (and remember, the mortgage banksters association “MBA” is the same organization who walked away from a commercial building) the bank evaluates homeowners “for a variety of options, he said, sometimes restarting the process if the homeowner starts down one path and turns out not to qualify.”

The variety is not too complicated. Someone should have explained it to him.  It’s called HAMP.  There’s your option.  What is happening is the banks are NOT offering homeowners relief under HAMP, but rather the family and friends plan of inhouse mods where they stand to make more money.  The inhouse mods include past due amounts (which are waived under HAMP) and adjustable interest rates, the same type of lending that resulted in a housing crisis. 

The Making Home Affordable program is the biggest ponzi scheme of our time and we have yet to see anyone in jail.  Why is that?

I agree Lori, with your postulation.  The Banks agreed to take these steps and they agreed to how long it would take and now suddenly everything is upside down and they lose the papers, the ineptness is ridiculous.  There is no way a company could be that disorganized and survive even with a bailout.  They are dragging their feet.  No mention of an extended modification was made to me, all seemed to be on schedule until I called to make my last payment and then I was advised by phone (wouldn’t you think for a bank this some that something like that would be mailed to your home?) that just “one extra” trial mod payment would be needed as SUDDENLY the thing was so popular that they were busy dealing with lots of new applicants.  What happened to the “one extra”, why no mail notice, why the late payment credits, why was a bank this size caught in an unforseen groundswell of activity.  The answer is it wasn’t.  It wasn’t caught up in anything except treating people like lab rats to see how much abuse they can take before they give up.

Anne - I agree with you that the banks feet are not being held to the fire to live up to what they agreed to.

The reason being, the Treasury Directives and Fannie Mae regulations were so poorly written, I would guess they were written by the banksters.  When I printed the “rules” and read them, I knew there was no way to force the banks to modify anything.  Until legislation is introduced to punish servicers for not abiding by guidelines, severe penalties for non-compliance, nothing will change.

The bank found the loophole (losing documents) to be one that cannot be proved.  This is the same institution that created the complex formula of securitization so it looks like the 1,000,000 homes scheduled for foreclosure this year alone will happen, and probably more.  It is difficult for me to understand why the government doesn’t stabilize the housing market.  If it was stabilized, the economy might have a chance at recovery. 

If the housing market is not stabilized, the old black and white clips of the Great Depression might be repeated, but this time in color.

The banks have been performing this deceitful practice regarding HAMP for years! yet, I see nothing on the Federal Reserve website that demonstrate them investigating??!! Surely, they are aware!

Perhaps a lawyer in this forum can write a protest letter to the Federal Reserve on our behalf and post it on a website such as:

which allows the public to sign! We have to get the message out that we will not tolerate being treated unfairly by the banking industry!

We need to do something and I am in support in addressing this issue and will do whatever I can to change things!.

Its been my experience you must first find out who holds your note.I have tried the loan modification circus and got nowhere.  I lost my job 11/08, and have played the mortgage game with the banks until my chapter 7 (8/10).

I was served with a “relief from stay”, from a bank I have never done business with. PLEASE! Do some research on MERS cases and request a forensic audit of you home.  In a nutshell a servicer bank wants to foreclose on my house but they have no legal standing to do so.

I wish everyone the best of luck.  Lets stand up for whats right the basics: food, shelter and a job.

We have done a good deal of researching MERs and caselaw at —I agree Jennifer and Geanette, there does need to be an investigation of the banks.  Remember when the government announced it was sending in “SWAT” teams to branch offices.  That seems to have gone by the wayside, just like most of what the government has done regarding the housing crisis.

MERs cases are being heard all around the country.  This crisis is not prejudicial.  It has effected the poor, the middle class (what’s left of the middle class), and people who were accustomed to earning six figures.

I am hopeful we can let our voices be heard in November.  My state senators vote in favor of the banks, the rich.  I will retaliate using one of the best methods I have:  the right to vote.

Bankruptcy judges can modify loans on rental homes, but not on a person’s residence.  Congress can change this law in 20 seconds to enable judges to modify all home loans without the ridiculous hassle from the mortgage companies, so that 100% of people can modify instead of on 13%.

Rex - they tried this not too long ago.  The Republicans stopped the cram down bill.  You are so right.  If a BK judge had the authority to modify a home loan, the housing crisis would start to stabilize.  But the problem with the cram down legislation is the banks would not be able to continue what they are doing:  raking in millions of dollars by foreclosing.

I often wondered what would happen if everyone stopped paying the mortgages and their credit card debt.  We can’t seem to get the attention of our politicians.  Maybe we’d get their attention if a movement like that were to happen.

Class action lawsuit? Where do I sign up?

Can’t believe Obama would axe GM’s CEO but allows the banks’ execs to glean billions in bonuses. Dear God, what a terrible way to run a railroad!

Where are those class action a$$orneys? 

You would think that they would see the opportunity to collect a hefty fee from the cases settling.  Maybe they are waiting for cases to go to trial, setting precedents and then start massive class action lawsuits.

9 months of lost paper work and many outragous lies with Bank of America.  I have been told,I have not submitted paperwork that I submitted 6 times through the Fed ex and fax!  I have made 8 modified trial payments and my credit report shows that I am 8 months behind on my mortgage payments.  I now owe over $6000, which if they deny me I will owe at once!  When you pay the trial period payments they keep track of the difference between the modified payment and your original payment.  forced forclosure anyone!!???  It’s nice to read the other comments, I least I am not the only one they make feel like a crazy person!  I have never seen anthing more shoddy and unprofessional.  I feel so helpless

Rachel - what trial are you on?  Is it HAMP or an in-house trial?  How many payments does it state in your agreement that you are to make?  Please feel free to come over to We are sharing information and helping each other.  You’re right.  When you pay the trial payments versus your regular mortgage payment, they keep that money in a suspense account.  Once a full payment is accumulated, then they are suppose to apply it to your account.

Pretty sneaky little banksters.  They like to tell a homeowner they are qualified for HAMP, put them on trial programs, some verbal trial programs which a homeowner should NEVER do, and then after several months, tell the homeowner they do not qualify, lie about an investor denying their request (most investors do not have authority to approve nor deny a modification) and then send a notice of intent to accelerate aka pay up or foreclosure starts.

The abuse of TARP funds should be considered criminal and I would like to see the Special Investigator General of TARP start prosecuting these white collar criminals.

The issue, as I see it, is LENDER MENDACITY. From 16 months of dealing with GMAC I have learned that GMAC designed its HAMP application process expressly to deny loan
modifications to at least some HAMP applicants. GMAC realize its intent to deny by replacing HAMP¶s (already and unaccountably virtually inaccessible) guidelines with GMAC¶s own completely arbitrary guidelines and then by training its thousands of customer service agents to (deceptively) present GMAC¶s denial-driven guidelines to HAMP applicants as HAMP guidelines. It is this deception, incessantly repeated by GMAC agents, that constitutes the mendacity of GMAC¶s HAMP process.


I was laid off May 2009.  I had an 800 credit score.  I surrendered my 10-year old life insurance policy not only because I could not afford it but also because I needed the money.  I have been having incredible problems finding a job that pays enough to make ends meet.  I knew I was running out of money early this year & tried the Making HOME Affordable program.  My bank is JPMorgan Chase, and the investor is Freddie Mac.  According to Freddie Mac’s guidelines, I had fit right into their eligibility requirements.  BTW, my monthly unemployment income is $1616 and my monthly espenses average $1800 - and I have no savings!

So, I sent in paperwork to Chase, certified & return receipt.  They got it.  Then, I got a letter from them asking for MORE paperwork.  I sent it, certified & return receipt.  They got that.  Then, I got another letter asking for more papers - some of which I had ALREADY sent it.  That’s when I called 1-888-995-“HOPE.”  They spoke with Chase & the Chase rep said my paperwork will be going to the underwriter.  And it did, but later than what the rep said.  I finally got a letter that said I was being denied because I was not 60 days late and that it was determined that I was no in imminent danger of defaulting on my loan.  I went through one of the housing counselors who also conferenced called Chase, and this different rep said I was being denied because I did not have a death in the family, etc.  Why the different story from what was sent to me on paper??????  Then, their Advocacy Group said that I was denied because I did not prove I had 9 months of future income

The next month, I didn’t have enough money to make my payment.  Unemployment leaves me $528 left to pay all my bills, car repairs, doctor bills, and anything else.  This is not enough!  So, I had to be late with my payment.  I couldn’t pay it until this month.

Then, I get my mortgage statement & it said I owed 2 months plus late charges, even though they cashed my check.

I called the Advocacy Group back, and the lady said that I will have to prove 9 months of income.  While I’m unemployed & can’t find a job????  What is she thinking?????

I told her that the denial letter said that I was denied not because I couldn’t prove 9 months of income but because I was not 60 days late and I showed no imminent danger of default.  She said that I am technically late this month, so that equals 30 days, and that I can re-apply with them again for a loan modification in October.  Whatever happened to HAMP????? 

This is my HOME.  MY HOME.  If they foreclose or short sale, doesn’t the government pay them a percentage for what money was lost?  I owe at least $70,000 more than my house is worth.  Therefore, Chase will get almost what my note is, plus what any new owner will be paying.  Why wouldn’t Chase try everything they can to NOT help me stay in MY HOME?????

Steve, I have come to the same conclusion as the one you appear to have arrived at if I understand you correctly.  I believe it is no accident that so many people are being turned away.  I may take it a step further and say that I believe that the incompetence I have experienced trying to deal with Bank of America is no accident, its planned incompetence.  It defies logic to think that a company could operate with EVERY SINGLE CALL I make being misdirected, transferred etc.  No one ever knows the answer to my questions its always something that is “unfortuntate”.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked and it always starts “Well unfortunately” I don’t know, I can’t answer etc.

By chance, if there is anyone out there competent at all just by the numbers eventually you/we would have talked with that person and I never have.  Which leads me to believe that this is planned.  I don’t believe there is no one competent there, they manage to get their paychecks, to get their bonuses from the government for however many “modifications” (which oddly as in my case don’t solve a damn thing) they put through.  So if they somehow manage to pull their heads out of the A#S for that, then it would follow there is someone available to help us and there isn’t

Anyone who isn’t involved in this, who is just going by what you see on TV, is going to say someone like myself or you is either a histrionic person or maybe even crazy/persecution complex, etc.  But I don’t see us having a persecution complex because I freely acknowledge I’m not the only one its happening to and I don’t think people with that malady see it applied to anyone else.

This is planned to frustrate and deny.  Every blue moon, a modification goes through and I have just found that (miracles do exist, praise be) I got my modification.  If I stopped reading the letter they sent me at that point I’d be a happy camper the problem is if you read on you would see they tacked $3,000 onto my principal balance and $3,000 to be paid after I pay off the main balance and also that my payments are going to be higher than what I paid before and they don’t even include insurance which is supposed to be what it is.  A formula for figuring the whole thing out so you have one payment covering it all and its Making Home AFFORDABLE.

Why would I have gone through these two years of hell to come out with a payment that is higher than what I originally had.

I’m one of the ones they “granted”, that is if I sign it and at this point in time I don’t think so.  I’ve got lots of research to do for sure.

Responding to this ridiculous self-serving statement:

John Mechem, spokesman for the Mortgage Bankers Association, said: “While 14 months can be an extremely long time to a borrower in distress, it also reflects the difficulty of completing a workout.” The servicer might evaluate the homeowner for a variety of options, he said, sometimes restarting the process if the homeowner starts down one path and turns out not to qualify.

I’d have to ask Mr. Mechem if when he got his bailout money if it took this long and if they dangled a carrot and then took it away, restarted the process, changed this, uhoh that. 

No.  They marched right up to the capitol and took their reward home and then in complete and arrogant disregard to the taxpayers who paid it, they collected their ridiculous bonus checks and took vacations to someplace warm and sunny.

That statements infuriates the hell out of me.

I’ve done my fair share of groveling over the past 2-3 years in this whole thing.  When I started out I was current on my mortgage.  Not anymore and partly because of their actions and mandates.

They on the other hand have not acted in good faith and it was their own financial malfeasance that caused these problems so why am I, why are WE the ones groveling?

We’ve been going through this for 16 months.  We were aprroved for the HAMP trial program with Wells Fargo in September 2009 and started our 3 month trial payments in October.  After that, we were told to keep making payments because it was still “in review”.  So we made a total of 7 payments when they told us we were denied the HAMP loan due to “Investor Guidelines” whatever that means.  We never received anything in writing.  They told us to reapply so we sent all the paperwork in again and made 3 more payments.  In July, they sent us a letter of denial saying that we have additional liens against our title.  We do not and until we proved this to them, they refused to even consider an in-house mod.  After reviewing the documents we sent them from the county clerk office proving that there are no additional liens against our title, they put it back on the table for an in-house mod.  We then received a second letter stating that this loan was also denied due to the additional liens against our title.  We told them that we didn’t and had already proven it.  We asked who the additional lien was with and were told they did not have that information and would ask someone in the loan modification department.  We called back later and were told we were denied the loan due a new rule that took affect in Texas in June called the “Texas Cash Out Policy”.  Has anyone heard of this?  It states that if the amount that needs to be modified exceeds the original amount borrowed, you are automatically disqualified.  When we started this process 16 months ago, we actually had some equity in our home.  Now the amount exceeds the original loan by about $5000.  We have contacted our congressman and an attorney who has told us that they have committed fraud and will take our case.  We’re just hoping he’s right.

To Anne:
Don’t take the modification, it is a “bait and switch” in-house, it is NOT HAMP.  Just say “NO.”  They are trying to trick you into accepting it.  I said no to my insane B of A in-house modification because I knew they were violating HAMP guidelines, federal and state laws by offering it to me and threatening me with foreclosure if I didn’t accept it in two days. Contact your state’s Attorney General office, hopefully like in Oregon they are on this and will force them to stop their fraudulent activities. 


Laura- Please please tell me what you’ve found out! I’m in TX also, Denton actually. I’m on the end of my divorce so neither of us can afford another attorney for this total bs thanks to CitiMortgage! I haven’t heard about this new law, but I had heard of 13 Texas homeowners suing Bank of America over at I’m still building my case…we had equity as well, plus over $3k credited to the escrow account before they pulled the big fat one with a default notice and intent to accelerate on May 13, with the HAMP denial May 14. Seems they had that backwards?! Please email me: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), my case sounds about the same as yours…and I want to fight! My house is scheduled for sale at auction Sept. 7th, and you know how generous TX Law is…

@LindaRae, thank you for the tip I’m going to read again what they sent me.  I was seriously considering not signing it just based on how its NOT AFFORDABLE, lol, if there is any lol in this, giving someone a new AFFORDABLE payment that isn’t affordable.

I was in “trial modifcation” for 7 months, the purpose of which was to see if I could sustain those payments while they (ostensibly) did their thing.  So it does not make sense that their long-awaited modification would be more than that.  I can’t remember what I said above, I’ve written so much here and there my mind which is normally pretty sharp get confused and I think that is part of the PLAN.  To confuse, frustrate, yada yada, but NOT to help.

But I am still paying my home insurance myself and so correct me if I am wrong but I thought the HAMP modification was to include all escrow items, taxes, ins, etc.  They have never asked me how much my insurance costs but they swooped in ahead of me and paid the taxes.  And I really question that, I mean the time for paying them was still open and so it seems to me they should have asked me but I don’t know anymore.  But if the payment is to include everything and this doesnt then my payment would not meet the HAMP guidelines as I understand them.

There is no computations included about how they came up with the magical figures they have but if I find out that this is a ruse then I am going to be even more ticked than already.  If those people actually tried to help rather than deceive we’d all be better off.

The story is always the same, I read it over and over again, the frustration of trying to reach someone only to be passed around and end up where you started.  They can’t be that inept and still in business so I believe it is part of a plan to deliberately confuse and frustrate and keep off balance.  And the government is letting this go on.

I’ve got all sorts of resources to check out so much so that I could spend every waking moment on the internet searching, there is certainly enough information out there and a lot of it is about their duplicity and not good-faith “work” on our part.

The public who is not directly involved in this buys into the propaganda they put out that they aren’t making the mods because we don’t follow through.

Everytime I think its impossible to be more disgusted with these earth worms they prove me wrong.

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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