US Justice Department Sues S&P Over Ratings Given to Mortgage Securities

Dept. of Justice Sues S&P

By Sean Coffey, Program Manager at Foreclosure Help

The Wall Street Journal broke the news that the U.S. Justice Department is suing Standard & Poor’s over the ratings that the firm gave to mortgage securities.   According to the New York Times, (“U.S. Accuses S. & P. of Fraud in Suit on Loan Bundles” February 4, 2013), the lawsuit happened after settlement talks between the U.S. Department of Justice and Standard & Poor’s broke down over the settlement amount.

Emails cited in the NYT article don’t paint a very flattering picture of the analysts who were rating the securities, and it has been widely charged that the ratings they assigned to the securities were wildly inaccurate.  Reuters reports (“U.S. suit against S&P includes Talking Heads parody” February 5, 2013) that one of the analysts even penned his own version of “Burning Down the House” about the work, which ends with

“Subprime is boiling over
Bringing down the house.”

While it is interesting to read about, it’s also important to remember the context of the ratings agencies and the role they played in enabling the sub-prime securitization monster to continue growing until reality finally set in and the bubble burst.  This burst bubble had disastrous effects on individual families, retirees and their retirement accounts, the economy, and more.

It’s interesting that this news broke on Monday, just a few weeks after “The Untouchables” aired on FRONTLINE, where the focus of the program was on the lack of prosecution for any folks on Wall Street for the subprime meltdown.  Since the episode aired (it’s excellent, free to watch, and I recommend it), the head of the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division stepped down, and senators have asked the Department of Justice if Wall Street is really “Too Big to Jail?”

If you are struggling with foreclosure in San Jose or Sunnyvale, please give us a call. The sooner you pick up the phone, the sooner we can help, and the earlier you start in the process, the more options you will have to create a plan forward.

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.

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.

Another Possible Loan Modification Scam: They’re Alive and Well in California in January 2013

District Attorney cracks down on Loan Modificatoin Scams

By Sean Coffey, Program Manager, Foreclosure Help

According to a January 25, 2013 article in the Santa Maria Times, (DA’s office investigating loan modification/foreclosure fraud case) a fraud case involving an alleged loan modification/foreclosure consultant in the Santa Maria area is being investigated by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the article, the organization may have operated under the names Hermandad Hispanic Group, Crown Point Education, and America Asset Management.

If you are a homeowner who believes you have been taken advantage of by this company, the District Attorney’s Office is requesting that you contact District Attorney Investigator Jennifer Glimp at 737-7871. For Spanish speaking homeowners, contact District Attorney Investigative Assistant Maria Chavez at 346-7519.

If the allegations are true, this will be yet another sad case of homeowners who believed something that was too good to be true.   When homeowners ask us about loan modification companies, we remind them that it is illegal in California to charge an upfront fee for a loan modification.

Red lights for homeowners to look out for include:

  • A company that is being pushy and trying to sell their services
  • A person who promises to stop a foreclosure
  • Anybody who guarantees a loan modification

For homeowners who have been illegally charged an upfront fee here in Santa Clara County, Foreclosure Help will make referrals to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office (Real Estate Fraud Division) and we also will refer the homeowners to the Fair Housing Law Project at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley who can work with homeowners and pro bono attorneys to seek restitution.

As a reminder, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  There is absolutely nobody who can truthfully promise or guarantee you a loan modification.   Your bank or servicer is the only entity that will make the decision about whether or not your loan can or will be modified.  It’s also important to know that your bank or servicer may be limited from granting a modification because of the investor who actually holds your mortgage.

When you stop paying your mortgage payments, the bank or servicer will file a Notice of Default, which is the first step in the foreclosure process.  This Notice of Default is public record (It’s filed at the Santa Clara County Recorder’s office- you can search records by name by clicking on the left side of the screen “official documents” and searching by grantor/grantee name), and so you will likely start receiving LOTS and LOTS of mail, phone calls, visits, etc. from “experts” who want to “help.”   Services like Foreclosureradar.com allow people to obtain contact information (and info about their mortgage) for homeowners in default and then contact them.

If you’re not sure where to turn, we recommend speaking with a HUD approved foreclosure counselor.  They can help you identify your options, discuss programs like Keep Your Home California or HAMP with you and make a plan forward.  The best part is that the counselors don’t have a financial incentive to guide you towards a certain outcome.  This means they can give you a unbiased, clear analysis of your situation and your options to avoid 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 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.

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.

Thông tin chi tiết về Đánh giá Tịch thu nhà độc lập: Những ngân hàng được bao gồm, các ngân hàng không bao gồm (New Details on Independent Foreclosure Review)

Thông tin chi tiết về Đánh giá Tịch thu nhà độc lập:

Thông tin chi tiết về Đánh giá Tịch thu nhà độc lập:  Những ngân hàng được bao gồm, các ngân hàng không bao gồm

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

Thông tin chi tiết đang xuất hiện về việc thay thế giai đoạn kiểm định Tịch thu nhà độc lập, và chúng tôi sẽ tiếp tục cập nhật được phát hành thông tin từ Cục Dự trữ Liên bang và Văn phòng Kiểm soát tiền tệ. Chúng tôi nghi ngờ rằng nó sẽ là vài tuần trước khi xuất hiện thêm chi tiết chương trình thực tế, và đã có ý kiến ​​cho rằng các khoản thanh toán cho các chủ nhà sẽ không bắt đầu cho đến tháng 3 năm 2013 là sớm nhất. Chủ nhà phải giữ mắt của họ trên trang web Duyệt xét độc lập Tịch thu nhà và chúng tôi nghi ngờ rằng có thêm thông tin sẽ được đăng tải vào cuối tháng Giêng năm 2013.

1. Là việc giải quyết mới này là bao nhiêu? $3.3 tỷ USD sẽ được phân phối trong thanh toán trực tiếp đến người vay tiền đủ điều kiện, trong khi đó thêm $5.2 tỷ trong cứu trợ sẽ được cấp thông qua các sửa đổi khoản vay và sự tha thứ của bản án thiếu hụt.

2. Tiền bồi thường sẽ được xác định như thế nào? Huffington Post (Tịch thu nhà Đánh giá trong việc giải quyết mới sẽ Giữ chủ nhà Trong tay của các ngân hàng từ ngày 07 tháng một năm 2013) các báo từ các ngân hàng và dich vụ sẽ xem xét khoảng 4.4 triệu người chủ nhà bị tịch thu trong vòng từ năm 2009 đến 2010:

Một cách rộng rãi phân loại chúng thành 11 “thể loại” tương ứng với mức độ gian lận trong quá trình tịch thu nhà. Khách hàng vay với các khoản vay bị tịch thu rơi vào thể loại ưu tiên cao nhất, chẳng hạn như nhà bị tịch thu bất hợp pháp được tiến hành trong khi họ đang chiến đấu trong quân đội Mỹ ở nước ngoài, sẽ hội đủ điều kiện cho một thanh toán có thể lên đến $125,000. Những người trong nhóm mức thấp nhất, chẳng hạn như các khoản vay với một lỗi văn thư, sẽ hội đủ điều kiện cho ít nhất là $250.

3.Các ngân hàng được bao gồm? Theo việc phát hành báo chí Dự trữ Liên bang, tham gia vào thỏa thuận mới này sẽ đáp ứng các yêu cầu của các hành động thực thi pháp luật bắt buộc rằng các dịch vụgiữ lại các chuyên gia tư vấn độc lập thực hiện một xét độc lập Tịch thu nhà. “(Nói cách khác, điều này là thay thế các xét độc lập Tịch thu nhà cho các ngân hàng này và dịch vụ)

Aurora Loan Servicing

Bank of America

Citibank

HSBC

JPMorgan Chase

Litton

MetLife Bank

PNC

Saxon

Sovereign

Sun Trust

U.S. Bank

Wells Fargo

4. các ngân hàng không bao gồm? Theo HuffingtonPost bài viết được trích dẫn trước, các ngân hàng này không được bao gồm và đánh giá sẽ tiếp tục cho các chủ nhà có các khoản vay phục vụ bởi các công ty:

Ally Financial,

EverBank,

OneWest Bank (formerly IndyMac bank)

Cục Dự trữ Liên bang thông cáo báo rằng: “Các cơ quan tiếp tục làm việc để đạt được các thoả thuận tương tự về nguyên tắc với nhung dich vu khác mà không phải là các bên tham gia thỏa thuận công bố hôm nay, nhưng điều đó cũng tùy thuộc vào hành động thực thi thực hành thiếu phục vụ khoản cho vay thế chấp và xử lý tịch thu nhà”.

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.

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.

How Can the Consumer Financial Projection Bureau Assist You With Credit Reporting Issues? Our Blog Explains How.

Consumer Financial Protection BureauBy JoAnn Parrott, Housing Counselor at Project Sentinel, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC.

WHAT IS THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (CFPB)?

In July 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Part of this Act created the CFPB which consolidates most Federal consumer financial protection authority into one place.  The services of the CFPG became effective on October 22, 2012.  The goal of the CFPB is:  watch out for American consumers in the market for consumer financial products and services.

HOW CAN THE CFPB HELP YOU WITH CREDIT REPORT PROBLEMS?

The CFPB can help with:

  1. Consumer reporting agency’s investigations,
  2. Incorrect credit report information,
  3. Improper use of a credit report,
  4. Assistance to get a copy of a credit score or report, and
  5. Problems with credit monitoring or identify protection services.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

This step is covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  If you are experiencing any problems with your credit report, you should first of all send a letter to the credit bureau in question stating the complaint or error that needs to be addressed or resolved.  You must include copies of supporting documents as well as your complete name and address, and your letter should clearly identify each item in dispute.  You must request that the information be removed or corrected.  Send the letter by certified mail, ‘return receipt requested,’ so you can document that the credit bureau received the letter.

TIP:  Include a copy of the credit report with the error highlighted or circled and keep a copy of the letter and supporting documents.

If the credit bureau deems your complaint as legitimate, they have 30 days to investigate.  They must also forward the information you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information.  The information provider must investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the credit bureau.  If the information provider finds the disputed information is inaccurate, it must notify all the credit bureaus so they can correct the information they have in your file.

When the investigation is complete, the credit bureau must give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change to your credit report.  This free credit report does not count as your annual free report.  If an item is changed or deleted, the credit bureau cannot put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies it is accurate and complete.  The credit bureau also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider.

If you wish, you can request that the credit bureau send notices of any corrections to anyone who received your credit report in the past six months.  You can have a corrected copy of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.

If the investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute or problem, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports.  You also can ask the credit bureau to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past.  You can expect to pay a fee for this service.

A credit bureau can report negative but correct information for seven years and bankruptcy information for 10 years.  There is no time limit for reporting criminal conviction; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year; and information reported because you’ve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance.  In general the seven-year reporting period runs from the date that the event took place.

WHAT IF THE PROBLEM IS NOT FIXED?

If the problem is not resolved, you can:

  1. Contact the CFPB at 1-855-411-2372 or TTY/TDD 1-855-729-2372;
  2. File a complaint with the CFPB at  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/headline-now-accepting-credit-reporting-complaints/ ;
  3. Send a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P. O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244.

You may also enjoy reading our previous blog post, “Rebuilding Credit After a Short Sale”  en español:  “Mejorando El Credito Despues De Una Ejecución De Hipoteca O Venta Corta”

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.

Lee nuestros otros blogs en ​​español:

¿Por Qué Trabajar Con Un Consejero de Casa?

5 Programas importante para los propietarios de California