Cash Payments for Independent Foreclosure Review Will Begin Being Mailed April 12, Senate Banking Committee Will Hold Hearing about the Independent Foreclosure Reviews

Editor’s note: Foreclosure Help is a program funded by the city of San Jose through a HUD Community Development Block Grant 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).

1) Cash Payments Being Sent Out This Week   ForeclosureHelpSCC has closely followed the Independent Foreclosure Review, so we are glad to see the press release from the Federal Reserve stating that cash payments to 4.2 million homeowners covered by the updated Independent Foreclosure Review program will start being mailed out on April 12th.  You can see a chart of the penalties and the award amounts (per penalty), and how many people are receiving compensation for each penalty using this chart on the Federal Reserve’s website: Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement Details.

As a reminder, 13 of the banks and servicers are participating in the revised program.  However, GMAC Mortgage, Financial Freedom (part of IndyMac), Everbank/EverHome Mortgage Company, and OneWest Bank/IndyMac Mortgage Services are continuing with the original review, which had a deadline to apply of December 31, 2012.   For more information about the Independent Foreclosure Review, visit our earlier blog posts:  Independent Foreclosure Review: Update on $3.6 Billion in Cash Payments and $5.7 Billion in Modification Assistance.”   (Spanish version and Vietnamese version)

2) ResCap Tries to Get out of its Independent Foreclosure Review Obligations: In related news, Andrew R. Johnson reports in Fox Business NewsAlly, ResCap Spar Over Federal Foreclosure-Review Program”  that Ally Financial and ResCap (its mortgage subsidiary) are having issues around ResCap’s attempt to exit the Independent Foreclosure Review.   GMAC Mortgage, which is part of ResCap, is one of the banks that did not agree to the updated Independent Foreclosure Review program back in January.  According to the article, ResCap asked a bankruptcy judge to stop the Federal Reserve from enforcing the lender’s obligations that it agreed to under the Independent Foreclosure Review.  Instead, ResCap suggests that these obligations should be treated as other unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy process.   However, the Federal Reserve filed a court filing suggesting that Ally’s liability is limited to the reimbursement to the harmed homeowners.

3) Former SEC Chairwoman Joins Former Independent Foreclosure Review Consultant Company Gregory Mott reported for Bloomberg Promontory Adds SEC’s Schapiro to Roster of Ex-Regulators” (April 2, 2013) that Mary Schapiro, who was chairwoman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission until December 2012, has joined Promontory.   As a refresher, Promontory was one of several high-priced consulting companies that was hired to do the Independent Foreclosure Reviews.   Yves Smith, founder of the Naked Capitalism blog, wrote a scathing account of Pomontory on a February blog post entitled  Bank of America Foreclosure Reviews: Why the OCC Overlooked “Independent” Reviewer Promontory’s Keystone Cops Act (Part VB).” 

She quotes Doug Smith, a former partner at McKinsey, who reviewed accounts from contractors who worked on the reviews.  He said:

“It’s hard to imagine a more unprofessional, atrociously managed effort. In my more than three decades of working with, observing and advising teams and projects, I cannot identify a single worse example.”

Smith continues:

But the surprise was how inept Promontory proved to be in its efforts to hide how much damage was done to borrowers. The scale of the exercise, combined with the pervasive reliance on contractors and temps who were told only the official story that their mission was to find evidence of damage done to borrowers, meant they went down that path, often surprisingly far.

4) GAO Releases Critical Report about Independent Foreclosure Review.  The New York Times has a summary Blame Abounds Over a Flawed Foreclosure Review (April 3, 2013) of the GAO’s recently released report Foreclosure Review: Lessons Learned Could Enhance Continuing Reviews and Activities under Amended Consent Orders  about the Independent Foreclosure Review.   Our favorite quote in the article is from New York’s Banking Regulator, Benjamin M. Lawksy, who was quoted in a recent speech as saying:“It is worth considering the monitors’ lack of independence…The monitors are hired by the banks, paid by the banks, and depend on the banks for future engagements.”   The Senate Banking Committee has a hearing scheduled for April 11 “Outsourcing Accountability? Examining the Role of Independent Consultants” (this Thursday) about the Independent Foreclosure Reviews, and it will be interesting to watch.

5) Cash Floods into Silicon Valley Neighborhoods: Part Two?   Here in Silicon Valley, Pete Carey recently reported in the San Jose Mercury News Bay Area’s average homebuyers shut out by cash offers, (April 3, 2013) about the bidding wars that have taken on what many would consider a bubble like quality.  Carey discusses a recent “fixer upper” in Santa Clara that needed $100,000 in repairs.  It was listed at $419,000 and later sold for $629,500.  Of the 69 offers, 65 of them were “cash offers.”   This trend of Wall Street cash flooding into neighborhoods has happened before, and some advocates are concerned about the effect this has on pushing out first time homebuyers and on having so many homes not owner-occupied.    CNBC reports that large amounts of student debt may be another large obstacle for first-time homebuyers in their recent article: “Student Loan Debt Hurts Housing

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 through a HUD Community Development Block Grant and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit us:

Our housing counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: or send us an email:

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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

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:  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: or send us an email: