Seven Reasons to Postpone the Independent Foreclosure Review

February 28, 2013 Update: New information about the amounts, administration, and timeline of the replacement for the Independent Foreclosure Review was released today.  Please read our latest post: “Independent Foreclosure Review: Update on $3.6 Billion in Cash Payments and $5.7 Billion in Modification Assistance”


January 7, 2013 Update: 
The regulators in charge of the program released information today, explaining that the Independent Foreclosure Review program is being replaced by a settlement program that will give money directly to homeowners.  A payment agent for the new program will be appointed in March 2013.  For more information, visit our blog: “Independent Foreclosure Review Program is Replaced With New Settlement”

Editor’s Note:  While we strongly encourage anybody reading this article to see if they are potentially eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review and to apply, we remain deeply concerned with the outreach and administration of the Independent Foreclosure Review. Guides for applying: English: Independent Foreclosure Review (the deadlines is December 31, 2012- you can also call them at: 1-888-952-9105) and Spanish:La Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria.”  You should also see if you’re eligible for the Foreclosure Refund (offered under the Attorney General Settlement- Deadline in California is January 18, 2013). 

While 4.3 million homeowners were in foreclosure from 2009-2010, recent estimates suggest that under 300,000 people have applied for the review, and none of those who have applied have heard about the results of their reviews.  For this reason, we have started a petition asking that the deadline be extended until two months after at least 215,000 homeowners have heard about the results of their reviews.  If you agree, please sign the petition and share with your networks, friends, family, facebook, etc: Postpone the Deadline for the Independent Foreclosure Review Until 215,000 Cases Have Been Released”

A big thank you to the investigative reporters who have followed the creation of the Independent Foreclosure Review and have asked important questions about the outreach, implementation, and conflicts of interests with the program.

1) After a year of accepting homeowner applications, we still don’t know the results: The results of the reviews, including if compensation is paid to homeowners, will not be released until AFTER the deadline has passed.   If it’s important to reach eligible homeowners and former homeowners, wouldn’t it make sense to release the results of some of the reviews for people who have already applied during the past year so that they can tell their friends, family, neighbors, communities and local newspapers about the reviews?

2) Homeowner gets $1, consultant gets $4.  One media report suggests that for every $1 a homeowner may receive as a result of the review finding that a bank/servicer improperly processed a case, a consultant may have received $4.  From American Banker’s November 1, 2012 article “Foreclosure Reviews: Exorbitant for Banks, Gold Mines for Consultants“:  “Bankruptcy filings by ResCap, the former GMAC mortgage servicer slated to be acquired by Ocwen, state that the company will pay consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers $12,500 to review each of 20,000 loans for a total cost of a quarter-billion dollars. Yet ResCap expects to pay only $35 million to $60 million to harmed homeowners.”

3) There are a lot more potentially eligible homeowners than have applied so far: A November 2012 report found that 800,000 more homeowners should have qualified for the Making Home Affordable program, and would have, if all of the banks/servicers were modifying mortgages at the same rate as the most efficient banks/servicers. (Thank you to Huffington Post for highlighting this report in their October 2012 article: “Mounting Evidence Raises Questions About Independent Foreclosure Review.”)

4) What to do if your loan was serviced by Litton or Saxon?  Both Saxon Mortgage Services and Litton Loan Servicing were also targeted by federal regulators for their sloppy work with homeowners, yet it remains unclear what homeowners should do if they were a customer of these clients.   According to Federal Reserve press releases (Saxon press release; Litton/Goldman Sachs press release), both Saxon and Litton are supposed to engage consultants to conduct reviews.  However, there is no information on the independent foreclosure review website for homeowners who had their loans serviced by these companies.

5) Banks get to appeal, but homeowners don’t: According to Propublica’s October 11 article, “Is BofA’s Foreclosure Review Really Independent? You Be the Judge” it appears that Bank of America will get to appeal decisions made by its independent reviewer, but a homeowner will not get the chance for an appeal: “The Bank of America memo also announced another change: the creation of a de facto appeals procedure for the bank. Designed in part “as a response” to Promontory deciding homeowner compensation, the bank would be adding an “Additional Information” unit, the executives wrote. The unit’s job, an employee said, is to respond when Promontory finds that a homeowner deserves compensation by producing any evidence that the bank didn’t commit the abuse or error. In contrast, homeowners who file a complaint will have no opportunity to appeal the determination of whether they deserve compensation or not.”

6) Consultants may have conflicts of interest: There have been a number of reports about conflicts of interest between the consultants hired to do the reviews and the banks that hired them.   Francine McKenna detailed these conflicts in a March 5, 2012 article in American Banker:“The Little We Know About Foreclosure Reviews Is Troubling.”  She explained: “The Deloitte partner in charge of the JPMorgan engagement, Ann Kenyon, was a partner on Deloitte’s audit of Washington Mutual. So it would not be in her interest for Deloitte’s consultants to turn up any auditing errors the firm made with that mortgage originator, particularly since Deloitte is a defendant in shareholder litigation related to Washington Mutual’s collapse.”

7) Official who led “Hustle” at Countrywide is in charge of Chase’s Foreclosure Review According to Propublica’s November 9, 2012 article “Exec Who Allegedly Enabled Fraud Runs Chase’s Effort to Compensate Foreclosure Victims” the same woman who was the Chief Operating Officer at Countrywide’s lending division which carried out the “Hustle” (Motto was “Loans move forward, never back”), is now in charge of JPMorgan Chase’s Independent Foreclosure Review.  The article explains that the “Hustle” ended up costing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over $1 billion in losses when the loans went bad.

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 Joseand the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved 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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD 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 sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

What is a Credit Report and Why is it Important to You?

Why is a credit report important?Editor’s note: If you haven’t applied for the Independent Foreclosure Review yet, there is still time, but the deadline is December 31, 2012.  For more information, visit our blog: Independent Foreclosure Review Deadline is December 31, 2012. Learn How to Apply Here.  Spanish: La fecha límite para La Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria es el 31 de diciembre 2012. Aprender a aplicar aquí!  Or visit the website: www.independentforeclosurereview.com, or call the program: 1-888-952-9105

By JoAnn Parrott, Housing Counselor at Project Sentinel, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC.

A credit report is more than a collection of financial information and statistics. A credit report displays and represents your financial picture.   A credit report is an accounting of how you have handled your past finances and debt and is a gauge of how you will continue to do so in the future. The credit report determines if you are credit worthy or may be a credit risk to those who offer credit (also known as creditors).  The credit report helps creditors decide who gets credit or who does not.

If you have been financially responsible in the past and have good credit, you probably don’t think twice about credit.  It is just there for you whenever needed.    However, if you have no credit or poor credit, managing your daily financial life may be difficult.

WHAT IS IN A CREDIT REPORT?

If you have never applied for personal credit, you probably don’t have a credit report history.  But, if you have applied for and used credit in the past, a basic credit report consists of your name, current and recent addresses, Social Security Number, date of birth and current and previous employers.  The report also displays each credit account registered in your name,  the date the account was opened, the credit limit on a credit card or loan, the payment terms, the balance owed, the monthly payment amount, and a record of your payment history (i.e., how many times you paid on time or were late).  This information is contained in your credit report even if you personally have not applied for credit but have agreed to be a co-signer or authorized user on someone else’s credit account.

TIP:   If you are a co-signer on a credit card or loan account, you are responsible for the debt if the other party fails to keep the monthly payments current.  If you are an authorized user, you are not responsible for the monthly payments or the balance due if the account is not kept current.  So, be VERY careful about agreeing to be a co-signer on an application for credit.

A credit report also lists each time you have applied for credit – these are known as ‘inquiries.’  By viewing the ‘inquiries’, creditors can determine if you have applied for too much credit or have been recently approved for additional credit. If the number of applications or approvals is too high, creditors may deny you if it appears you are trying to acquire too much credit too quickly.

TIP:  This can happen to new homeowners or young adults when they want to decorate a new home or apartment.  If you apply for and are denied credit, this may have a negative impact on your credit report and credit score.

WHAT IS NOT IN A CREDIT REPORT?

Information NOT contained in a credit report consists of checking and saving account balances, bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old, charged-off debts or debts placed for collection that are more than seven years old, gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history or criminal records.  Judgments generally remain on a credit report for 7 years from the date filed, whether the debt was paid or not.  If paid, the judgment entry changes from UNSATISFIED to SATISFIED but still remains for the required length of time.  Unpaid tax liens remain indefinitely.

NO CREDIT?  WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

In the everyday world of credit, there are two types of credit cards and loans – Secured and Unsecured.

SECURED CREDIT CARD If you have poor credit or no credit and know you will have a need, you may want to apply for a secured credit card.   A secured credit card is an account in which you deposit your own money (generally a minimum amount) to be used for future credit transactions.   A secured credit card gives you the ability to use the money (up to a certain amount) as a credit card – i.e. charge movie tickets or order a pizza – until you can apply for a less restrictive unsecured credit card.  Most secured credit cards do not allow the total amount of money deposited into the account to be consumed by charge transactions.

The creditor retains a portion of the money as a ‘cushion’ to cover unexpected events, such as non-payment.  If your charges exceed the allowed amount, there can be substantial fees and penalties applied.  If you don’t keep the account in good standing, the creditor can deny future credit transactions you attempt to do.  Not a happy thought if you want to treat a friend to lunch and your card is denied!  In some cases, if the past due amount becomes too high; the account may be closed or suspended.  The account will continue to accrue interest charges, fees and may even be subject to collection action.  Most secured credit cards also carry annual expense fees.

TIP:   Secured credit cards physically look the same as unsecured credit cards.  There is no way of telling that your card is a secured card.  After a period of time if you have established a positive payment history and adhered to the secured credit card terms, you may apply for an unsecured credit card or loan.  There is no specific time period to do this.  Just be cautious about applying for too many cards.

SECURED CREDIT LOAN: This type of loan is used for high dollar purchases that cannot be paid in full each month – i.e. the purchase of a car or house.  This type of loan is for a specific dollar amount and time period.  If the loan payments are not kept current, the owner of the loan can repossess or take back the item – i.e. the car.  In this case, the car is security for the debt.   Generally without exception, a mortgage loan is secured by the property.  If the mortgage payments are not made, the mortgage holder will take the property in a foreclosure sale.

UNSECURED CREDIT CARD:   An unsecured credit card is a line of credit that is available to you with no restrictions (up to the credit limit), as long as the account is in good standing.   For example, if you charge the purchase of clothing on your unsecured credit card and you don’t pay the full or minimum amount by the Due Date,  the creditor will not repossess or take back the clothes.  However, the account could still be assessed fees and penalties and may be closed or suspended if the matter is not resolved.  Any past due payments will be recorded on your credit report.

UNSECURED CREDIT LOAN:    This type of loan can be for any amount and time period, but is generally not a standard product offered by creditors for large loan amounts.   Creditors want their loans secured by an item of value if there is a default on the account.  The best use of this loan type would be for personal loans among family members or friends where, if payments are not made, no property is attached to the loan and therefore there is no repossession.

TIP:  For most secure and unsecured credit card accounts, it is recommended that the full amount charged be paid in full each month to avoid interest charges and to assist in building a good credit history.  Keeping  any loan in good standing is a good idea.

HOW TO GET A COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT?

On November 22, 2003, through the Fair and Accurate Transaction (FACT) Act, consumers were given the right to obtain a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the 3 major credit bureaus.  These credit bureaus collect and analyze credit transactions for their clients (AKA creditors) i.e., banks, credit unions, and retail establishments for example.    The 3 major bureaus are:  Experian (www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742), TransUnion (www.transunion.com, 1-800-916-8800), and Equifax (www.equifax.com, 1-800-685-1111).

To obtain a copy of your credit report or reports, you can contact the credit bureaus directly, visit their websites, or use the website:  www.annualcreditreport.com .  This website provides access to each credit bureau report.  A consumer can apply online for a single report or for all 3 reports at the same time.  There are companies who will help you track the contact and accuracy of your credit report for a fee.

TIP:  It is recommended that a consumer stagger their credit report requests every 4 months between each bureau.  In most cases, the same credit information is on each bureau’s report, but sometimes in a slightly different format.  By staggering the reports, a consumer can track activity over the time period as well as the contact of each report.

TIP:  Each time YOU look at your own credit report, there is no ‘inquiry’ activity recorded. However, each time you apply for credit through a third party, there is an ‘inquiry’ recorded.  So, if you apply for too much credit, the next third party you apply to will see the ‘inquiry’ activity and possibly may deny the application for credit due to excessive applications.  Also, there is a chance that the volume of applications may affect your FICO score.  BE CREDIT SMART!

WHAT IS A FICO CREDIT SCORE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Attached to each report is a credit score known as a FICO (Fair Issac Corporation) score.  The FICO score can range from 300 to 850, but the majority of scores usually fall within the 600s and 700s.  Your goal is to have the highest number possible based on your use of credit and the history contained in your credit report.  Each one of the credit bureaus has their own FICO score criteria.  A FICO score may differ between the 3 credit bureaus because not all creditors submit to each bureau.

A FICO score is a combination of many credit associated items.  Based on the type of credit, a FICO score is made up of the following percentages:

  • 35% for history;
  • 15% for length of credit;
  • 10% for newly acquired credit;
  • 10% for types of credit; and
  • 30% for amount of debt owned on credit cards and loans.   A few examples of what can lower a FICO score are:  late payments, too high of credit used against credit limit, past due payments, too many credit cards, judgments, collections, or too many applications for credit.

It is possible to obtain your FICO score by contacting each credit bureau for their process or at the www.annualcreditreportcom website, but there is a fee.  However, if you pay a credit reporting and tracking agency, you may be able to obtain the FICO score free of charge.

If you discover errors within your credit report, you should contact the providing bureau directly.  If they don’t correct the errors, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at 1-855-411-2372 or TTY/TDD 1-855-729-2372 and/or file a complaint with the CFPB at  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/headline-now-accepting-credit-reporting-complaints/ ; or send a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P. O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244.

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 our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved 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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD 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 sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

La fecha límite para La Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria es el 31 de diciembre 2012. Aprender a aplicar aquí!

Independent Foreclosure ReviewHay sólo 23 días para solicitar la Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria

La Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria fue incluida en un acuerdo entre las autoridades federales y 27 bancos por el modo en que las modificaciones y las ejecuciones hipotecarias fueron procesadas en el 2009 y 2010.

Para obtener ayuda para llenar el formulario o para conseguir información, llame al 1-888-952-9105. (marque 1 para recibir atención en español) De lunes a viernes, 8 am – 10 pm ET o el sábado, 8 am – 5 pm ET

Elegibilidad: Si un dueño de casa se ​​encontraba en algún tipo de “acción de ejecución hipotecaria” del 1 de enero de 2009 y diciembre 31 de 2010, y siente que fue indebidamente procesada, es posible que usted quiera aprender más y considerar en aplicar. Una acción de ejecución hipotecaria no significa necesariamente que la casa fue vendida, el propietario aún podría estar en el hogar.

Una acción de ejecución hipotecaria incluye:
• el hogar se vendió a través de un juicio de ejecución hipotecaria,
• el préstamo entró en el proceso de ejecución hipotecaria, pero el dueño de casa pago lo devido, entró en un plan de pago o modificación,
• La casa estaba en ejecución hipotecaria y la casa se ​​vendió, el prestatario participó en venta-corta, o usted le regreso la casa al banco a través de una escritura, o
• la hipoteca estaba en ejecución de hipoteca, la pagos de hipoteca siguen estando atrasados, pero la venta no ha tenido lugar.

También tiene que ser la residencia principal, y sólo se aplica a los 27 bancos / administradores incluidos en el acuerdo.

Los 27 bancos y proveedores de serviciosson:

Hay más información acerca de la elegibilidad en el sitio web de la Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria

Si sabes de algún propietario que sea potencialmente elegible, por favor anímelo a contactarnos con sus preguntas. Si después de una revisión encuentran que su modificación o ejecución hipotecaria se ha procesado incorrectamente, dependiendo de la situación, el propietario podría recibir pagos financieros, que van desde $ 1,000 a un máximo de $125,000 además de la ganancia que se perdió en la ejecución hipotecaria. Para obtener más información sobre los penaltis financieros vea la siguiente tabla: Penaltis Financieros. Hasta el momento, el número de personas elegibles que han solicitado una modificación es menos de las proyecciones (Vea este reporte de GAO del mes de junio para obtener más información), así que es importante correr la voz antes de que se expire el plazo en diciembre.

Para obtener más información, visite:¿Qué es la Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria?   También: Guia para completer el formulario

Para obtener ayuda para llenar el formulario o para conseguir información, llame al 1-888-952-9105. De lunes a viernes, 8 am – 10 pm ET o el sábado, 8 am – 5 pm ET

La Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria es diferente que el programa de reembolso de ejecución hipotecaria, que es parte del acuerdo del Fiscal General. La fecha límite para solicitar el reembolso de ejecución hipotecaria en California es 18 de enero 2013. Para obtener más información acerca de la devolución de ejecución hipotecaria, visite: Ejecución del Programa de Reembolso de California, parte de la Conciliación Fiscal General”

Lee nuestros otros blogs en ​​español:

¿Por Qué Trabajar Con Un Consejero de Casa?

5 Programas importante para los propietarios de California

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD 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 sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

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 our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.  Our HUD-approved 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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Independent Foreclosure Review Deadline is December 31, 2012. Learn How to Apply Here.

Independent Foreclosure ReviewBy Sean Coffey, Program Manager at Foreclosure Help.

There is just 31 days left to apply for the Independent Foreclosure Review.
The Independent Foreclosure Review was included in a settlement between federal regulators and 14 banks for the way they processed modifications and foreclosures in 2009 and 2010.

Eligibility: If a homeowner was in any sort of “foreclosure action” between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, and they feel it was improperly processed, then they may want to learn more and consider applying.  A foreclosure action does not necessarily mean the house was sold, the homeowner could still be in the home.

A foreclosure action includes:

  • the home being sold through a foreclosure judgment,
  • the loan went into the foreclosure process but the homeowner brought the mortgage current or entered a payment or modification plan,
  • the home was in foreclosure and the home was sold, the borrower participated in short-sale, or gave the home back to the bank via a deed-in-lieu, or
  • the mortgage was in foreclosure, the mortgage is still behind, but a sale has not yet taken place.

It also has to be the primary residence, and it only applies to the 14 banks/servicers included in the agreement.

The 14 banks and servicers are:

There is more information about eligibility on the Independent Foreclosure Review website.

SPANISH: There is also information in Spanish about the Independent Foreclosure review available here: ¿Qué es la Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria?   También: Guia para completer el formulario

If you know of any homeowners who are potentially eligible, please encourage them to contact us with questions.   If a review finds their modification or foreclosure was improperly processed, depending on the situation, the homeowner could receive financial payments, ranging from $1,000 to up to $125,000 plus equity that was lost in the foreclosure.  For more information on the financial penalties, view this chart: Financial Penalties. Thus far, the number of eligible people who have applied for a modification is far below the projections (See this June GAO report for more information), so it is important to get the word out before the deadline passes in December.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is different than the foreclosure refund program, which is part of the Attorneys General Settlement.  The deadline to apply for the foreclosure refund in California is January 18, 2013.  For more information about the foreclosure refund, visit: “California Foreclosure Refund Program, Part of the Attorney General Settlement”

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 our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.  Our HUD-approved 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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

5 Programas importante para los propietarios de California

Programs to help with foreclosure

Para los duenos de vivienda en el estado de California que están preocupados de su hipoteca, hay 5 programas que debe conocer.

1. Acuerdo del Fiscal General (Attorney General Settlement)
Visita: Sitio del Fiscal General que vigila el cumplimiento: www.californiamonitor.org. Email: CAMonitor@doj.ca.gov.
Visita: www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com
Expiración: La expiración del reembolso de la ejecución hipotecaria es 18 de enero 2013

El acuerdo con Chase, Ally / GMAC, Bank of America, Citibank y Wells Fargo incluye 3 partes:

A)
$ 3 billones en refinanciamiento para los propietarios de viviendas que tienen una propiedad que vale menos del balance que se debe en la casa

B) $ 17 billones en modificaciones de hipoteca, reducciones principales, y las ventas cortas

C) $ 1.5 billones en reembolsos de exclusión para las personas que perdieron sus viviendas inapropiadamente entre 1 de enero de 2008 y el 31 de diciembre 2012 .  Para el programa de reembolso para la ejecución hipotecaria, puede recibir un formulario de solicitud por correo (se enviaron por correo a principios de este mes). Si usted no recibe una carta antes del 31 de octubre de 2012, o si usted tiene una dirección diferente ahora, póngase en contacto con el Administrador del Acuerdo Nacional (National Settlement Administrator ) al1-866-430-8358 o enviar un correo electrónico con su dirección postal actual para administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com . Una vez que reciba la carta en el correo, usted tendrá que completar el formulario y enviarlo por correo, o también se puede llenar en línea (pero necesitará el número de reclamo de la carta que recibió, así que no lo vaya a descartar). Más instrucciones: https://nationalmortgagesettlementclaim.com/. Para las otras dos partes de la solución (modificaciones de refinanciación y préstamos), usted puede contactar a su prestamista directamente para preguntar sobre su elegibilidad y preguntar sobre cuando el banco  a implementar estas opciones. Es un proceso de 3 años, y tendrá que ser paciente.

2. Bill de los Derechos de Propietarios (Homeowner’s Bill of Rights)
Visita: www.oag.ca.gov/hbor
Esta nueva ley restringe la doble vía ejecuciones hipotecarias, donde una ejecución hipotecaria ocurre al mismo tiempo que la solicitud de modificación está pendiente. Esta ley también garantiza a los propietarios un único punto de contacto con su prestamista, así como otras protecciones.  El Proyecto de Ley de los Derechos Propietarios entra en vigor el 1 de enero de 2013.

3. Revisión Independiente ejecución de una hipoteca (Independent Foreclosure Review)
Visita: www.independentforeclosurereview.com
Llame al: 1-888-952-9105
Fecha límite: 31 de diciembre 2012
La Revisión Independiente Ejecución de una hipoteca es un acuerdo entre las autoridades federales y 14 bancos e incluye una investigación sobre los modos que  procesaron las modificaciones y las ejecuciones hipotecarias en 2009 y 2010. Si un dueño de casa (casa principal) estaba en algún tipo de “acción de ejecución hipotecaria” con uno de los 14 bancos / administradores entre las fechas  del 1 de enero, 2009 a diciembre 31,  2010, y siente que fue indebidamente procesada, favor de completar la aplicación.  Si las revisiones encontrar el procesamiento indebido, un propietario podría recibir una compensación de entre $1,000 a $125, 000. Una acción de ejecución hipotecaria no significa necesariamente que la casa fue vendida, el propietario podría seguir viviendo en el hogar.

4. Conserva Tu Casa California (Keep Your Home California)
Visita: www.conservatucasacalifornia.org y www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org
Llame al: 1-888-954-5337
California recibió casi $2 mil millones en fondos para ayudar a los propietarios de California elegibles evitar ejecuciones hipotecarias evitables. El programa Keep Your Home California se compone de 4 opciones que ayudan a los propietarios de ingresos bajos y moderados conservar sus hogares si han sufrido una dificultad financiera, como el desempleo,  enfermedad, o están en riesgo de incumplimiento debido a una economía dificultades, junto con una disminución severa en el valor de su casa.

5. Haciendo Tu Casa Asequible (Making Home Affordable HAMP and HARP programs)
Visita: www.makinghomeaffordable.gov (Spanish)  or www.makinghomeaffordable.gov (English)   Llame al: 888-995-4673
Propietarios de hogar pueden reducir sus pagos mensuales de la hipoteca y modificar sus préstamos a más bajas tasas estables de hoy. Para los propietarios para los que la propiedad de vivienda ya no es asequible o deseable, el programa puede proporcionar una salida que evite una ejecución hipotecaria.

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 a 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD 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 a 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Four Questions For President Obama and Congress about the Foreclosure Crisis Now that Elections are Over

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager, ForeclosureHelpSCC

Earlier this week, President Obama was re-elected President of the United States.  For people in the housing world, especially those of us who work with homeowners facing foreclosure, we want to know what, (if any) actions the President and Congress will take to address the ongoing foreclosure crisis, with over 5 1/2 million homeowners (nationally) “not current” as of September 2012.

A few specific issues:

1. Will the President and/or Congress intervene in any way to extend the deadline for the Independent Foreclosure Review  beyond the December 31st Deadline?   The number of eligible people who have applied for the review is far below expectations, and there have also been a number of questions raised about how independent the process actually is. The foreclosure refund program of the Attorneys General settlement, a similar program, also has a deadline fast approaching.  Depending on how many eligible people have contacted their Attorney General, it may be worth also extending deadlines for this program.

2.  What will happen with the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act?   As we discussed in an earlier blog post, not extending this debt forgiveness could have dire consequences for individual homeowners as well as the success of programs like the Attorneys General Settlement.

3. What will happen with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s overseer?   The National Fair Housing Alliance has a survey monkey poll about whether or not President Obama is going to fire the current director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Ed DeMarco.   Some advocates feel that DeMarco’s leadership has limited the GSE’s responses to the mortgage meltdown, including not allowing principal reductions.

4. Will there be any tougher consequences implemented for banks and servicers when they fail to comply with program rules in the Making Home Affordable program, or if they continue robo-signing or dual-tracking?

Are you having trouble paying your mortgage and do you live here in San Jose or Sunnyvale California? If so, contact ForeclosureHelpSCC by telephone: (408) 293-6000, email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

ForeclosureHelpSCC is a program that is supported by the Cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale, and staffed by housing counselors from four local, HUD-approved counseling agencies.

Our housing counselors can speak to you about what your options are if you’re having trouble paying your mortgage, including programs like Making Home Affordable, Keep Your Home California, the Independent Foreclosure Review, and private, in-house modifications offered by banks and servicers as well. Your housing counselor can work with you to develop a plan of action to begin dealing with the problem instead of ignoring it.

Remember, the sooner you start working with a housing counselor, the more options you will have to address your mortgage situation and potentially remain in your home. Time is not on your side, so pick up the phone and give us a call.

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org

October 20th Foreclosure Prevention Resource Fair Agenda

The ForeclosureHelpSCC Consortium is sponsoring a FREE foreclosure prevention resource fair on October 20th at Overfelt High School.  Housing counselors from HUD-approved agencies will be on-site to meet with homeowners on a first-come, first served basis from 9:00am to 2:15pm.  For more information, call (408) 293-6000, or visit our event webpage.  In addition to housing counseling, homeowners can attend and hear practical advice on a variety of topics related to housing.  The event is free and open to the public.

Agenda for Foreclosure Fair

9:30AM  Facing Foreclosure? What Steps Should you Take and Keep Your Home California

10:15AM Legal Issues You Need to Know About

11:15AM Presentation about the ForeclosureHelpSCC Program

11:45AM Roundtable With Representatives from Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo

12:30PM Bankruptcy and Tax Issues You Need to Know About:

1:30PM Renters Rights and Renting after a Foreclosure or Short Sale

2:30PM Buying Again: What Do You Need to Know and Do Now to Become a Homeowner Again

Day Concludes

California Foreclosure Refund Program, Part of the Attorney General Settlement

By JoAnn Parrott, Housing Counselor at Project Sentinel, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC.

Today’s Post is about the Foreclosure Refund Program, part of the national Attorneys General Mortgage Settlement.

 What is the Foreclosure Refund Settlement program?    
The foreclosure refund program is one of three parts of the national attorneys general settlement with the five largest banks.  As part of this $25 billion settlement, approximately $1.5 billion has been earmarked for the foreclosure refunds.   The five banks (Chase, Ally/GMAC, Bank of America/Countrywide, Citibank, and Wells Fargo/Wachovia) agreed to compensate homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure inappropriately between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011.

The remaining money is being used to provide up to $3 billion (nationally) in refinancing for homeowners who are underwater.  In addition, up to $17 billion is being used for modifications (including principal reductions), short sales, and monetary assistance for homeowners who are transitioning out of their homes.

Is my lender part of the Settlement program?  The participating lenders are Ally/GMAC (800-766-4622), Bank of America/Countrywide (877-488-7814), Citibank (866-272-4749), JPMorgan Chase (866-372-6901) and Wells Fargo/Wachovia (800-288-3212).

Am I eligible to apply?  YES – Regardless of the circumstances you are currently experiencing or have experienced in the past, if your lender is participating in the program, you can apply.

How do I apply?  For the foreclosure refund program, you may receive a claim form as well as general information regarding the program from the National Settlement Administrator.  Kamala D Harris, California’s Attorney General, explained in a press release that letters are being mailed directly to 432,584 California homeowners between September 24 and October 12, 2012 about the foreclosure refund.  If you believe that you are eligible for the foreclosure refund but did not receive a form, you can call the National Mortgage Settlement Administrator at 1-866-430-8358, Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Central Time.

Once you receive the letter in the mail, you will need to complete the form and mail it back, or you can also fill it out online (but you’ll need the claim number from the letter you received, so don’t throw it away).  More instructions are on the National Mortgage Settlement website. 

For the other two parts of the settlement (refinancing and loan modifications), you can contact your lender directly to ask about your eligibility and the bank’s timeline for implementing these options.

How long do I have to apply?  The deadline for submitting a claim for the foreclosure refund is January 18, 2013.

What if I don’t get a letter?  If you don’t receive a letter by October 31, 2012 or if you have a different address now, contact the National Settlement Administrator at 866-430-8358 (M- F from 5am-5pm PST) or send an e-mail with your current mailing address to administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com.

Do I need to hire somebody to help me apply?  NO – The claim form is easy to complete.  If you have questions, call 1-866-430-8358 (M-F from 5am-5pm PST) for help or send questions via email to: administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com.

What if I’m contacted by an agency that wants to help me?  Be aware of possible settlement-related scams.  Do not provide personal or financial information or pay money to anyone who claims to provide settlement-related assistance.  If you believe someone is conducting a scam, contact the Attorney General’s Public Inquiry Unit at http://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general.

What do I have to prove with my claim?   Once you are qualified, you do not need to prove financial harm to receive a payment nor do you give up your right to pursue legal action against the lender.

If you want, you can also apply for the Independent Foreclosure Review Process.  It is a settlement with other regulators and 14 banks and servicers based on robo-signing issues that occurred between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.  The Independent Foreclosure Review deadline is soon: December 31, 2012.  More information on this program is available at our blog post about the Independent Foreclosure Review  (scroll down to the bottom of the post) or on the Independent Foreclosure Review website.

How much money will I get?  The amount of your refund depends on the total number of homeowners who decide to participate.  The estimated number of participants nationally is approximately 2 million people.

When will I get my money if I am eligible?  Payment checks are expected to be mailed to eligible participants in mid-2013.

What if I still own my property but need help paying the mortgage?  Contact your lender or a HUD-approved counseling agency to discuss your options.   To locate a HUD agency, call 800-569-4287.

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 Joseand the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.  Our HUD-approved 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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

 

Foreclosures in San Jose and Sunnyvale: Three Reasons Time is Not on Your Side

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager of ForeclosureHelpSCC

In a famous Rolling Stones song, Mick Jagger told us that “Time is on My Side.” However, this is NOT the case if you are having trouble paying your mortgage here in San Jose or Sunnyvale, California. While you have probably heard stories of people not paying their mortgages for a long time and remaining in their home, these stories are the exception, not the rule.

In today’s post, we are going to review three “time issues” that homeowners should consider if they are having trouble paying their mortgage:

1. Foreclosure timeline in California: Once you miss your first mortgage payment, it will be reported on your credit. However, it isn’t until after you miss your second mortgage payment that your bank or servicer can file a Notice of Default. This is the first step in the foreclosure process. While it is serious, you still have at least 90 days after the Notice of Default is filed before you could receive a Notice of Trustee Sale. During that 90 days, you can bring the mortgage current or work with your bank on an arrangement like a modification or repayment plan.

After the 90 days has passed, then your bank or servicer can send you a Notice of Trustee Sale. A Notice of Trustee Sale tells you that the home is going to be sold in three weeks. These are the minimum time frames allowed by law. Your bank or servicer may move slower than these time-frames, but they can’t move any faster.

An important note: the Notice of Default and Notice of Trustee Sale are both public record, so you may be contacted by people who want to “help.” I’m biased, but based on our experience cleaning up after these “experts,” I would be very wary about accepting help from people that call you. In fact, in California, it is illegal to charge an up-front fee for a loan modification.  Instead, if you’re here in San Jose or Sunnyvale, call ForeclosureHelpSCC (408-293-6000), where we can set up an appointment for you to meet with a trained housing counselor from one of our four HUD-approved counseling agencies. We are funded by federal and local grants, so we do not charge the homeowner for our services.

2. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act is currently set to expire at the end of 2012.
Earlier this month the Los Angeles Times reported on a topic that has many people in the housing world concerned: “Mortgage debt relief may bring new pain: a tax bill.”  The Times explained that a law passed in 2007- The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is set to expire at the end of the year. Prior to enactment of this law, if you had a foreclosure or a short sale, the difference between what you owed and what the house ultimately sold for (at auction or via a short sale) was considered taxable income. The same issue would apply for principal reductions. For example, if you had a mortgage balance of $450,000, but short-sold your house for $400,000, then the $50,000 difference would have been considered income by the IRS. However, under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, that income has been exempted.

As the Times notes, many of the new settlements, like the Attorneys General settlement, include principal reduction, and much of the relief isn’t slated to begin until 2013. Kevin Stein from the California Reinvestment Coalition pointed out that the relief offered under these settlements won’t be nearly as meaningful if homeowners are being taxed on it.

While there is legislation pending to extend the debt forgiveness, nobody knows for sure what will happen. If an extension is not put in place, homeowners who already face difficult financial situations could find themselves facing a large tax bill.

3. Independent Foreclosure Review Program This is the third “time issue” for San Jose and Sunnyvale homeowners to consider. In our earlier blog post, we explained the details of the Independent Foreclosure Review for homeowners who dealt with issues related to robo-signing from 2009-2010. The deadline to apply for this program is December 31, 2012.

Are you having trouble paying your mortgage and do you live here in San Jose or Sunnyvale California? If so, contact ForeclosureHelpSCC by telephone: (408) 293-6000, email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.
ForeclosureHelpSCC is a program that is supported by the Cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale, and staffed by housing counselors from four local, HUD-approved counseling agencies. Our housing counselors can speak to you about what your options are if you’re having trouble paying your mortgage, including programs like Making Home Affordable, Keep Your Home California, the Independent Foreclosure Review, and private, in-house modifications offered by banks and servicers as well. Your housing counselor can work with you to develop a plan of action to begin dealing with the problem instead of ignoring it.

Remember, the sooner you start working with a housing counselor, the more options you will have to address your mortgage situation and potentially remain in your home. Time is not on your side, so pick up the phone and give us a call.

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org