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.

37 thoughts on “Seven Reasons to Postpone the Independent Foreclosure Review

  1. This should not be postponed. It has already been postponed a few times and everytime it is postponed the banks postpone making a decision for the people who have already been waiting and suffering for over a year!!!

    • Hello Renee, thanks for your comment. We’re not asking for the results to be postponed- we’re asking for the deadline to be extended until after they’ve released the results of at least 215,000 cases. This would serve as a strong motivation for the banks and regulators to release the results ASAP for the people who have already applied. Thank you for writing.

      • I disagree with extending the deadline. As it’s stated ” homeowners will NOT receive any results until after the deadline”. We have already been waiting almost a year and that’s long enough. This has been publicized for quite some time. Therefore any person who misses the deadline needs to accept it and or appeal it.

      • Hello Barb,
        Thank you for writing, We are NOT advocating that the results are delayed- quite the opposite. We’d like to see the results from at least 215,000 cases released before the application deadline is closed. This would provide a large incentive for the banks to release the results as soon as possible. We are concerned that if the results aren’t released until AFTER the deadline, then there is a huge “word-of-mouth” marketing opportunity that will be missed. Word-of-mouth marketing is especially important given the many weaknesses in the marketing plan (see the June GAO report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-776. Releasing more results (prior to closing the deadline) would also allow for greater transparency, and would allow homeowners, advocates, housing counselors, investigative reporters, etc. to see whether or not the process is working as intended. The single case that we’ve seen where a person learned their results does not look encouraging: From “Mounting Evidence Raises Questions About Independent Foreclosure Review (10/23/2012)” “Bank of America’s records indicate that your mortgage was not in the foreclosure process during the eligible review period” of 2009 and 2010, his rejection letter says. Casper provided the Huffington Post with supporting documents that show his foreclosure was filed during the proper time frame, in Sept. 2009.”

  2. I’m sorry, but I agree with Barb. I responded well over a year ago and this has been all over the newsso I have little sympathy for those who haven’t bothered to take the time to participate. I don’t feel that I need to be further penalized by waiting even longer just because some folks are not taking advantage of this program. Extending it, whether that is 2 months or 5, is not acceptable so I also disagree. I was kicked out of my home while I was in the midst of a modification. I was locked out with all my belongings inside and if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to borrow money from my family just to secure an apartment AFTER living in a hotel for 2 months. So NO, I do not want yet another extension. The process is working just fine and enough is enough. This all happened years ago and I’m sick and tired of waiting while everyone points fingers and blame at why they think this isn’t working. For Pete’s Sake!! I don’t need to sit through the process longer just to see IF this process is working. Give me a break!. Whether I receive $1 or $125K or whatever it is, at least it will be over with.

    • Thank you for writing Karen. We are NOT advocating that they delay the release of the cases- we’d like to have them released immediately, especially since they started accepting cases over a year ago. As we mentioned in this post, there have been a number of issues raised about the marketing of this program, potential conflicts of interest, who is actually doing the reviewing, etc. By keeping the program open while they are releasing the cases, more eligible homeowners could potentially learn about the program from their friends, family, neighbors, local media, etc.

  3. I lost my home in a short sale right before the foreclosure deadline. The only bright spot was an open ended question on the Independent Foreclosure Review Form asking me to describe “any other way I may have been financially injured by the foreclosure process.”

    After composing my response, I sent hard copies to the Independent Reviewer, the House and Senate Finance committees, and the chief executives of PNC. I also posted it on my website:

    See http://www.desolationpress.com/essays/indreview.html

    After a day or so of reflection, I thought it might serve as a good template for others to use.

    See http://www.desolationpress.com/essays/testimony.html

    I encourage people to complete the form, and send their story to members of Congress. A few truckloads of letters might give them a better sense of the magnitude of the issue.

    As they keep extending the deadline for this process, I’m starting to doubt that anyone will receive any real compensation for their loss. The banks have firmly established that they won’t admit any culpability for their actions, so our best bet may be to publicly shame them into some sort of confession. Perhaps we should make them wait for a year or two before they receive their next taxpayer bailout.

    • Thank you for sharing your templates. Homeowners really should consider applying- a small investment of time could mean large compensation for homeowners who dealt with robo-signing, lost paperwork, mis-applied payments, illegal foreclosures, and failed modifications.

  4. Pingback: Five Important Policy Updates For California Homeowners and Tenants in 2013 Related to Foreclosures, Short Sales, and the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights | ForeclosureHelpSCC

  5. Pingback: Independent Foreclosure Review Program is Replaced With New Settlement | ForeclosureHelpSCC

  6. What will another postponement accomplish when we who lost our homes and applied for review over a year ago have heard NOTHING? You ask for a postponement until after some former homeowners like myself receive notification of the results of our reviews but no one knows when that will be. My husband and I submitted our review paperwork 12/11 and as far as I am concerned, this process has become the seventh circle of hell (and I don’t just mean that because I
    now live with my inlaws.

    My husband and I had trouble paying our mortgage because we had to take uber-loans to put our two daughters through college

  7. What are the odds that Ally/GMAC will be in on this settlement? I had my mortgage foreclosed on in 2010. I honestly paid little attention to the review b/c it seemed like a scam and after dealing with the fallout of foreclosure, bankruptcy and ruined credit, I didn’t bother. Bad idea…I don’t think I’m a $125,000 case, but I can say that GMAC sent me a 1099 for taxes in 2010. Stating that my home was assessed a value of $110,000. Well, I paid $82,000 for it…the home appraised for $85,000. I had to pay taxes on the difference, GMAC also sold my home in a sheriff sale for $78,000…I got 1099’d for the difference of $32,000 from their “assessment”. When it was all said and done and the fees they tacked on and such, I owed $96,000 on an $82,000 mortgage. I just hope that I will get something. I don’t think things should be postponed any longer for anyone who has already filed! thats so unfair, but let those people get paid first, and then open it up for those of us who didnt request the review? I don’t know.. Its my own fault for not paying attention to it.
    I hope that GMAC will get onboard with this and Ill see something down the road.

  8. This is typical Government ineptitude. I say that, having worked for them for years. In order to speed up the process (the one that was due with results to homeowners by December 31st, 2012) they are creating a new process and someone (they won’t tell you who or give you any point of contact to check) will contact you by the end of March. That’s another 90 days. Why is the media not pointing out the oxymoron here? Its a huge elephant on the table that nobody is pointing to.

    I’d be willing to bet, in 90 days, someone will find fault in the new process and a new one designed to expedite the “flawed process” will be created. Sadly, this new process we’ve been obscurely told about is clouded in confusion with a clear lack of communication for impacted homeowners.

    What criteria are they considering? How do they determine and divide the funds? Is there an appeal process? Are they using the information we already provided as evidence or simply using the incompetent records of the banks which have already been proven lacking and misleading.

    I personally was working with a national realtor who had power of attorney to deal with the bank directly who ran into roadblock after roadblock, yet my bank claims no processes were started or requested when they foreclosed. So, with my realtor’s testimony submitted already to the contrary, is the bank going to be able to skate free?

    • Hello, thank you for your comments- We agree, greater transparency about this process (from the beginning) would have been very helpful for homeowners. We are waiting to see answers to the questions you asked as well.

  9. As with everyone else, I am deeply conflicted with this entire process. On one hand, I’m filled with an inutterable rage at what’s been done to my family. That will never go away. When initial news of possible compensation for our huge losses was released, I was insanely hopeful that we may see just a little justice – just a little something, anything… that would enable us to start over without insane effort. Our credit is permanently ruined – I simply don’t see us coming back from this one. We live so close to the edge of disaster that every day provides either a sigh of relief that it’s over, or a sigh of a tiny hope that it might get better.
    As I said, I’m conflicted. When I answered that stupid questionnaire, with it’s ultimately unanswerable questions, I realized (and stated) that I had no way of knowing exactly how much, and what kind of harm was done to us. When the process is based on lies and deceit; there is no starting place to accurately answer those questions. But, I tried. I figure we’re out over $150K, easily. That’s just the hard cash. The intangible damages cannot ever be accurately assessed. How do you get reimbursed for holding your temper, answering over 40 robo-calls a day? What’s the basis for compensation for sleepless nights and endless, killing stress?
    If the banks are allowed to distribute the funds to all foreclosed upon homeowners – I figure we’ll all get about $900. Ironically, we’re so bad off, I’d take it. It would buy me a relatively worry-free week. What I really want, though is (and I have to laugh at myself here), is justice. I want an accurate accounting of what’s been done to my family. I want a considerable amount of money to compensate our losses. I want justice – and I know how silly that is. I am somewhat encouraged that Senator Elizabeth Warren is involved in the oversight process, yet, I’m dismayed that the oversight process will delay any compensation. I guess I just want it to be over. I want to quit hoping for the best, and expecting the worst. I want to get on with it, yet I still want justice and I want my money. Thanks.

    • Hello Beth,
      Thank you- I think you captured many of the sentiments of people who have responded to this posting and to the petition we posted (https://www.change.org/petitions/postpone-the-deadline-for-the-independent-foreclosure-review-until-215-000-cases-have-been-released).

      Unfortunately, the entire process has not been transparent to homeowners, housing advocates, or the media, and we are all now waiting to see what will happen in March, when the payment agent is appointed.

      For people with Ally, Everbank, and OneWest, it appears (at least according to the Independent Foreclosure Review website) that the reviews are still happening.

      Thank you again for writing.
      Sean Coffey
      Program Manager, ForeclosureHelp

    • Hang in their. Your not alone! It’s going to take a little more time to get some justice. Explain the fraud spread and spread the word. Many Americans not educated to the ponzi scheme perpetrated on them, and the crimes that came with that. No amnesty, just the truth and honesty. Please!!!!!

  10. And Americans keep voting for the same idiotic politicians on both sides of the aisle. I wonder how long it will take for Americans to wake up and do some research about who these evil politicians REALLY represent, if this example of how the banks raped Americans via allowed corruption (US Government deregulated the mortgage backed derivatives market), then got the taxpayer to pay for their own rape (bailing out the very people that raped them financially in the largest ripoff scheme ever devised) doesn’t highlight that its NOT you, I don’t know what else will.

    America is the land of free for those who are impacted by this corruption and unfortunately they are too ignorant to look outside their own windows and care. Why? Because American Idol is on.

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

  12. Pingback: Revisión Independiente del Embargo de Vivienda: Actualización en los $3.6 Billones de Pago en Efectivo y $5.7 Billones en Asistencia de Modificación. | ForeclosureHelpSCC

  13. Pingback: Foreclosure Help’s March Update on the Independent Foreclosure Review, Debt Collectors, Making Home Affordable, Hispanic Homeownership,and “Zombie Foreclosures” | ForeclosureHelpSCC

  14. This B/S needs to stop this is just as stressfull as the forecloser .I have a Wood from are lost house and if GMAC would like to come and hit me in the head But they have been protected by the FED,Again.

  15. question I just recieved a check and I reviewed the table agreement and it show i’m getting paid for modification denial even though our HOME was forcloused while in modification process (owend by the bank ) ??? Does this mean That this Review was not Really a Review… I sent all the paperwork showing The Bank owened it while we made payments to them as well ……. What should I do I called them Just NOW and they just recited the NO APPEAL TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!!!

    • Welcome to the club brother. The US Government has proved yet again that they are inept, ignorant and inefficient at everything they do. I received a check for 600 dollars. I was foreclosed on AFTER trying with my realtor (who had power of attorney to negotiate with the bank) to negotiate a short sale. They told me they wouldn’t deal with me until I purposely skipped payments (I was up to date on my payments at the time but recently divorced and unable to continue making payments). So we did skip payments as they instructed and they robo signed me. 600 bucks. @#$% the Federal Government and their ineptitude. All of this was sent to them with my Realtor’s contact info. They literally just used a scale and used what the BANK had on record.

      Pieces of excrement. They should be ashamed of themselves.

      I’m contacting a lawyer as we speak and will be suing Rust Consulting and the Bank and the Feds. I honestly thought they’d make this right.

    • There is no appeal, and nothing to do but cash the check. The only avenue of appeal is a lawsuit, probably a class action. Keep your paperwork, and keep track of the news. If someone starts it, we can all sign on as plaintiffs.

  16. well was looking at other site and they are mentioning check are bouncing, NSF,wrong routing, we are trying to cash it as I type and they are saying it has to be deposit AND WAIT 1 week to see if it bounce and the will get charge NSF ??

      • From what I’m reading tonight, I’d reiterate 2 things. Call Rust Consulting tomorrow, and tell them if your money Isn’t assured , your next call is to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office, and you intend to call media with a statement that the government appointed payment administrator apparently hasn’t any funds. Then call your local investigative reporter, and see if they want to film you trying to cash Rust’s check. Something should happen. Oh , before you start with the threats, get a Rust supervisor on the phone. Don’t talk to a flunky.

  17. NOW our bank is saying that they called to verify and they just answered no name or anything then they ask her for the info of the check ??? is this a scam or what ??

    • So, what bank is the check drawn on? This is good info – I’ll just take whatever I get to the drawn upon bank and cash it. Shouldn’t be a problem then.

  18. All Checks are coming from Rust Co the bank is The Huntington Bank Westerville Oh
    and I Searched there number and called it and there is an option where you can check if there are funds available 614-331-8590 it ask you for the checking acct and the Amount I by error only entered 2000 that to the computer meant $20.00 and to witch it responded there are no funds available to cover the $20.00 NSF

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

  20. Will those of us who lost their homes in 2009 and 2010 and requested IFR with GMAC ever see anything for our loss? Just seams to me that GMAC has used every trick in the book to get away with what they did to my family and thousands of others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s