Foreclosure Help’s Update on the Independent Foreclosure Review, Debt Collectors, Making Home Affordable, Hispanic Homeownership,and “Zombie Foreclosures”

March Housing Update1) UPDATE: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 26th, more information here. Today is the final day for homeowners to mail their registration forms for the Lending Discrimination Settlement between the Department of Justice and Countrywide Financial Corporation.  Borrowers must mail their forms in by TODAY (MARCH 29, 2013).  Individuals with questions about the United States v. Countrywide Financial Corporation lending discrimination settlement may contact Rust, in English or Spanish, by telephone at 1-800-843-5148 or by email at, or visit the DOJ’s website.

2) The OCC just released a report on loan modifications in the fourth quarter of 2012 A few interesting facts about the Making Home Affordable Program (HAMP):

  • Among HAMP modifications, servicers reduced interest rates in 81% of those modifications, deferred principal in 29.2%, and reduced principal in 24.9%
  • HAMP modifications reduced payments by an average of 35.4%.

As a reminder, HAMP is currently set to expire in December 2013.  While it isn’t a perfect program, it has helped hundreds of thousands of Americans to remain in their homes, and housing counselors and advocates have already begun efforts to extend the program.

3) On March 18, 2013, Rust Consulting began mailing postcards to 4.2 million homeowners about the Independent Foreclosure Review, notifying them that they will receive payments.   According to a recording on the Rust Consulting phone number (1-888-952-9105), payments are supposed to start mailing out in the next four to eight weeks.  For more information about the Independent Foreclosure Review, visit our earlier blog post:  Independent Foreclosure Review: Update on $3.6 Billion in Cash Payments and $5.7 Billion in Modification Assistance.”   (Spanish version and Vietnamese version)

Financial Freedom, which is an affiliate of One West (formerly IndyMac) bank has been added to the Indepedent Foreclosure Review website as one of the four banks that are NOT participating in the review.  ForeclosureHelp has watched the Indepdent Foreclosure review process closely, and it seems strange that Financial Freedom would be added to the website AFTER the deadline has already passed for homeowners to apply- the deadline was December 31, 2012.   To see our other concerns with the Independent Foreclosure Review, visit:  Seven Reasons to Postpone the Independent Foreclosure Review.

A law firm in Washington DC has filed a Freedom of Information Act request related to the Independent Foreclosure Review to determine how the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency defined “independent” in the context of the “independent consultants” that conducted  the reviews.  More information: Thomson Reuters: Washington law firm sues bank regulator over foreclosure reviews

 4) Has Medical debt affected your credit report or score?   At ForeclosureHelp, some of the homeowners we assist are struggling with their mortgage because of their own medical issues, or a family member may have medical issues that have either prevented a person form working, or forced them to reduce their hours.  The Consumerist website is featuring stories about people whose credit scores have been tarnished because of Medical Debt.  Federal legislation that was introduced last year didn’t advance, so Consumerist is asking for stories from people dealing with medical debt so that Congress and lawmakers can see how this problem affects everyday Americans.  To read a few of their stories, visit:  Consumerist Readers Make The Case For Wiping Paid Medical Debt From Credit Reports

5) Speaking of debt collection, Dave Ramsey, a staunch advocate of getting out of debt, is trying a new approach to attacking debt collectors who engage in illegal debt collection practices.  Ramsey is using his bully platform (with his radio show and website) to not only educate people about their rights under federal law, but also to connect borrowers with attorneys who will sue debt collectors for violating federal debt collection laws.  The lawyers will be working on a contingency fee, meaning they don’t charge up front, but they do take a percentage of any settlement money if they are successful in their lawsuit.  ForeclosureHelp is not endorsing Dave Ramsey or these attorneys, but we do think this may put some collection agencies on notices that violating laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act may be very expensive if you are sued by a lawyer, and we’re happy to see more attention drawn to abusive collection practices.  We earlier re-blogged a post from the Consumerist that is helpful for consumers and we recommend reviewing it if you’re dealing with debt collectors: 23 Things Debt Collectors Are Not Allowed To Do.

6) The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals recently released their 2012 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.   A few interesting points:

  • While the Hispanic homeownership rate has decreased from 47.5% down to 46.1% since 2010, the total number of owner households has increased by almost 500,000, due to a net increase of more than 1 million total Hispanic households during the same two-year period.  (The homeownership rate is the number of owner households divided by the total number of households).
  • In 2012, Hispanics accounted for 355,000 or 51% of the total net increase of 693,000 owner households in the U.S.
  • Hispanics strongly believe in homeownership, “Fifty-six percent of Hispanics said that a major reason to buy a home was because it represents a symbol of success or achievement compared to only 32 percent of all Americans”

7. RealtyTrac released a report on 3/28/13: “Q1 2013 Foreclosure Inventory Update.”  Some interesting stats about foreclosures and foreclosure inventory:

  • 28,821 homes in the foreclosure process in California are now vacant- meaning the homeowner abandoned the home or moved during the 1st quarter in 2013.  California has the 3rd largest inventory of these homes (which have not yet been foreclosed on), only Florida and Illinois have more.  RealtyTrac was able to assess this by comparing foreclosure records against post office records.
  • Foreclosure Inventory is still strong: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA/HUD have the largest percent of foreclosure inventory, representing 12% of the national total.  Bank of America is in second place with 11%, Wells Fargo represented 10%, and Chase is 7%.
  • There was a 58% increase in Chase being listed as the foreclosing entity as compared to a year ago, other large increases (as compared to a year ago) include Nationstar Mortgage (101%); Green Tree Servicing (89%), OneWest Bank (67%), and EverBank (61%).

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit us:

Our housing counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: or send us an email:

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: consejeros puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro o envíenos un correo electrónico:

Nếu bạn là một sinh hoạt chủ sở hữu nhà ở San Jose hoặc Sunnyvale và đang đấu tranh với nợ nhà, xin vui lòng liên ForeclosureHelpSCC, một chương trình được tài trợ bởi thành phố San Jose và thành phố của Sunnyvale ở (408) -293-6000 hoặc truy cập trang web của chúng tôi:

Nhân viên tư vấn của chúng tôi đã được HUD chấp thuận có thể giúp bạn đánh giá các lựa chọn của bạn, tìm hiểu thêm về các chương trình của liên bang và tiểu bang có thể giúp bạn với các vấn đề thế chấp của bạn, và sẽ giúp bạn tạo ra một kế hoạch phía trước.Xin lưu ý: Tất cả các nội dung trên Blog ForeclosureHelpSCC được cung cấp thông tin duy nhất và không nên coi là hợp pháp hoặc tư vấn thuế. Nếu bạn có bất cứ câu hỏi , xin vui lòng liên hệ với chúng tôi qua đường dây nóng: (408) -293-6000, hoặc truy cập vào trang của chúng tôi: hoặc gửi email cho chúng tô

2 thoughts on “Foreclosure Help’s Update on the Independent Foreclosure Review, Debt Collectors, Making Home Affordable, Hispanic Homeownership,and “Zombie Foreclosures”

  1. Pingback: Cash Payments for Independent Foreclosure Review Will Begin Being Mailed April 12, Senate Banking Committee Will Hold Hearing about the Independent Foreclosure Reviews | ForeclosureHelpSCC

  2. Pingback: New Federal Bill Introduced to Create Independent Monitor to Oversee Independent Foreclosure Review | ForeclosureHelpSCC

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