New Announcement About Uncashed Checks for Independent Foreclosure Review

Just the messenger folks, contact Rust Consulting for more information:

Joint Press Release

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
For release at 1:00 p.m. EDT
February 18, 2015

Agencies Announce Reissuance of Checks Related to the Independent Foreclosure Review

Replacement checks are being mailed this week to borrowers eligible for payment under the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreements and who have not yetcashed or deposited their check, the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Wednesday. The checks are being sent by the paying agent, Rust Consulting, Inc., to replaceuncashed checks that have now expired.Agreements reached in January 2013 between federal bank regulatory agencies and 13 mortgage servicers provided $3.6 billion in cash payments to borrowers whose homes were in any stage of the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010. The mortgages were serviced by one of the following 13 companies, their affiliates, or subsidiaries: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. The payments ranged from several hundred dollars to $125,000 plus lost equity.

Beginning in April 2013, payments were mailed to all of the nearly 4.2 million in-scope borrowers of these servicers. As of January 2015, more than 3.4 million of these checks, totaling more than $3.1 billion, had been cashed or deposited. This represents approximately 87 percent of the total amount of funds these servicers were required to pay.

Nearly 600,000 checks mailed to borrowers of these 13 servicers remain outstanding, and have now expired. As part of the agencies’ ongoing efforts to reach these borrowers, the paying agent was directed to conduct additional searches of updated addresses. The current mailing represents the third attempt directed by the agencies to provide checks to in-scope borrowers. Borrowers who have already cashed or deposited their checks will not receive additional payment. Borrowers must cash or deposit the replacement checks within 90 days of the issue date or the check will be void.

After January 2013, similar agreements were reached with federal bank regulatory agencies that provided cash payments to borrowers whose homes were in any stage of the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010 and whose mortgages were serviced by GMAC Mortgage and EverBank. As of year-end 2014, payments were mailed to all of the in-scope borrowers of these two servicers. Replacement checks for borrowers of GMAC Mortgage who have not yet cashed or deposited their checks are expected to be mailed by Rust Consulting, Inc., by May 2015.

Borrowers whose mortgages were serviced by one of the 13 servicers that entered into agreements in January 2013 or by GMAC Mortgage should call Rust Consulting, Inc. with questions at 888-952-9105, Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. EST or Saturday between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST. Borrowers who had a mortgage serviced by EverBank should contact the paying agent for that agreement, Epiq Systems, with questions at 877-819-9754.

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Do Student Loans Contribute to Foreclosure Crisis? What We’ve Seen from Homeowners in San Jose and Sunnyvale, CA

Foreclosures caused by student loan debt?USA Today reported yesterday (“Nobel winner: Cut student loan rates” ) on one of the proposals that has been put forth by Senator Elizabeth Warren (Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act)  to deal with what some have termed the next subprime mortgage bubble- student loan debt.

Right now, student loan interest rates on Government-subsidized Stafford loans will increase in July 2013 from 3.4% to 6.8% unless Congress acts.

Senator Warren’s proposal would instead have the interest rate tied to the Federal Reserve’s discount rate, which is currently .75%.   In presenting her proposal, Warren explained that this would mean student borrowers would pay the same interest rates that large banks pay when they borrow money from the Federal Reserve.

Is student loan debt the next subprime bubble?  It could be, especially if the rates are allowed to increase to 6.8%.   Here at ForeclosureHelp, we work with homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgages in San Jose and Sunnyvale, California.    Based off a few recent cases of homeowners we’ve worked with, we can say that student loan debt is a very real problem for homeowners.

It could be the single person, who is already struggling with their mortgages, perhaps had their student loans in deferment, but can no longer defer the loans and must start paying them.   This extra expense, which could range from anywhere from $200 to $1,000 more a month, has to come from somewhere.

Or, it could be the parents who co-signed on student loans because they wanted their kids to go to college, but are now struggling to pay these loans in addition to other expenses like the mortgage, food, gas, etc.

Student loan debt, unlike credit card debt, can’t be eliminated through bankruptcy except in some limited cases (see the Nolo resource page below).   While there are options like deferment, it seems like a more concrete, lasting change will be necessary.   The status quo- with students trapped  by overwhelming amounts of student debt, has translated to fewer first time homebuyers, a “drag” on the economy, and is also part of the reason that the housing sector continues to limp along.  In fact, Forbes (Student Loan Problems: One Third Of Millennials Regret Going To College) cited a recent study of millenials in which 1/3 said they regret having gone to college and would have been better off working instead.

So, here at ForeclosureHelp, we are very interested to see how Congress addresses the student loan debt crisis because we know it has very real implications for homeowners here in San Jose and Sunnyvale, or for recent graduates would like to be homeowners at some point, but have a large overhand of debt that will prevent that from happening for another 10-15 years.  When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asked Americans for their ideas on dealing with the crisis, they heard from almost 30,000 people- demonstrating that this is a very real problem for too many Americans.

A few resources that may be helpful:

Top 10 Student Loan Tips for Recent Graduates

Mapping Your Future: Manage your student loan debt

NOLO.com: “Student Loan Debt in Bankruptcy”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Helping borrowers find ways to stay afloat A path forward to spur affordable repayment options

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Foreclosure Help is a coalition 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.

ForeclosureHelp partners include the Housing Trust Silicon Valley (lead agency), the Fair Housing Law Project at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, SurePath Financial Solutions, Project Sentinel, Asian Inc, Neighborhood Housing Services of Silicon Valley, and the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors.

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: 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.

fair_housing_logo

FAIR HOUSING AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

It is the policy of ForeclosureHelp not to discriminate against any person because of that person’s race, color, religious creed, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status (households with children under the age of 18), source of income, disability, medical condition or age. Color or “ethnic group identification” means the possession of the racial, cultural or linguistic characteristics common to a racial, cultural or ethnic group, or the country or ethnic group from which a person or his or her forebears originated. As required by law, we agree to take the affirmative steps needed to further fair housing.

ForeclosureHelp will consider any and all requests for reasonable accommodation in the application of its rules, policies, practices, and services, and in the use of its physical structures, in accordance with the requirements of state and federal laws. You can ask ForeclosureHelp to consider any reasonable accommodation you may have. Please consult with the Program Manager (408-293-6000 or via email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org) to request this accommodation.

Some Litton Loan and Saxon Mortgage Customers Will Receive a Second Independent Foreclosure Review Check

According to a press release from the Federal Reserve dated today, there was a “clerical error” that led to some homeowners not receiving the correct amount of money they were supposed to under the settlement agreement that Goldman Sachs (former owner of Litton Loan) and Morgan Stanley (former owner of Saxon Mortgage) made with federal regulators.  Approximately 96,000 homeowners of the 217,000 (that’s 44%) homeowners who were sent the payments were sent a smaller amount than they were supposed to receive, and as a result, Rust Consulting will be sending out additional checks on May 17th.

If the Federal Reserve or OCC were willing to discuss this program openly, we’d love to know how was this error discovered, since there is no independent appeal process for homeowners and former homeowners who believe that they were put in the wrong category.   In other words, without an appeal mechanism, how did the word make it up to the decision makers at the Federal Reserve, the OCC, or at Rust Consulting?

For more information about former Litton and Saxon customers, visit our earlier blog: Litton and Saxon Mortgage Servicing Customers will Start to Receive Checks from Foreclosure Review Settlement on May 3rd, 2013

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.

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: 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.

fair_housing_logo

FAIR HOUSING AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

It is the policy of ForeclosureHelp not to discriminate against any person because of that person’s race, color, religious creed, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status (households with children under the age of 18), source of income, disability, medical condition or age. Color or “ethnic group identification” means the possession of the racial, cultural or linguistic characteristics common to a racial, cultural or ethnic group, or the country or ethnic group from which a person or his or her forebears originated. As required by law, we agree to take the affirmative steps needed to further fair housing.

ForeclosureHelp will consider any and all requests for reasonable accommodation in the application of its rules, policies, practices, and services, and in the use of its physical structures, in accordance with the requirements of state and federal laws. You can ask ForeclosureHelp to consider any reasonable accommodation you may have. Please consult with the Program Manager to request this accommodation.

Litton and Saxon Mortgage Servicing Customers will Start to Receive Checks from Foreclosure Review Settlement on May 3rd, 2013

A press release from the Federal Reserve today states that checks will start being mailed out on May 3rd, 2013 for homeowners who had their loans serviced by Litton Loan Servicing (owned by Goldman Sachs) or by Saxon Mortgage (owned by Morgan Stanley) and who fit the eligibility criteria for the agreements with these two mortgage servicing companies.

Similar to the Independent Foreclosure Review, there are different categories that homeowners (and former homeowners) are being placed into, based on how serious or illegal the error was that the companies made.  You can view the chart here:  Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley

In the vague language that we have seen throughout this process, the press release notes:

In some cases, the payment amounts for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley borrowers differ from those received by borrowers in the same categories with the other 11 servicers. The amounts differ because borrowers whose mortgages were serviced by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were not able to request a review of their foreclosure file.

Matt Taibbi has written a scathing piece about the Independent Foreclosure Review in Rolling Stone Magazine (4/26/2013): While Wronged Homeowners Got $300 Apiece in Foreclosure Settlement, Consultants Who Helped Protect Banks Got $2 Billion. 

Now it comes out that not only were these consultants not so independent, not only did they very likely skew the numbers seriously in favor of the banks, and not only were these few consultants paid over $2 billion (over 20 percent of the entire settlement amount) while the average homeowner only received $300 in the deal – in addition to all of that, it appears that federal regulators will not turn over the evidence of impropriety they discovered during these reviews to homeowners who may want to sue the banks.

Last week, we wrote that legislation has been introduced to monitor this process because the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller Currency are stone-walling requests for information about this review process from Senators.

 

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.

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: 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.

fair_housing_logo

FAIR HOUSING AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

It is the policy of ForeclosureHelp not to discriminate against any person because of that person’s race, color, religious creed, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status (households with children under the age of 18), source of income, disability, medical condition or age. Color or “ethnic group identification” means the possession of the racial, cultural or linguistic characteristics common to a racial, cultural or ethnic group, or the country or ethnic group from which a person or his or her forebears originated. As required by law, we agree to take the affirmative steps needed to further fair housing.

ForeclosureHelp will consider any and all requests for reasonable accommodation in the application of its rules, policies, practices, and services, and in the use of its physical structures, in accordance with the requirements of state and federal laws. You can ask ForeclosureHelp to consider any reasonable accommodation you may have. Please consult with the Program Manager to request this accommodation.

New Federal Bill Introduced to Create Independent Monitor to Oversee Independent Foreclosure Review

On April 25, 2013, Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced HR 1706, “The Mortgage Settlement Monitoring Act of 2013” that would oversee the distribution of funds from the Independent Foreclosure Review.

Our blog readers know that ForeclosureHelp has followed the Independent Foreclosure Review closely and we think some additional sunshine into how decisions were made to end the program would benefit Congress and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have either lost their homes to foreclosure or who have experienced the mortgage modification process with their bank or servicer.  (To see our concerns with the Independent Foreclosure Review, visit our earlier post: “Seven Reasons to Postpone the Independent Foreclosure Review“)

As Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) commented at a congressional hearing earlier this month, it seems contradictory to pay consultants hundreds of millions of dollars to review errors the bank made, then not use that information, and instead, have the banks and servicers decide which category of error the homeowners should be placed into.  The majority of homeowners have already received or will receive a payment of $300 under the revised settlement.

The bill is being co-sponsored by Ranking Members Maxine Waters, George Miller, John Conyers, and Henry Waxman, and Representatives John F. Tierney, Zoe Lofgren, and Jan Schakowsky.

National supporters include the Center for Responsible Lending, the National Consumer Law Center, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, Americans for Financial Reform, National People’s Action, The Connecticut Fair Housing Center and Consumer Action.

In a press release, Representative Cummings explained: “Mortgage servicers have now admitted that they broke the law by illegally foreclosing on American families and committing numerous other abuses, but regulators refuse to provide even the most basic information about the extent of the abuses that were uncovered,” said Cummings.  “Since federal regulators now plan to rely on these same banks to determine payouts and deliver settlement funds to borrowers, we need an Independent Monitor to bring transparency and accountability to this process.”

According to the same press release, the Act would create a Monitor (appointed by President Obama) to review compliance by all parties, including not only the banks and servicers, but also the Federal Reserve and the OCC.   As a reminder, both the Federal Reserve and the OCC have rebuffed earlier requests from Representative Cummings and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to release information about illegal procedures at the bank (like robosigning), suggesting that they are “trade secrets.”

The Monitor would also issue quarterly reports with the following information:

  • A description of the criteria and methodology used to determine eligibility for direct and indirect relief, as well as a description of due process protections for recipients;
  • Information on borrowers who receive relief, broken down by mortgage servicer and including demographic information, the level of direct compensation for similarly situated borrowers, and the number and amounts of principal reduction loan modifications and other types of borrower assistance;
  • Information on the credit given to mortgage servicers for direct and indirect compensation provided to borrowers; and
  • A list of instances in which mortgage servicers or regulators fail to comply with the terms of the settlement, and a list of actions taken by the Federal Reserve or the OCC to compel compliance.

If it’s not in the bill, we imagine that homeowners across the U.S. would also like this new monitor to ask a few questions of the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller Currency, such as:

1) Was there any thought during 2012 about possibly ending the program sooner?   Who ultimately made the decision to end the program in January?

2) What are the financial differences for banks and servicers if the Independent Foreclosure Review had continued as planned and the consultants had decided which category the borrowers should go in?   In other words, was it cheaper for the banks and servicers to discontinue the Independent Foreclosure Review?  If so, how much money did they save?

3) Is there any thought given to clawing back some of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on consultants, considering most of their work isn’t being used, there were conflicts of interest between the consultants and the banks, there were media reports of some consultants not doing any real work while they were on the clock, and the results of their reviews are apparently “trade secrets” that can’t be made public?

4) What was the rational to only use the 2009-2010 time period for the eligibility qualifications?  Do federal regulators have proof that there was no robo-signing or illegal foreclosures before 2009 or after 2010?

5) Given the evidence that is already public about robo-signing issues and the disorganization at many servicers and banks, why isn’t there a built-in appeal process with the current program, especially for homeowners who have documented the errors that their bank committed against them?

6) Can you explain the exact process for assigning homeowners to a “category of harm?”  On what grounds are banks and servicers confident that they are assigning a homeowner to the correct category?

7) Have there been any conversations about the damage done to credit reports and scores because of improper foreclosures, and what this means for those people and their increased costs for borrowing money?

8) Were any homeowners, housing counselors, or housing advocates asked to join the conversations about this settlement when it was originally designed?  If not, why weren’t they involved in the process since they have the most direct first-hand knowledge of the issues the settlement was designed to address?

We’d love to hear other questions our readers may have for federal regulators, and if readers have experience with the Independent Foreclosure Review, they may want to call their Representative and ask them about this new legislation.

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.

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: 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.

fair_housing_logo

FAIR HOUSING AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

It is the policy of ForeclosureHelp not to discriminate against any person because of that person’s race, color, religious creed, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status (households with children under the age of 18), source of income, disability, medical condition or age. Color or “ethnic group identification” means the possession of the racial, cultural or linguistic characteristics common to a racial, cultural or ethnic group, or the country or ethnic group from which a person or his or her forebears originated. As required by law, we agree to take the affirmative steps needed to further fair housing.

ForeclosureHelp will consider any and all requests for reasonable accommodation in the application of its rules, policies, practices, and services, and in the use of its physical structures, in accordance with the requirements of state and federal laws. You can ask ForeclosureHelp to consider any reasonable accommodation you may have. Please consult with the Program Manager to request this accommodation.

Federal Reserve Issues Update about Independent Foreclosure Review Checks

The Federal Reserve issued this Press Release this morning:

Release Date: April 17, 2013

For immediate release

The paying agent for checks being sent to borrowers under the Independent Foreclosure Review has assured the Federal Reserve Board that early problems with some checks have been corrected and that funds are available to cash all checks.

Some early recipients of checks informed the Federal Reserve’s consumer helpline on Tuesday that they were told their checks could not be cashed. Members of the Board staff contacted the paying agent, Rust Consulting, Inc., and the paying bank, The Huntington National Bank. Rust subsequently corrected problems that led to some checks being rejected.

The Board will continue to monitor the payments closely and encourages borrowers who have concerns or experience difficulties cashing their checks to call Rust at 1-888-952-9105.

As previously announced, on April 12, payments began to 4.2 million borrowers following an agreement reached by federal bank regulatory agencies and 13 mortgage servicers. More than 50,000 people have already cashed or deposited checks.

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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 Josethrough a HUD Community Development Block Grant 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.

fair_housing_logo

FAIR HOUSING AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

It is the policy of ForeclosureHelp not to discriminate against any person because of that person’s race, color, religious creed, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status (households with children under the age of 18), source of income, disability, medical condition or age. Color or “ethnic group identification” means the possession of the racial, cultural or linguistic characteristics common to a racial, cultural or ethnic group, or the country or ethnic group from which a person or his or her forebears originated. As required by law, we agree to take the affirmative steps needed to further fair housing.

ForeclosureHelp will consider any and all requests for reasonable accommodation in the application of its rules, policies, practices, and services, and in the use of its physical structures, in accordance with the requirements of state and federal laws. You can ask ForeclosureHelp to consider any reasonable accommodation you may have. Please consult with the Program Manager to request this accommodation.

Related articles

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: 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.