Journalism in the Public Interest

Were You Forced to Waive Your Rights to Get Help?

ProPublica recently learned of several cases where mortgage servicers required homeowners to waive their rights as part of an agreement to avoid foreclosure. In these cases, contracts provided by home mortgage servicers included clauses requiring borrowers to waive rights or state they had no defense to foreclosure.

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It's hard to tell how widespread this practice is. In some cases, mortgage servicers insert ambiguously-worded clauses that could later limit a homeowner's defense to foreclosure.

Here are just a few examples of the clauses we found deep in the fine print:

Do any of these look familiar? If you have signed a forbearance or modification agreement, please take a close look at the fine print and then share your experiences with us. Simply email me with the subject line "Waiver clause."

Dear ProPublica,
My story is different. Our fortunes changed last year and my spouse found a job in Egypt. Once he started the job, we negotiated with our bank to catch up on our loan. We had to sign a contract that stated if we fell behind, the bank had the right to start foreclosure proceedings. As luck would have it, the project he was working on fell apart. His bosses worked for the oil ministry and they all got fired. My spouse ended up flying home about a month before the revolution with no clear idea of whether the project would be started up again. My spouse was back on the unemployment line. As a result of his unemployment and the fact that I don’t make enough money, we ended up falling behind on our payments.

However, my spouse found another job in San Francisco. Now, we are renegotiating with the bank to keep the house. We are in limbo at this time. The bank, PNC, is in the process of reviewing our situation and will decide if we are eligible for a repayment plan. We were already turned down twice for the Making Home Affordable plan. Of course, we expected to be turned down. The program is a joke. Well, that’s our story. Thank you for reporting on the foreclosure crisis. It’s nice to know that there are people still left in this country that actually care about other people.
Best Regards,
Claudine Clarke

I was approved for a modification from Countrywide (BOA) in November of ‘08 after submitting hardship letter & financial documentation including paystubs & tax returns under the HOPE” program.  Took only about 2 months for the modification approval from Countrywide.  Paperwork from Countrywide was 4 pages, 2 of which are comprehensive statements of waiver of rights to sue.  Not included are amorization schedules & other required documents like 3 day right of recission, etc.  that being said, what I do have appears to be th “wet/blue ink” original of the mortgage modifications, although not witnessed at all (SC requires 2 witness to notorized documents).

Long story longer, I was literally forced into bankruptcy (not foreclosure) after paying an additional 8 months of what turned out to be a modifications specifically designed to fail.  Additional fees were added after the fact like previous insurance/taxes they OOPS! forgot to include in the modification.  Mortage now approximately $1,000 more a month than previous.

Losing my home (not just a house), lost both my fairly new vehilcles, etc. and having a hard time even talking to anyone who will rent to someone who has file for bankruptcy (they’re requiring verification of income higher than the mortgage payment!).  I am working & have income, just not enough.

I am currently preparing to sue Countrywide/BOA for predatory lending, violations in TILA & RESPA, etc.  However, currently the Senate & Congrss is negotiating “The Banks” further forgivness of outright fraud with regards to securitization & motage fraud.  Again…the banks will always come out the winner.

In my humble opinion, the only way to bring the banks to a screeching halt, would be for ALL AMERICANS to refuse to buy or rent a bank owned property….they want it, let them have it, but don’t reward or support their fraudulent practice. Most likely, if you buy one of these properties, the clear title owner will never come to light with the govenment protections. This will have to be a grass roots committment, because our government will continue to protect them.  Let them sit on their ASSets!

Buck O'Connor

May 9, 2011, 2:34 p.m.

Sure agree with Katherine about refusing to buy property from these blood-suckers, but we’ve attended 2 auctions so far scheduled on our house (both postponed) and there seem to be lots of greedy people out there who are unconcerned with Karma.

Our own act of quiet subversion hs been to close ALL accounts with The crooked US banks and instead open them in Canadian banks like TD (Toronto Dominion). We won’t even use BoA ATMs.

Donna Steenkamp

May 10, 2011, 9:33 a.m.

HSBC included a clause in a forbearance agreement as well waiving all our rights to sue them and gave us only 72 hours to respond.  It was served to us via FedEx late Friday afternoon giving us no time to even have a lawyer review it.  We did not sign it and have filed a ProSe suit against them in Fed court here in Colorado. After talking with over 15 attorneys/firms, I learned that I knew more about this subject than they did!  It was also proven in court when I had my first hearing.  I have been studying this issue for over two years extensively.  I know the case law part but am having a hard time with the federal court procedures.  Does anyone know where I can find a “coach” to just ask questions about that?  The judge has been very kind and patient with me thusfar but I would like to present my case properly and quickly.

Thanks for the great article. We have been offered and refused to sign on two loan mod offers last year from BofA, partly due to the following paragraph:

“In consideration of this Modification, Borrower agrees that if any document related to the Security Instrument, Note and/or
Modification is lost, misplaced, misstated, inaccurately reflects the true and correct terms and conditions of the loan as
modified, or is otherwise missing, Borrower(s) will comply with Lender’s request to execute, acknowledge, initial and deliver
to Lender any documentation Lender deems necessary. If the original promissory note is replaced the Lender hereby
indemnifies the Borrower(s) against any loss associated with a demand on the original note. All documents Lender requests
of Borrower(s) shall be referred to as Documents. Borrower agrees to deliver the Documents within ten (10) days after
receipt by Borrower(s) of a written request for such replacement.”

Another reason was that after paying 3 months of “HAMP trial mod payments” with no documentation given us, we were denied, then reapproved under their “proprietary program” which started at 40% of our income jumping to 55% of our fixed income. They told us “reapply”; and 4 months later we were given an almost identical offer, except $50 a month more.
It has been 36 months this month since we missed our 1st mortgage payment in over 30 years. And still no sustainable offer. We are convinced this is a Wall St./BofA “business plan” NOT incompetence nor overwhelm.

Waiver clause

We refinanced using the Making Home Affordable plan through Wells Fargo. There were similar waivers in the agreement but the most shocking was a waiver of certain constitutional rights. Is this even legal?

Faye Permenter

May 13, 2011, 10:34 a.m.

In the State of Georgia.  December 2008 loan closing.  Refinance to reimburse for complete renovation of residential property.  Used a “loan broker”, had excellent credit, work history, income to support loan and based on the lender’s appraisal of $500K home borrowed $400K.  Note, we had over $650K in the house, purchased for $350K (during ‘07 peak) “as is” and put in over $250K in renovations.

In our note:
#9. I and any other person who has obligations under this Note waive the rights of Presentment and Notice of Dishonor, “Presentment” means the right to require the Note Holder to demand payment of amounts due.  “Notice of Dishonor” means the right to require the Note Holder to give notice to other persons that amounts due have not been paid.

Appears to be a “tabled funded loan” by a pretender lender. We were told we were “A” rated borrower.  Yep, we’re a MERS loan.  Bottom of note reads:  MULTISTATE FIXED RATE NOTE - Single Family - Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac UNIFORM INSTRUMENT     Form 3200 1/01.  IDS, Inc.  VMP-5N (0207).01

Only husband signed note…both of us signed security deed.  We are current on our mortgage but want to sell and are concerned the MERS issue will prevent us from having clear title or getting the best price…home is now worth less than the mortgage…we are starting to determine our options.  Lost our retirement nest egg through this mess, need to rebuild & lower our cost of living to accomondate what looks like will be a retirement without social security or medicare.  It is a Freddie loan w/Wells as servicer.

Did we Waive our Rights?

* Allegations Deutsche Bank filed false documents

* Inquiry could affect foreclosures across United States

* Testimony demanded from Deutsche Bank officials

By Scot J. Paltrow
NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - A branch of the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) filed false documents and attempted to mislead a bankruptcy judge in a foreclosure action.
Although the investigation involves the case of only one homeowner in Connecticut, a court document filed on Jan. 26 by the United States Trustee’s Office said it wants to elicit information about Deutsche Bank’s practices in general in foreclosure cases.
The inquiry involves Deutsche Bank National Trust Co, the Deutsche Bank unit that acts as trustee for thousands of trusts that invested in mortgage-backed securities. The U.S. Trustees’ Office is a division of the Department of Justice responsible for overseeing administration of bankruptcy cases.
In recent months, the office has stepped up efforts around the United States to block banks and law firms from using false or fabricated documents in home foreclosure actions. The effort follows disclosures in October 2010 of large-scale “robo-signing”, the mass signing of foreclosure affidavits containing “facts” that had never been checked, and wide production of false mortgage assignments.
The Jan. 26 court motion stated that “The United States Trustee has reviewed the documents filed by Deutsche in this case and has concerns about the integrity of those documents and the process utilized by Deutsche in” filing to foreclose.
Jane Limprecht, spokeswoman for the U.S. Trustee’s office, confirmed that the examination was part of a nationwide effort begun by the office in recent months to investigate suspected improper actions by banks and other mortgage servicers in foreclosure cases.
She declined to comment on the specific examination of Deutsche Bank in the case.
April Charney, a Florida legal aid attorney who represents homeowners in foreclosure cases and who is an expert on mortgage securitizations, said that aside from possible sanctions against Deutsche Bank in this foreclosure case, the results could have significant effect on Deutsche Bank’s practices in general, and on its ability to foreclose on large numbers of homeowners in default.
Lawyers for homeowners in foreclosure have alleged similar practices by Deutsche Bank in cases around the country.
Charney said the evidence elicited in the inquiry could apply to many other Deutsche Bank foreclosures by putting the bank on notice that its practices have not been legal, and that it may lack the basic authority even to bring many of the foreclosure cases.
The document said that Deutsche Bank never presented evidence in the case that it was ever authorized to serve as trustee for the trusts.
Mortgage assignments are needed to prove that a trust owns the mortgage and has authority to foreclose, but in many cases banks that originated the mortgages never gave the trusts the required assignments. The inquiry also could have an impact on other banks that act as trustees and mortgage loan servicers, if it establishes that the type of procedures used by Deutsche Bank were illegal.
The document was filed in federal bankruptcy court in Connecticut by Tracy Hope Davis, the U.S. Trustee for New York, Connecticut and Vermont.
The case involves Tiffany Kritharakis, a Norwalk, Connecticut, homeowner who filed for personal bankruptcy in June 2010. It seeks an order requiring Deutsche Bank to provide officials to testify in the inquiry, and making it turn over large quantities of documents, including on Deutsche Bank’s policies for handling foreclosure cases.
Davis’ motion states that Deutsche had filed to foreclose even though it had no proof that MAC Mortgages, the originator of the loan, had ever given ownership of the mortgage to Deutsche as trustee for the investors’ trust.
It cited evidence that Deutsche had filed a false mortgage assignment in the case in an attempt to persuade the bankruptcy court that it owns the mortgage. Dated June 11, 2010, the assignment was by Sand Canyon Corp. to Deutsche.
Sand Canyon purportedly had acted as an intermediary between the loan originator, MAC, and Deutsche. But the motion noted that Sand Canyon had completely exited the mortgage business in 2008, and so in 2010 had no mortgages that it could assign.
It also alleged that the foreclosure action against Kritharakis was filed by a Texas attorney who is not licensed to practice law in Connecticut, and said there was no indication that the lawyer had made any effort to determine whether Deutsche had legal standing to foreclose.

Go to and educate yourselves with regards to pervasive (covered up by banks), fraud regarding mortgages and foreclosures and modifications!


(from “anonymous” on

The only investors who put up any money for subprime trusts — were collection rights debt buyer “investors.”
The security pass-through tranches for cash flows were retained by the security underwriter. And, these pass-through tranches were based on fraud — these were NOT traditional MBS securities. Only received higher credit rating due to the support by the bottom-feeder “investor” debt buyers — who purchased collection rights — dirt cheap.
Security investors in these bogus trusts (repackaged into CDOs) — were never the creditor — and did not blindly invest in high risk pass-throughs — they chased high yields — at American homeowner expense. Without these high yield chasers — subprime securitization would never have come to market. Biggest demand for these “securities” — came from foreigners.
This is not to say that valid MBS security investors did not suffer. As the market collapsed due to the subprime fraud — all were brought down.
But, again, security investors are not the creditor — as security investors NEVER lend any money directly to any borrower. This is not the way it works. No SECURITY investor funded any mortgage. And, only debt buyer “investors” funded the refinance of subprime collection rights — fraudulently used in false securitizations. This is what collapsed the market. But, then again, the economy had been driven by this fraud for years. Of Congress would promote — and regulators turned a blind eye. .
Subprime securitizaton was a huge disaster. And, the fraud started — at origination.
We have been programmed to believe that the crisis was fraud upon “investors.” When it was the very debt buyer investors that perpetrated the fraud. There is a BIG difference between “investors” and “security investors” — IT IS NOT THE SAME.
Until the public realizes this — we will remain in a rabbit hole.

What does all that mean? That your foreclosure is ILLEGAL.

Just to continue the discussion, I keep hammering away at blogs and so forth to educate people that we are not a bunch of deadbeats that got into bad mortgages. In my case, he lost his job and my income shrunk. We had a fixed rate mortgage. However, I have found that among some people that is what they think. They believe we should just all lose our homes and be done with it. Unfortunately, these small minded people don’t realize that all these foreclosures are affecting the housing market by depressing prices and their ability to sell their home at a fair market value. Of course, there are plenty of media outlets perpetuating these myths that distressed homeowners deserve to lose their homes because they are bad people who can’t manage their money correctly.

What really burns me up about my case is that our mortgage was originally with National City. National City was denied TARP funds by our government. However, PNC got TARP funds. They used their funds to buy out National City. I thought these funds were supposed to be given out to banks that were in distress. That was not the case. Why didn’t National City get those funds and why did PNC who obviously didn’t need the funds get them instead? Hmmmm?

Moreover, the moral giants at PNC laid off almost 3,000 National City workers. Why was this allowed to happen? Yet, our government continues to do very little to these banks. Let’s face it folks, we’ve been sold out to the highest bidder. The government does not care about us and is not going to do anything about the housing crisis. It’s all lip service. I just take it day by day and no longer care about whether they take my home or not. It’s just a house to lay my head. It can be replaced, but renting seems to be the way to go. I don’t ever plan on buying a home again. I know I have to pay rent, but I like the idea of being able to move when opportunities arise. In my opinion, owning a home keeps you trapped in one place.

First of all, Phil Miller, I’d be interested in comparing notes about BOA if you don’t mind.  If so, please respond to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Great article.  I had the same wording in my BOA HAMP offer of permanent modification that Phil Miller had.  It also stated that this agreement will “amend and supplement the (1) Mortgage or Deed of Trust on the Property and (2) the Note secured by the Mortgage.  The Mortgage and Note together, as they may previously been amended, are referred to as the “Loan Documents.”  Capitalized terms used in this Agreement and not defined have the meaning given to them in Loan Documents.”  This wording seemed to say that this new contract would replace the original Note and that the two entities (the Note and the Mortgage, which may well have been separated, would now be treated as one document as provided in this modification).
I had 6 days to read this over and sign two copies and I had up to 15 phone messages a day from the bank wanting to send a mobile notary to my house to have me sign the papers.  I called several attorneys to look this over but didn’t get a call back in time and I was very leery of essentially signing a new contract with a known corrupt entity.  I fear I may have lost my only opportunity to an affordable solution to save my home but with such limited time and no legal advice, I didn’t feel I had all the information to make an informed decision.

Melanie Thomas

May 30, 2011, 1:59 p.m.

We live in Utah, and are 4th in the NATION on foreclosure’s. I started a rally here to help put an end to this huge crisis for all of us across the united states. My husband and I were told by Bank Of America that we qualified for the modification and then NEVER sent our paper work in to the right department. The loan officer said he sent everything in and put the paper work in to stop the foreclosure and then after We kept calling and calling, We found out he did NOTHING. Our home went up for auction on May10,2011. We even told him that we have a severely disabled child that has life threatening medical problems and he still did NOTHING. Our son’s doctor sent BAC a letter telling them of our child’s medical needs and problem’s. Truly makes me sick. Our Attorney General sent a letter to the president of BAC and now were ALL just waiting for a response from BAC. The rally were having in Utah is going to be at the Federal Court Building located at 350 south main at 1:30pm, there will be a court hearing on that same day at 2:30pm. So far We have 500 people attending the rally. Our attorney’s are doing everything they can to help all of us.. I just hope and pray we can ALL win this huge illegal foreclosure crisis going on everywhere…

I hope these rallies spread across the country. I’m glad that people are fighting these banks. Many of these banks took tax payer money, TARP funds to be exact, to help them balance their books. Now, these same banks are in a foreclosure frenzy. Our government has failed us. They’ve put banks over people and it’s not right. How can they bail out financial institutions and not help the very people who’ve been most hurt by this economic depression? Yes, I call this a depression. I don’t buy that we’re in a recession and I certainly don’t think it’s over. Hoorah for the people who are fighting! I hope all of us can save our homes.

Terry M. Huertas

June 1, 2011, 7:10 a.m.

I have been in this nightmare for a few years now. I wanted to know if I sold my home as a short sale do I waive my rights to sue the bank for FRAUD. I just read this article and now I know that I need an attorney. I had an attorney that took my case and then decided early on to quit, his excuse for that was he was going to get sanctioned by the judge if he didn’t.  I am out nearly 8,000.00. There are other very serious issues also concerning this mortgage. 1- It says that Emigrant bank was the bank holding the mortgage, 2- then Wells Fargo acted as a broker to sell the mortgage to IndyMac bank, 3- who went bankrupt and then sold the mortgage to 4- Duetche bank in 2009. Now the bank I am still dealing with is One West bank who is still IndyMac bank.5- I never received any documents claimed my mortgage had been sold to either of these banks and still to add insult to injury,6-  I can not reach a pro bono attorney to help me with all of these things.7-  I wrote the State Attorney General and he gave me a list of organizations to help, still waiting on some phone calls . I go to court next week here in Orange County , Goshen N.Y. 8- I sent the bank and attorney representing the bank information about RESPA which I qualify for and was told that they (the Bank) did not have to respond under laws that govern the bank and go before a mediator. I have to present this information and am going to request an adjournment to get an attorney to represent me. I am asking that I receive the money I put into the house as I never qualified for my home with a credit score of 620 in 2006. This size home was sold to me at 584,000.00 so why did I end up paying 610,000.00 . There are other factors also, how come I purchased the land and have a copy of the canceled check and I own the land but there is no record of it, I put down 50,000.00 and purchased the land for 35,000.00 So where is the other 15,000.00 ? This mortgage is riddled with mistakes like this and the closing attorneys who represented me knew that I would have this problem some time down the road and yet this law firm pushed it through saying that I would loose my 50,000.00 if I didn’t continue with this mortgage, I was a first time buyer and my closing only took an 1/2 hour. At the closing the law firm that was present was the same firm that represented a attorney I filed suit for misconduct and when I went to trial that attorney had all of my bank information exposed in court(Goshen) and then I lost my case on appeal. That was and is a conflict of interest. So why do I still suffer from this madness and none of those attorneys get punished. This case is now a complaint with the attorney general’s office and I am hoping that the wrongs will be made right. As for this foreclosure mess, so many attorneys took money from me and I just want to recover what I lost and the money I put into the home back. There are too many mistakes to list , please if I could get some pro bono representation on this matter that would be great. Troubled,
Terry Huertas

Terry M. Huertas

June 1, 2011, 7:14 a.m.

The above claim is in my paperwork.

Melanie Thomas

June 1, 2011, 12:15 p.m.

Terry, I’m so sorry this is happening to you.. It makes me so sick that the banks are getting away with this crap. There is a company called that is helping home owners. You can also find me on Facebook under RECONTRUST CLASS ACTION RALLY. Or under Melanie Thomas. I live in Utah. I wish you the very BEST of luck with this hell were all going through…

Terry M. Huertas

June 2, 2011, 6:51 a.m.

Hello Melanie, I did not sign anything so I took my home off the market temporarily to fight the bank in court next week. I did not waive any of my rights and will go to the web page to join. I would like to thank you for this because this is yet another place for me to get information. I am prepared and if this court does not cooperate with me the state attorney general’s office will send someone from their office to help me.
I am from NY and it is rough everywhere. It is nice to see that everyone is willing to help each other in this terrible mess. GOD BLESS YOU. I hope to stay in touch with you and maybe you can advise me on a few things.

smoke and MERS

June 2, 2011, 7:08 a.m.

Finally the Banks are getting squeezed on all sides…

I am working with a producer in Hollywood on a under ground documentary called

“Smoke and MERS”

its about foreclosure Fraud, robo, BS, etc?

The Producers are looking for homeowners who want to tell their story …
Here’s your chance to be heard!

If interested email me .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I have been fighting HSBC now for a few years and currently have a Federal lawsuit against them for 11 counts of fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, etc.  I have been in the trenches with this thing for over 2 years now and am representing myself Pro Se because, as you know, finding an attorney who “gets it” and who knows more than I do has been impossible.

I finally found the help I needed, no matter which state you are in.  I figure, nobody has more of a stake in keeping my home than me.  I knew the case law, have read all that is happening but I was getting messed up in the procedural stuff.  I always had tons of questions but could not find anyone to answer them without spending a fortune.  I found the help I needed and very inexpensively (as this thing has about broke us).

I get all my questions answered (unlimited), they review docs for me, write letters and make calls on my behalf, and much more.  It has been completely invaluable to me and my crusade against HSBC.  It more than paid for itself with the very first call I made with my questions and I have called the attorneys 5-8 times already in the first week of my membership with questions on how to do things with my lawsuit!  It’s working so well for me that I have become an Associate with the company!  They work with top local law firms in each state so you tap into great legal knowledge and experience.  And I pay only $26 per month for all these services here in CO (it should be about the same in your state)!

It has been a Godsend to me and I wanted to share it with you all.  I’ve heard everyone asking for this type of help, the same as I was.  This has worked incredible for me, I’m my own testimonial!  Pre-Paid Legal a NYSE company and have been around for 40 years.
Call me (303) 918-0875 or email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and I can answer any questions.  You have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain (your home!)  or visit:

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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