March Madness: 9 Important Updates on the Independent Foreclosure Review, Short Sales, Modifications, and Foreclosures

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager at Foreclosure Help

1) Foreclosure Reviews Update: Updated information about the Independent Foreclosure Review was released on February 28th (see our previous post: “Independent Foreclosure Review: Update on $3.6 Billion in Cash Payments and $5.7 Billion in Modification Assistance”).   The Wall Street Journal reported (“Foreclosure Files Detail Error Gap”)  that statistics cited by the Office of the Comptroller Currency in January (when they stopped the reviews) about the number of foreclosure errors made by the banks painted a more favorable picture of banks and servicers than was accurate.

According to the WSJ, the OCC said in January that 6.5% of files that had been reviewed had errors that would have required compensation, but then lowered that figure to 4.2%.  However, the WSJ points out that 11% of files reviewed by Wells Fargo and 9% of Bank of America had errors that would have required compensation to homeowners. Of the 6,983 files reviewed by PNC Financial Services, 23.9% had errors that would have required compensation.   Consultants who reviewed files were quoted in the article, one suggested that she saw error rates as high as 45-80% for certain batches of loans for Wells Fargo, while another who worked on reviews for Chase said that reviewers were told to avoid loans originated by EMC Mortgage.

Yves Smith, founder of the blog Naked Capitalism, has written extensively about the many issues with the Independent Foreclosure Review.  She explains in a recent post that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), have all requested additional information from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas Curry, about the review process and how the decision was made to end the reviews.  Smith suggests that whistle blowers should be invited in to discuss their work, and that files should be reviewed.

2) 30 Days to Process a Short Sale?  During a HousingWire webinar, Bill Carr, VP of short sales for Chase Bank explained that they are trying to close short sales in 30 days or less.  Some housing advocates have been concerned about the proportion of “housing relief” (required under the AG settlement and the updated Independent Foreclosure Review settlement) that banks and servicers are providing through short sales instead of modifications that would keep people in their homes.  Here in the Bay Area, a flood of all-cash investors is currently pushing out other potential buyers for short-sales and regular sales.  This influx of cash from hedge funds and from foreign countries is reducing the amount of affordable housing options available for first-time home buyers in San Jose and will likely mean an overall reduction in owner-occupied homes in San Jose.

3) National Consumer Protection Week: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has written a number of helpful posts on their blog during the past week as part of a series for National Consumer Protection Week.  We’ve highlighted a few below:

4) Keep Your Home California was featured in a guest Op-Ed by Claudia Cappio, the Executive Director of the California Housing Finance Agency, which manages Keep Your Home California.  She explains: “Keep Your Home California has assisted more than 22,000 homeowners, with $260 million since February 2011. We want to help many more.”  To read the whole article, visit: Modesto Bee: “Program helps keep struggling homeowners afloat”

5) Payday Lending in Sunnyvale: The Coalition Against Payday Predators (CAPP) reported that the Sunnyvale City Council voted to authorize a study to determine if the city council should regulate payday lenders in Sunnyvale.   CAPP also summarized interesting new research on payday lending from the Pew Charitable Trust’s Small Dollar Loans Research Project.  Fact number four was especially interesting: 27% of people who have received payday loans reported that they had overdrafts in their checking accounts as a result of a payday loan trying to withdraw funds.  This statistic appears to contradict the payday loan industry’s suggestions that payday loans are cheaper than overdrafts and help people avoid overdrafts: “Pew Charitable Trusts issues its second report on payday lending”

6) Too Big to Fail = Too Big to Jail?   This phrase was recently used by Senator Elizabeth Warren during a congressional hearing where she asked regulators about the percent of cases against financial executives that had actually gone to trial.   At a separate hearing, Attorney General Eric Holder was grilled about the fact that no Wall Street executives have landed in jail (yet) as a result of the financial meltdown.  Frontline’s recent series “The Untouchables” has focused on the lack of jail-time for Wall Street executives.  The show is free to watch on Frontline’s website.

7) Language Issues in Loan Servicing: National CAPACD wrote a guest Op-Ed about the fact that recent mortgage loan servicing standards failed to address language issues for homeowners who speak languages other than English.   Jane Duong explains:

“Banks have demonstrated the capacity to meet language needs when it comes to selling financial services, like originating new mortgages or opening bank accounts. The question however is once these new customers have difficulty making their mortgage payments, are the banks meeting their customers’ mortgage servicing needs?”

The issues addressed in her guest column are especially applicable here in San Jose, Sunnyvale and the rest of the Bay Area.   Homeowners who contact us at Foreclosure Help report that they appreciate being able to speak to housing counselors who speak their language, whether it’s English, Vietnamese, or Spanish.   The counselors also help translate materials on our blog like the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights (English, Spanish, Vietnamese) which helps us get important information to more homeowners.  Read the full article here: Improving Language Access Can Prevent Foreclosures

8) 2012 “Report Card” on Programs to Reduce ForeclosuresProgress and Peril: A Status Report on the Compact for Home Opportunity” released by the Opportunity Agenda describes efforts made in 2012 to address foreclosures, restore communities affected by foreclosures and to keep homeownership accessible.   Policies/programs and their progress (or lack thereof) during the past year are addressed, including: mandatory mediation (prior to foreclosure); investing in pre-and post-purchase counseling; reforming mortgage loan servicing; using land banks to strengthen communities; improvements in credit-scoring; protecting tenants in foreclosure situations, and many more.  Read the full report: Progress and Peril: A Status Report on the Compact for Home Opportunity.

9) Slower Foreclosures for the Rich?  Marketwatch reported that some statistics suggest that homeowners in high-dollar homes are able to remain in their homes longer after they stop paying their mortgages, and may receive more favorable loan modifications.  The author cites RealtyTrac records for 2012, in which 85% of homes worth $1 million or less were eventually repossessed after receiving default notices.  However, for homes that are worth more than $1 million, only 28% were repossessed.  The article suggests that carrying costs are higher for these homes, the homes are more difficult to resell later, and when they are re-sold by the bank, it’s often at a substantial loss.  Wealthier homeowners may also be able to hire attorneys who can try to postpone the foreclosure.  Read more: “How luxury-home owners dodge foreclosure

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org

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: 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 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.

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

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: http://www.foreclosurehelpscc.org hoặc gửi email cho chúng tôi:help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Independent Foreclosure Review: Update on $3.6 Billion in Cash Payments and $5.7 Billion in Modification Assistance.

New info on Independent Foreclosure Review

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager at Foreclosure Help

April 25, 2013 Update: Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD7) introduced legislation today to create a monitor to review the Independent Foreclosure Review, you can read more at our new blog post: “New Federal Bill Introduced to Create Independent Monitor”

Editor’s note: Foreclosure Help is a program funded by the city of San Jose and the city of Sunnyvale, and we can directly assist homeowners  and tenants in San Jose and Sunnyvale who are facing foreclosure.  However, we are unable to assist homeowners/former homeowners in other cities and states.  If you need housing counseling, we suggest using the interactive map on HUD’s website and if you have questions about the information below, please contact Rust Consulting (1-888-952-9105).

A press release jointly issued today by the Office of the Comptroller Currency and the Federal Reserve provides homeowners some additional details about the changes made to the Independent Foreclosure Review and how these changes could impact homeowners.

In January 2013, the regulators announced that most of the original banks/servicers had agreed to replace the program because of concerns over the cost, timeliness, and administration of the reviews (For more about these concerns, see our previous post:         7 Reasons to Postpone the Independent Foreclosure Review).

The 13 banks that are part of the replacement program include:

Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs (Litton Loan Servicing), HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley (Saxon Mortgage), PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.

However, three banks (GMAC Mortgage, Everbank, and OneWest/IndyMac), did not agree to change their program, and will continue using the Independent Foreclosure Review process, which had a deadline to apply of December 31, 2012.  According to the press release, “Regulators expect the reviews for these servicers to be completed over the course of the coming year.”

What’s next?

According to the regulators, Rust Consulting, Inc. has been appointed as the payment regulator and Rust Consulting will begin contacting homeowners by the end of March 2013.    Homeowners can also contact Rust Consulting to update their contact information (which is important to do, especially if the bank/servicer’s only contact information is a mailing address or phone number for a house that was already foreclosed on).  The phone number for Rust Consulting is 1-888-952-9105, and representatives can also verify a person’s eligibility.

Am I eligible? 

Similar to the original Independent Foreclosure Review, the replacement program is only for homeowners who were part of a foreclosure action (pending or completed) between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010.  The homeowner did NOT have to lose their home in order to qualify, but did need to be “in any stage of the foreclosure process” during that timeframe.

How much money?

The money is being divided into two categories: Cash payments and loss mitigation assistance.

Cash Payments: The 13 banks/servicers have agreed to provide a total of $3.6 billion to homeowners.  Individual amounts to homeowners will depend on the severity of the mistakes the bank/servicer made, and could range from hundreds of dollars up to $125,000 plus lost equity.  The Washington Post has created a helpful table of borrower categories: Waterfall of Borrower Categories (from their article: “Foreclosure victims to get compensation alerts in $9.3B agreement starting Friday”

Loss Mitigation Assistance: The 13 banks/servicers will provide $5.7 billion is assistance to homeowners through loss mitigation efforts, with “preference given to activities designed to keep borrowers in their homes through affordable, sustainable, and meaningful home preservation actions.”  The banks and servicers are given until January 7, 2015 to complete the loss mitigation assistance.

Bank/Servicer Cash Payments Loss Mitigation Assistance
Aurora Loan Servicing $93 million $149 million
Bank of America $1.1 billion $1.7 billion
Citibank $306 million $486 million
Goldman (Litton Loan Servicing) $135 million $195 million
HSBC $96 million $153 million
JP Morgan Chase $753 million $1.2 billion
MetLife Bank $30 million $48 million
Morgan Stanley (Saxon Mortgage) $97 million $130 million
PNC $69 million $69 million
Sovereign $6 million $9 million
SunTrust $62 million $100 million
U.S. Bank $80 million $128 million
Wells Fargo $765 million $1.2 billion
Total $3.6 billion $5.7 billion

Note: Figures are rounded.  Source: Amended Consent Orders posted on OCC and Federal Reserve website.

What Should I do next?  Rust Consulting will likely be overwhelmed by the number of phone calls from homeowners in the next few days, but it is worth taking the time to call them over the next few weeks and confirm that they have your current contact information and to verify your eligibility. The phone number for Rust Consulting is 1-888-952-9105.

For more information, visit:
Federal Reserve Press Release: “Amendments to Consent Orders Memorialize $9.3 Billion Foreclosure Agreement”

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org

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: 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 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.

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

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: http://www.foreclosurehelpscc.org hoặc gửi email cho chúng tôi:help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Luật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhà ở trong Tiểu Bang California (California Homeowner Bill of Rights)

Luật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhà ở trong Tiểu Bang CaliforniaLuật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhàtrong Tiểu Bang California

(California Homeowner Bill of Rights)

Luật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhà ở trong tiểu bang California này trở thành luật vào ngày ngày 1 Tháng 1 năm 2013 để đảm bảo cho vay công bằng và thực hành vay cho các chủ nhà ở trong tiểu bang California.

Luật pháp được thiết kế để đảm bảo sự công bằng cơ bản và minh bạch cho chủ nhà trong quá trình tịch thu nhà. Các điều khoản chủ yếu bao gồm:

1. Hạn chế về nhà bị tịch thu theo dõi kép: dich vụ thế chấp được hạn chế thúc đẩy quá trình tịch thu nhà Nếu chủ nhà đang làm việc về bảo đảm sửa đổi khoản vay.  Khi chủ nhà hoàn tất đơn xin cho một sửa đổi khoản vay, quá trình tịch thu nhà chủ yếu là tạm dừng lại cho đến khi các ứng dụng hoàn chỉnh đã được xem xét đầy đủ.

2. Đảm bảo người liên lạc duy nhất: Chủ nhà được đảm bảo một điểm của liên lạc duy nhất khi họ hiểu biết về quá trình và cố gắng để giữ ngôi nhà của mình – một người hoặc một nhóm nghiên cứu tại ngân hàng phải là những người hiểu biết về các sự kiện và trường hợp của họ, có giấy tờ của họ và có thể nhận được một quyết định về ứng dụng của họ cho một khoản vay sửa đổi.

3. Xác nhận các văn bản: Công ty cho vay tiền khi có nhiều tài liệu chưa được xác minh trong hồ sơ tập tin sẽ phải chịu một hình phạt dân sự lên đến $ 7,500 cho mỗi khoản vay cho mỗi một hành động được đưa ra bởi một công tố viên dân sự.  Công ty cho vay tiền là những người vi phạm cũng bị cưỡng chế bằng biện pháp cơ quan cấp giấy phép, bao gồm Bộ Tổng công ty, Sở Bất động sản và Vụ trưởng Vụ các tổ chức tài chính.

4. Thực thi: Khách hàng vay sẽ có quyền để tìm kiếm sự bồi thường của “vật chất” hành vi vi phạm bảo vệ quá trình tịch thu nhà mới này. Bắt buộc cứu trợ sẽ có sẵn trước khi bán nhà bị tịch thu và phục hồi thiệt hại sẽ có sẵn sau khi một vụ mua bán. (AB 278, SB 900)

5. Quyền người thuê nhà: Người mua nhà bị tịch thu được yêu cầu để cung cấp cho người thuê ít nhất 90 ngày trước khi bắt đầu thủ tục trục xuất.Nếu người thuê nhà có một hợp đồng thuê dài hạn cố định vào trước khi chuyển quyền sở hữu tại bán nhà bị tịch thu, chủ sở hữu phải tôn trọng hợp đồng cho thuê, trừ khi chủ sở hữu có thể chứng minh rằng trường hợp ngoại lệ nhằm ngăn chặn các hợp đồng cho thuê gian lận áp dụng. (AB 2610)

6. Công cụ để truy tố gian lận thế chấp: Quy chế Cơ hạn chế để truy tố các tội phạm liên quan đến tài sản thế chấp được kéo dài 1-3 năm, cho phép Văn phòng Bộ Trưởng Tư Pháp để điều tra và truy tố tội phạm gian lận vay thế chấp phức tạp. Ngoài ra, Văn phòng Bộ Trưởng Tư Pháp có thể sử dụng bồi thẩm đoàn toàn tiểu bang lớn để điều tra và truy tố các thủ phạm của tội phạm tài chính liên quan đến nạn nhân nhiều tại các quận. (AB 1950, SB 1474)

7. Công cụ để kiềm chế tàn rụi: Chính quyền địa phương và người nhận có công cụ bổ sung để chống lại tàn rụi gây ra bởi nhiều nhà bỏ trống trong các khu phố của họ, từ có thêm thời gian để cho phép chủ nhà để khắc phục vi phạm luật một phương tiện để buộc các chủ sở hữu của tài sản bị tịch thu để trả cho bảo trì.  (AB 2314)

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: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. 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: http://www.foreclosurehelpscc.org hoặc gửi email cho chúng tôi: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

New Details on Independent Foreclosure Review: What Banks Are Included, What banks are not

Federal Reserve Independent Foreclosure Review Information

More details are emerging about the replacement of the Independent Foreclosure Review, and we will continue to update as more information is released from the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller Currency.    We suspect that it will be several weeks before actual program details emerge, and there have been suggestions that payments to homeowners would not start until March 2013 at the earliest.  Homeowners should keep their eye on the Independent Foreclosure Review website and we suspect that more information will be posted by the end of January 2013.

1. How much is the new settlement?   $3.3 billion will be distributed in direct payments to eligible borrowers, while an additional $5.2 billion in relief will be granted through loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments.

2. How will compensation be determined?  Huffington Post (Foreclosure Review In New Settlement Leaves Homeowners In Banks’ Hands January 7, 2013) reports that banks and servicers will now look at the 4.4 million homeowners who were foreclosed on from 2009-2010 and:

broadly classify them into 11 “buckets” corresponding to the level of fraud during the foreclosure process. Borrowers with foreclosed loans that fall into the highest-priority bucket, such as foreclosures illegally conducted on U.S. troops while they were fighting overseas, will qualify for a payout of as much as $125,000. Those in the lowest-level group, such as loans with a clerical error, will qualify for at least $250.

3. What banks are included?  According to the Federal Reserve press release, participating in this new agreement “would meet the requirements of the enforcement actions that mandated that the servicers retain independent consultants to conduct an Independent Foreclosure Review.”  (In other words, this is replacing the Independent Foreclosure Review for these banks and servicers)

Aurora Loan Servicing

Bank of America

Citibank

HSBC (added January 18th)

JPMorgan Chase

MetLife Bank

PNC

Sovereign

SunTrust,

U.S. Bank

Wells Fargo

4. What banks are not included? According to the HuffingtonPost article cited earlier, these banks are not included and reviews will continue for homeowners whose loans were serviced by these companies:

Ally Financial,

EverBank,

OneWest Bank (formerly IndyMac bank)

The Federal Reserve press release states: “The agencies continue to work to reach similar agreements in principle with other servicers that are not parties to the agreement announced today, but that are also subject to enforcement actions for deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.”

5. What about Litton and Saxon customers?   Jan. 16th, 2013 Update: Litton and Saxon have both agreed to conduct a process similar to the 10 banks/servicers mentioned earlier in this post, you can see a press release about their settlements here: Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have reached agreements in principle with the Federal Reserve Board to pay $557 million in cash payments and other assistance to help mortgage borrowers.

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.

Independent Foreclosure Review Program is Replaced With New Settlement

Independent Foreclosure Review is Replaced

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager of ForeclosureHelpSCC

It is now official, the Independent Foreclosure Review program is being replaced with a program that will provide direct cash payments to homeowners that were foreclosed on inappropriately between 2009-2010.

According to a Federal Reserve press release: “A payment agent will be appointed to administer payments to borrowers on behalf of the servicers.  Eligible borrowers are expected to be contacted by the payment agent by the end of March with payment details.  Borrowers will not be required to execute a waiver of any legal claims they may have against their servicer as a condition for receiving payment.  In addition, the servicers’ internal complaint process will remain available to borrowers. “

Is this a success?  It’s difficult to say.  The administration of the Independent Foreclosure Review, and the outreach to eligible borrowers was roundly criticized, so this may be a better way to actually get the money to people who dealt with robo-signing issues.  For example, our program was still receiving phone calls from people after the December 31 deadline, asking how they could apply for the Independent Foreclosure Review.

Comments on our petition also highlighted the weaknesses in the outreach of the program, with one homeowner explaining that the letter she received looked like a scam letter, so she had tossed it aside until she saw a news program about the Independent Foreclosure Review the night before the deadline.

On the other hand, there is also a question about the actual amount of compensation that homeowners will receive.  Gretchen Morgenson at the New York Times (“Surprise, Surprise, the Banks Win” January 5, 2013) suggests that depending on the number of people who receive the compensation, this may not be as beneficial to individual homeowners as the money they could have received from the Independent Foreclosure Review:

Some back-of-the-envelope arithmetic on this deal is your first clue that it is another gift to the banks. It’s not clear which borrowers will receive what money, but divvying up $3.75 billion among millions of people doesn’t amount to much per person. If, say, half of the 4.4 million borrowers were subject to foreclosure abuses, they would each receive less than $2,000, on average. If 10 percent of the 4.4 million were harmed, each would get roughly $8,500.

This is a far cry from the possible penalties outlined last year by the federal regulators requiring these reviews. For instance, regulators said that if a bank had foreclosed while a borrower was making payments under a loan modification, it might have to pay $15,000 and rescind the foreclosure. And if it couldn’t be rescinded because the house had been sold, the bank could have had to pay the borrower $125,000 and any accrued equity.

As a reminder, a study released in November 2012, found that 800,000 more homeowners should have qualified for the HAMP program, except that a few large banks and servicers were not modifying mortgages at the same rate as their more efficient peers.

ForeclosureHelp will continue to post information on our blog as we receive updates, but as of right now, it looks like March 2013 will be one of the big dates with this new settlement, when a payment agent will be appointed.

We are also hopeful that information for homeowners who had their loans serviced by Litton Loan Servicing and Saxon Mortgage will soon be posted to the Independent Foreclosure Review website.

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.

Postpone The Independent Foreclosure Review Deadline Until After 215,000 Reviews Have Been Released

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The ForeclosureHelpSCC Consortium is sponsoring a petition on Change.org, requesting that the deadline for the Independent Foreclosure Review is postponed past the current deadline of December 31, 2012.  ForeclosureHelpSCC is requesting the regulators to postpone the deadline until two months after at least 215,000 homeowners have been informed about the results of their review.  This represents only five percent of the 4.3 million homeowners who were in foreclosure from 2009-2010.

For context, a report released in November found that 800,000 more homeowners should have received modifications under the Making Home Affordable program but did not because of a few large servicers who modified loans at a much lower rate than  their peers.

The Independent Foreclosure Review was created after three regulators (the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision) conducted reviews at 14 large banks and servicers and found: “critical weaknesses in servicers’ foreclosure governance processes, foreclosure document preparation processes, and oversight and monitoring of third-party vendors, including foreclosure attorneys.

ForeclosureHelpSCC is asking regulators to extend the deadline because we are concerned that not enough homeowners have learned about the program and applied for it.  Beyond the weaknesses in the marketing plan and outreach highlighted by the GAO in a report earlier this year, we are also concerned that the results of the reviews (for homeowners who have already applied) have not been released.  We believe that releasing the results would be a powerful way to create word-of-mouth marketing about the program for homeowners who were harmed by their bank or servicers and who could be eligible to receive compensation as a result.

To sign the petition, click on this link: “Postpone the Deadline for the Independent Foreclosure Review Until 215,000 Cases Have Been Released”

To learn more about eligibility for the Independent Foreclosure Review, visit this website: www.independentforeclosurereview.com or call: call 1-888-952-9105.

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.

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.