ForeclosureHelp Update: CitiGroup and Wells Pause Foreclosures; MN Passes Homeowner Bill of Rights; NY AG Updates Complaint Against BOA and Wells for Violating AG Settlement

It has been a busy week for developments related to the ongoing foreclosure crisis.

On May 17th, American Banker broke the news (“Wells, Citi Halt Most Foreclosure Sales as OCC Ratchets Up Scrutiny”)  that Wells Fargo and Citigroup were halting foreclosures in some states after receiving new guidance from their regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. (read the guidance here). According to the article, JP Morgan Chase had suspended foreclosures, but has re-started them.

While this “pause” is temporary, it does raise questions from housing advocates and homeowners who have suggested that banks and servicers are still failing to comply with new regulations around mortgage loan servicing, and dual tracking (processing a foreclosure and modification at the same time) abuses.

For example, the California Reinvestment Coalition’s latest survey (they’ve done nine since the foreclosure crisis started) of housing counselors in California found that homeowners and housing counselors are still dealing with multiple contacts at the bank, instead of the “Single Point of Contact” (SPOC) that is mandated by the recently enacted Homeowner Bill of Rights: “Over 70% of responding counselors reported that SPOC’s were “never,” “rarely,” or only “sometimes,” accessible, consistent or knowledgeable.” Read the full survey here: “Chasm Between Words and Deeds IX: Bank Violations Hurt Hardest Hit Communities

Homeowners here in San Jose and Sunnyvale, California who contact ForeclosureHelp for our free housing counseling services (the program is paid for through a HUD Community Development Block Grant and through funding from the city of Sunnyvale) have reported similar issues with their Single Points of Contact and not receiving return phone calls from them.

As HousingWire reported earlier this month, (“California Homeowner Bill of Rights blocks BofA foreclosure”), the protection against dual-tracking under the CA Homeowner Bill of Rights was recently used for a California homeowner who obtained an injunction against Bank of America foreclosing on his home. His attorney told HousingWire that he estimates the expenses for Bank of America for this case could easily hit $60,000.

Joseph Smith, who is the National Monitor for the AG Settlement, is expected to release a report shortly that will detail if and how well the banks are meeting the requirements they agreed to under the national AG settlement. Meanwhile, the Attorney General for the state of New York, Eric Schneiderman, has announced that he is revising his complaint against Wells Fargo and Bank of America for their alleged 339 servicing violations under the AG settlement. From American Banker: “ N.Y. AG Revising Foreclosure Settlement Complaint Against B of A, Wells

The common sense protections included in California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights appear popular in Minnesota, with the Minnesota Star Tribune reporting that a bill with similar protections has just passed their House of Representatives and has already passed the Minnesota Senate: “House passes Homeowners Bill of Rights

We’ll close on a positive note from Freddie Mac, which announced that its new Streamlined Modification program is immediately available for homeowners who are facing foreclosure and whose loan is owned by Freddie Mac. Through this program, servicers will send modification offers to borrowers who are at least 90 days late, but no more than 720 days late, and whose loan is at least 12 months old. The borrower will have to make three on time payments during a trial period, and then they will be offered a modification. Servicers can reduce the monthly mortgage payment by lowering the interest rate, extending the loan to 40 years, and also through forbearing principal (not the same as a principal reduction- this is more like a balloon payment ). For more information, read their press release: “Freddie Mac Announces Immediate Availability of Streamlined Modification for Delinquent Borrowers

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.

HARP Refinance Option for Homeowners in San Jose and Sunnyvale

A recent announcement from the “Know Your Options” website (sponsored by Fannie Mae) highlights the Home Affordable Refinance Program, (HARP) as an option for homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages.

The announcement includes the example of a retired Air Force officer who bought a home in 2007 in Sacramento, but who was reassigned to the East Coast.   Unable to sell his home in  a sluggish market, the homeowner found a renter, but was still losing about $1,000 a month.

While his original mortgage company wouldn’t refinance because he owed more than the house was worth (known as being “upside down”), he also spoke with a lender who offers the HARP loan, and was able to refinance his mortgage (at a rate that was almost 3% lower), saving about $760 a month.

The release explains that over 400,000 people obtained HARP loans during the first six months of 2012, making up about a third of the 1.5 million homeowners who have used HARP since the program began.

The loan needs to be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to qualify for a refinance.  You can see if they own your loan using these two websites:

To read the original announcement, visit: “How Much Could HARP Save You?

You may also find our earlier post about the differences between a modification and a refinance helpful:

Refinance vs. Modification: What are the differences?

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.

Foreclosure Help’s Update on the Independent Foreclosure Review, Debt Collectors, Making Home Affordable, Hispanic Homeownership,and “Zombie Foreclosures”

March Housing Update1) UPDATE: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 26th, more information here. Today is the final day for homeowners to mail their registration forms for the Lending Discrimination Settlement between the Department of Justice and Countrywide Financial Corporation.  Borrowers must mail their forms in by TODAY (MARCH 29, 2013).  Individuals with questions about the United States v. Countrywide Financial Corporation lending discrimination settlement may contact Rust, in English or Spanish, by telephone at 1-800-843-5148 or by email at info@CWFLSettlement.com, or visit the DOJ’s website.

2) The OCC just released a report on loan modifications in the fourth quarter of 2012 A few interesting facts about the Making Home Affordable Program (HAMP):

  • Among HAMP modifications, servicers reduced interest rates in 81% of those modifications, deferred principal in 29.2%, and reduced principal in 24.9%
  • HAMP modifications reduced payments by an average of 35.4%.

As a reminder, HAMP is currently set to expire in December 2013.  While it isn’t a perfect program, it has helped hundreds of thousands of Americans to remain in their homes, and housing counselors and advocates have already begun efforts to extend the program.

3) On March 18, 2013, Rust Consulting began mailing postcards to 4.2 million homeowners about the Independent Foreclosure Review, notifying them that they will receive payments.   According to a recording on the Rust Consulting phone number (1-888-952-9105), payments are supposed to start mailing out in the next four to eight weeks.  For more information about the Independent Foreclosure Review, visit our earlier blog post:  Independent Foreclosure Review: Update on $3.6 Billion in Cash Payments and $5.7 Billion in Modification Assistance.”   (Spanish version and Vietnamese version)

Financial Freedom, which is an affiliate of One West (formerly IndyMac) bank has been added to the Indepedent Foreclosure Review website as one of the four banks that are NOT participating in the review.  ForeclosureHelp has watched the Indepdent Foreclosure review process closely, and it seems strange that Financial Freedom would be added to the website AFTER the deadline has already passed for homeowners to apply- the deadline was December 31, 2012.   To see our other concerns with the Independent Foreclosure Review, visit:  Seven Reasons to Postpone the Independent Foreclosure Review.

A law firm in Washington DC has filed a Freedom of Information Act request related to the Independent Foreclosure Review to determine how the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency defined “independent” in the context of the “independent consultants” that conducted  the reviews.  More information: Thomson Reuters: Washington law firm sues bank regulator over foreclosure reviews

 4) Has Medical debt affected your credit report or score?   At ForeclosureHelp, some of the homeowners we assist are struggling with their mortgage because of their own medical issues, or a family member may have medical issues that have either prevented a person form working, or forced them to reduce their hours.  The Consumerist website is featuring stories about people whose credit scores have been tarnished because of Medical Debt.  Federal legislation that was introduced last year didn’t advance, so Consumerist is asking for stories from people dealing with medical debt so that Congress and lawmakers can see how this problem affects everyday Americans.  To read a few of their stories, visit:  Consumerist Readers Make The Case For Wiping Paid Medical Debt From Credit Reports

5) Speaking of debt collection, Dave Ramsey, a staunch advocate of getting out of debt, is trying a new approach to attacking debt collectors who engage in illegal debt collection practices.  Ramsey is using his bully platform (with his radio show and website) to not only educate people about their rights under federal law, but also to connect borrowers with attorneys who will sue debt collectors for violating federal debt collection laws.  The lawyers will be working on a contingency fee, meaning they don’t charge up front, but they do take a percentage of any settlement money if they are successful in their lawsuit.  ForeclosureHelp is not endorsing Dave Ramsey or these attorneys, but we do think this may put some collection agencies on notices that violating laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act may be very expensive if you are sued by a lawyer, and we’re happy to see more attention drawn to abusive collection practices.  We earlier re-blogged a post from the Consumerist that is helpful for consumers and we recommend reviewing it if you’re dealing with debt collectors: 23 Things Debt Collectors Are Not Allowed To Do.

6) The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals recently released their 2012 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.   A few interesting points:

  • While the Hispanic homeownership rate has decreased from 47.5% down to 46.1% since 2010, the total number of owner households has increased by almost 500,000, due to a net increase of more than 1 million total Hispanic households during the same two-year period.  (The homeownership rate is the number of owner households divided by the total number of households).
  • In 2012, Hispanics accounted for 355,000 or 51% of the total net increase of 693,000 owner households in the U.S.
  • Hispanics strongly believe in homeownership, “Fifty-six percent of Hispanics said that a major reason to buy a home was because it represents a symbol of success or achievement compared to only 32 percent of all Americans”

7. RealtyTrac released a report on 3/28/13: “Q1 2013 Foreclosure Inventory Update.”  Some interesting stats about foreclosures and foreclosure inventory:

  • 28,821 homes in the foreclosure process in California are now vacant- meaning the homeowner abandoned the home or moved during the 1st quarter in 2013.  California has the 3rd largest inventory of these homes (which have not yet been foreclosed on), only Florida and Illinois have more.  RealtyTrac was able to assess this by comparing foreclosure records against post office records.
  • Foreclosure Inventory is still strong: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA/HUD have the largest percent of foreclosure inventory, representing 12% of the national total.  Bank of America is in second place with 11%, Wells Fargo represented 10%, and Chase is 7%.
  • There was a 58% increase in Chase being listed as the foreclosing entity as compared to a year ago, other large increases (as compared to a year ago) include Nationstar Mortgage (101%); Green Tree Servicing (89%), OneWest Bank (67%), and EverBank (61%).

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit us: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org

Our housing counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

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

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

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

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

Event Focuses on Stabilizing Homeownership after Foreclosures in California

Foreclosure in California: 2010 to 2012

Editor’s note: This is post #2 in a two-part series. (Read Post #1)

By Sean Coffey, Program Manager, Foreclosure Help

The California Housing Consortium recently sponsored the 1st Annual  Homeownership Forum.  The theme for the day was “Stabilizing Homeownership and Communities in the Post-Foreclosure World” and panelists and participants discussed current efforts to repair the housing market, while creating and retaining affordable housing.    To see the agenda and speaker slides, visit the CHC website.

Keep Your Home CA, California’s Role in AG Settlement, Homeowner Bill of Rights

The first panel discussion was moderated by Rick Jacobus, from NCB Capital Impact and included Rick Okikawa from CalHFA, Steve Gallagher from Keep Your Home California, and Frances Gunder, from the Attorney General’s office.  France Gunder discussed about the high-stakes negotiations that ultimately led to California signing on to the Attorney General settlement.  California had walked away from the negotiating table at one point in the negotiations because of concerns the settlement didn’t provide enough relief to California homeowners.

Gunder also discussed the California Homeowner Bill of Rights that includes similar mortgage servicing requirements as the AG settlement.  However, the California Homeowner Bill of Rights applies to ALL banks/servicers who are servicing mortgages in California.  In contrast, the AG settlement only applies to the five largest banks: Ally, Chase, Bank of America, Citi, and Wells Fargo, and expires after three years.

Steve Gallagher gave an update on Keep Your Home California, and in response to a question about programs designed to assist with second mortgages, suggested that participants look at the Local Innovation Fund.

California’s Economy and Real Estate Market

Dr. Selma Hepp, Senior Economist for the California Association of Realtors, presented an overview of the economy and real estate market in California.  While the market is recovering, a few trends could be worrisome for housing advocates, including the number of homes that are still upside down in California (and the amount they are upside down), the increase in all-cash offers beating out first-time homebuyers, and an interesting difference in how buyers and sellers view the current market.  Dr. Hepp noted that homebuyers have far more optimistic perspectives on the potential for a house to increase in value as compared to home sellers.

Pilots to Heal the Market

The third panel was moderated by Kevin Zwick, from the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County.   Rose Cade at Enterprise Community Partners discussed pilots to preserve affordable housing stock in California, including the ROOT program in Oakland, and a pilot with Waypoint Homes.  Rebecca Regan, with the Housing Partnership Network, discussed the Mortgage Resolution Fund and the Community Restoration Corporation, which allows for banks to donate homes to a non-profit (instead of the bank walking away from them).

Beth Haiken from Waypoint Homes explained their model of purchasing homes and setting up two-year leases, with a system that allows renters to accumulate points that can be used for a later purchase of a home.  She also cited research that each 1% drop in homeownership equates to a need for 750,000 more rental units.    Drew Collins, from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, described online counseling resources, and also said that in his experience, current homeowners are ready and excited about buying homes, but are often losing out when competing against all-cash buyers.

Dr. Carolina Reid, from the University of California, Berkeley, was the third keynote presentation and talked about the impact of the crisis on low-income communities and minority homeowners.  She began by suggesting that contrary to some suggestions, the subprime melt-down wasn’t due to lenders being force to make loans to low-income people or people of color to increase homeownership.  In fact, she suggested that the subprime lending boom undermined homeownership for people of color and low-income people.

Reid explained that  the recent final rule for the Qualified Mortgages was published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in January 2013 and cited estimates that as many as 30 to 40% of low-income people will be unable to qualify for mortgages under this new regulation.

Local Innovation

The final panel of the day was moderated by Sean Spear from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee and included Denise Bickerstaff, from the County of San Bernardino, Craig Ferguson from the California Rural Home Mortgage Finance Authority, Ed Mayer from the California Affordable Housing Agency, and John Perfitt from Restore Neighborhoods LA.

Denise Bickerstaff discussed efforts to address foreclosures in San Bernardino County, the largest county in California and in the United States, and where an estimated 50% of homes are underwater.  Bickerstaff touched on the controversy surrounding the possibility of using eminent domain to seize mortgages, and explained that the risks involved with using this as a tool to address the crisis had been a large obstacle.  She suggested that people may be interested in the RFQ announced by the Joint Powers Authority Home Ownership Protection Program Joint Powers Authority , and also suggested visiting http://www.saveyourhomesbcounty.org/

John Perfitt, the Executive Director of Restore Neighborhoods Los Angles, discussed implementing the NSP program in partnership with the city of Los Angeles to purchase and rehab homes and strengthen neighborhoods that had been affected by the foreclosure crisis.

Craig Feguson discussed the Residential Energy Retrofit Program, which allows eligible homeowners in 44 counties of California to apply for a 6.5% fixed interest rate loan, up to $50,000, to make energy efficiency home improvements.

Ed Mayer discussed a partnership between CalAHA and Cascadia that will allow people in several counties to lease single family homes with the option to purchase the home in the future.

The agenda as well as PDF’s of the presentations are available here: www.calhsng.org

Congratulations to the organizers, presenters, and sponsors for putting this event together.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit us: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org

Our housing counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

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

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

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

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

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac May Allow Some Deeds-in-Lieu

Freddie Mac Deed in Lieu of foreclosure

By Sean Coffey, Program Manager, Foreclosure Help

Bloomberg reports that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently announced a change to assist homeowners who are current on their mortgages but who are upside down and now need to move.

The title of the article “Fannie To Allow Walkaways by On-Time Borrowers: Mortgages”  is a bit dramatic, as homeowners will still need to demonstrate a hardship, and the deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (handing the house back to the bank) will still be reported to credit agencies.  In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may also require homeowners to pay back some of the difference between the outstanding mortgage balance and the current value of the property if they have the means.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been criticized in the past because of their reluctance to use principal right downs to assist homeowners.  Kurt Eggert, the author of “Limiting Abuse and Opportunism by Mortgage Servicers” suggested in the Bloomberg article that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “playing catch-up” and that this change should have happened earlier.

According to the article, the new program is aimed at homeowners who have remained current on their mortgages, but need to move out of their home because of a job offer, deployment, illness or other hardship.  Homeowners will also need to demonstrate that they have a 55% percent debt-to-income ratio.

In their report for 3rd Quarter 2012, (FHFA: “Foreclosure Prevention Report Third Quarter 2012“) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported allowing 3,994 deeds-in-lieu during Q3 2012.   In comparison, the two agencies allowed 33,972 short sales.

There were 145,000 delinquent Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae mortgages in California as of September 30, 2012 (out of a total of 3.5 million Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac loans).

To read more about the changes, visit Bloomberg: “Fannie To Allow Walkaways by On-Time Borrowers: Mortgages

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.

Five Questions for the Presidential Candidates About the Foreclosure Crisis

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager, ForeclosureHelpSCC

  1. What is your position on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and allowing principal reductions for homeowners?   If elected or re-elected, would you consider changing this policy so they could allow principal reductions?  (In addition to principal reductions for Fannie and Freddie Loans through Keep Your Home California).
  2. Would you push for extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act which is set to expire in December 2012?
  3. Will you push to extend the Independent Foreclosure Review (and potentially the foreclosure refund under the Attorney General settlement) deadline so that more people can learn about it?
  4. Is there anything you would change with current system of modifications, short-sales, and foreclosures?
  5. Do you think we have put adequate policies in place to prevent another mortgage meltdown and foreclosure crisis?

ForeclosureHelpSCC is sponsoring a FREE foreclosure resource fair here in San Jose on October 20th at Overfelt High School from 9am to 3pm..  Come meet with a HUD-approved housing counselor, learn about your options, and make a plan.  Visit our website or blog post for more information, or you can call us to register: 408-293-6000.

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.

Refinance vs. Modification: What are the differences?

By Yvonne Castillo, Housing Counselor at SurePath Financial Solutions, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC

With the housing crisis all around us in San Jose, Sunnyvale, and other cities in Santa Clara County, we hear some buzz words over and over, words such as foreclosure, modification, refinance and short sale. As a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, we often hear questions about the differences between modification and refinance, and which one is the best one to choose. The information below explains some of the main differences between these two options.

REFINANCE
What is a refinance?  A refinance is a new loan that you take out to pay off your old loan. A traditional refinance will require you to have equity on the property (up to 20%) to request a new loan.

Reasons why people refinance:  There are many reasons you may want to refinance your existing mortgage. For example, you may do it to lower your payments or interest rate. Or, to consolidate your 1st and 2nd mortgages, to extend or shorten the length of your mortgage, to change lenders, or to add or remove someone from your existing mortgage.

What happens when you refinance?  It is similar to the process of when you received your original mortgage. Because this is a new loan, you will receive a new loan number and your new loan may have different terms than your old loan.

Before you contact a lender to consider refinancing you should order your credit reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (consider using Annual Credit Report to get an idea of the information included in your credit report). Generally speaking, the higher the credit rating you have, the better an interest rate you can qualify for, and the more money you will save. You will also need to show sufficient income to afford the new payments as well as your household expenses.

Unemployment and temporary disability benefits are considered temporary forms of income. Therefore, they are not acceptable forms of income when refinancing. You should also be current on your mortgage, car and credit card payments for approximately the past twelve months when considering refinancing as an option to remain in your home.

What costs are involved in a refinance? When refinancing there can be origination, processing and closing costs. Some lenders may waive some of these fees by including them into the loan balance. Check with your lender about any up-front or financed cost involved.

What if I do not have equity in my property? If your property is worth less than what you owe and your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may want to learn more about the Home Affordable Refinance Program, also known as HARP. This is one of the federal programs to assist homeowners to refinance their loans even if they don’t meet the equity criteria. You can learn more about the program on the Making Home Affordable website.

MODIFICATION
What is a loan modification? It is a temporary or permanent change of the terms of the current mortgage agreement that is usually requested to make the mortgage payments more affordable.

What is the main reason why people request a loan modification? The main reason to consider a loan modification is to have more affordable mortgage payments and remain in your home, especially if you do not qualify to refinance your mortgage. You have to be experiencing a financial hardship which has made it difficult to make your current mortgage payments or missed one or more of your mortgage payments. It’s important to note that banks and servicers do not consider it a financial hardship if your only reason to modify your loan is because you owe more on your mortgage balance than the home is currently worth (also known as being “upside down”).

What terms can be changed in a modification? When receiving a loan modification you will keep your current loan number but some of the terms on your mortgage will be modified. This could include lowering your interest rate, or modifying an adjustable rate mortgage (where the interest rate varies) to a fixed rate mortgage where your mortgage payments and rate will remain fixed for the life of the loan. In some modifications, the interest rate is lowered for a few years (for example, a modification under HAMP can go as low as two percent), and then gradually increases over the course of a few years.

Will my payments be lower with a loan modification? For many households the loan modification has allowed them to reduce their mortgage payments and bring their loan current. However, it is important to note that if your current loan is an interest only loan, then changing it to a fully amortizing loan (where you are paying interest and principal) could result in an increase of your mortgage payment. However, banks and servicers can address this issue by lowering the interest rate, or lengthening the life of the loan (for example from 30 to 40 years).

In some limited cases, a loan modification may reduce or defer the balance owed. The homeowner may have a wish list of how they want their bank or servicer to modify their loan, but ultimately it is up to the bank or servicer (and sometimes the investor(s) who own the mortgage) whether or not they will modify the loan, and if so, how the terms will be adjusted.

Are there costs involved with a loan modification? Generally, there is no origination, processing and closing costs included when doing a loan modification. However some lenders will charge a small loan modification fee that is added to the balance of your loan and disclosed in the loan modification documents.

What information will be reviewed in a loan modification? Your bank or servicer will require a complete financial disclosure to evaluate the possibility of granting a loan modification. Information regarding your household income and expenses, amount of debt, proof of income, reason of the financial hardship, debt to income ratio etc, will be required to evaluate your modification request. If you have stopped making your mortgage payments, your bank or servicer will review if the non-payment is a result of the financial hardship. The bank will also want to see that there is a sustainable action plan going forward that will allow you to have sufficient income to continue paying your modified mortgage.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and want to know if either of these options will be applicable to your case 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. HUD approved counselors are available to provide free counseling sessions that will help you review your finances and evaluate the options for you.

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