Homeowners Say Customer Service is Still a Problem when They Contact Their Bank or Servicer

Lost documents, robo-signing, getting different messages from different bank departments, broken verbal promises for modifications, loan servicing being transferred, and unexplained modification denials- are these all things of the past with settlements like the Independent Foreclosure Review, Attorney General Settlement, and here in California, the new Homeowner Bill of Rights?

Not exactly.

At the national level, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently made its complaint database public and complaints about mortgage loan servicing issues represent 55% of the 90,000 complaints. The Bureau is making the data public and asking for people’s ideas on how to use the data.  As an example, the Bureau created a sort-able spreadsheet that allows users to sort by the type of complaint, company, etc.

HousingWire recently touched on some of these issues in their April 23rd article, “Loan mods, inaccessible websites irritate servicing customers the most.” The article describes Craig Martin’s recent presentation where he said that loan modification and inaccessible/difficult to maneuver websites are two top complaints of homeowners.   Martin is with J.D. Power and Associates, which publishes an annual rating on mortgage loan servicers.

In J.D. Power and Associates’ most recent survey of 5,623 homeowners ,  BB&T, Regions Mortgage, SunTrust Mortgage, Chase, and PNC Mortgage were ranked the highest quality.  In comparison, the five lowest rated banks/servicers were Aurora Loan Services, OneWest Bank (formerly Indymac), Homeward Residential, Nationstar Mortgage, and Ocwen Loan Servicing.   You can see the full chart of all the banks on page 4:  J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Amid Record-Low Interest Rates and Improved Loan Modification Programs, Customer Satisfaction Increases

If you live in San Jose or Sunnyvale and you’re struggling with your mortgage, you may want to sit down and meet with a housing counselor from ForeclosureHelp.  At your appointment, they’ll review your mortgage, your income/monthly budget, and then help you understand your eligibility for programs like HAMP, HARP, in-house modifications, and Keep Your Home California– a program that over 600 Santa Clara County residents have already accessed and used.

The services at ForeclosureHelp are paid for through a federal Community Development Block Grant from the City of San Jose and from a grant from the City of Sunnyvale- so there is no charge to the homeowner.

 Other resources to review:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns mortgage servicers about legal protections for consumers when transferring loans

The CFPB takes action against mortgage insurers to end kickbacks to lenders

Maggie’s Five Rules for Working with Your Bank or Servicer

California Monitor (for Attorney General Settlement with 5 largest banks) Website

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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.

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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.

ForeclosureHelp Program Manager Position Opening (San Jose California)

The ForeclosureHelp program is recruiting a new program manager, position description is below:

FORECLOSUREHELPSCC PROGRAM MANAGER
THIS IS A FULL TIME, TEMPORARY POSITION FROM JUNE 15, 2013 TO JUNE 30, 2014HISTORY AND MISSION
Housing Trust Silicon Valley (HTSV) (formerly Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, Inc.) is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the supply of affordable housing in Silicon Valley. Founded in 2000 with the support of corporate and community investors, the mission of the Housing Trust is to serve as a catalyst to develop desperately-needed affordable housing in Silicon Valley through a mix of corporate and community investors. The Housing Trust is dedicated to building and sustaining a revolving loan fund and grant-making program that will leverage other housing resources throughout the Silicon Valley. The Housing Trust is the lead agency of the ForeclosureHelpSCC Consortium (Consortium) made up of 7 nonprofit organizations.

OVERVIEW OF THE POSITION
The Manager plays a key role in the management of the ForeclosureHelpSCC Program and in coordinating the seven member organizations of theconsortium. The Program is funded through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds awarded to the Consortium. This position is for a twelve (12) month period.ForeclosureHelpSCC offers free assistance to eligible at risk homeowners and tenants in San Jose and Sunnyvale. The Manager is employed by the Housing Trust Silicon Valley. The Manager should possess excellent housing counseling and relationship building skills to work in this environment. This role will include coordination, scheduling and oversight of volunteers and foreclosure prevention counselors, as well as the day-to-day program operations. The Manager is also responsible for oversight of the Saturday satellite office. The Manager must have exceptional organizational skills and possess outstanding written and verbal communication skills. The Manager will be responsible maintaining the program’s website, blog and Facebook. The Manager will all be responsible for all Grant reporting.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
General Management (40%)
• General operations management of the ForeclosureHelpSCC Program and Center. Manage and monitor work load to ultimately meet the goals and performance measures as established in the approved Application.
a) Coordinate an effective marketing and outreach plan with consortium members, to reach homeowners and tenants who are at risk of foreclosure in San Jose or Sunnyvale
b) Ensure culturally sensitive service is provided by all staff
c) Ensure eligibility requirements are met and that at least 51% of clients are Low Moderate Income or 80% of Area Median Income
d) Provide documentation package quality control to ensure referral to foreclosure counselor is seamless and streamlined
e) Familiarity with required foreclosure prevention intake documentation and client budget preparation

Supervision and Volunteer Coordination (25%)
Responsible for the coordination, supervision and leadership of a pool of approximately 20 real estate and lending professional volunteers
• Precision scheduling of volunteers and counselors, including client language match as required

Reporting (10%)
• Ensure timely and accurate data input and reporting (experience with SalesForce, CounselorMax, or HCO Online would be helpful)
• Familiarity with federal rules and regulations, specifically Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
• Ability to detect mortgage scams and proper reporting

Outreach (25%)
• Represent the HTSV in the consortium at meetings and to the public at large
• Staff the Foreclosure Steering Committee and attend other related meetings as required and/or necessary
• Develop an effective referral relationship with health and human service, housing counseling and placement, and employment service agencies
• Coordinate on-going foreclosure prevention outreach and educational events
• Assist with the coordination of 1-2 annual foreclosure prevention fairs
• Familiarity with the various foreclosure prevention/mitigation services, including National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC), and various “Making Home Affordable” programs
• Responsible for the implementation of a Language Access Plan to ensure limited English participants have access to services

ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS
• BS/BA in a related field preferred.
• HUD certification preferred
• Five years of progressively increasing responsibilities including supervision experience
• Prior foreclosure related experience both on the lending and real estate sides
• Excellent communication skills, both writing and verbal skills
• A commitment to foreclosure prevention issues strongly preferred
• Experience in maintaining websites, blogs and Facebook
• Organized, entrepreneurial self-starter; able to identify what needs to get done, then willing and able to make it happen
• Great attention to detail and follow-through. Sense of ownership; passionate for results.

Please email a cover letter explaining why you are suited for and interested in this position, along with your resume and a sample of your writing related to foreclosure and related issues.

NO CALLS PLEASE.

Benefits include Paid Medical, Dental, Vision, Life Insurance and 401(k) plan.

An equal opportunity employer to all regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, actual or perceived gender identity, age or sexual orientation.

  • Compensation: Annual Compensation between $57,000 and $65,000 DOE
  • This is at a non-profit organization.
  • OK to highlight this job opening for persons with disabilities
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

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.

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.

New Analysis of 2009-2011 Census Data: For Wealthiest 7%, Assets Increased 28%, but for Remaining 93%, Assets Decreased 4%

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager at ForeclosureHelp

A new analysis of Census Data by the Pew Research Center reveals that the wealth gap in the United States continues to grow, and that the “economic recovery” is mostly benefiting wealthy people.

For example, the mean net worth of the eight million households in the upper 7% increased by an estimated 28%, from $2.4 million in 2009 to $3.1 million in 2011.  In comparison, people in the lower 93% (111 million households) saw their mean net worth decrease 4%, from $139,896 in 2009 down to $133,817 in 2011.

This large difference is due mostly to the differences in assets.  For example, for households with a net worth of more than $500,000, 65% of their wealth is from financial holdings like stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts, while only 17% of their wealth is based on their home value.

In contrast, for household with a net worth of less than $500,000, half of their net worth is from their home, and only 33% is from financial holdings like retirement accounts.

The analysis also examined the time period from 2005 to 2009 (when the housing market crashed), and found that mean net worth declined by 12% for “households as a whole but remained unchanged for households with a net worth of $500,000 and over.”   For the over $500,000 group, they had a mean net worth of $1,590,075 in 2005; $1,585,441 in 2009, and $1,920,956 in 2011.

This data was interesting in light of the work we do at ForeclosureHelp- for many homeowners who live here in San Jose and Sunnyvale and who contact our program, they have already attempted at least once to ask their bank to modify their mortgages.  Unfortunately, modification requests don’t always go smoothly the first time (paperwork gets lost, etc), and many homeowners cite a list of reasons they don’t want to apply again (it’s been referred to as “modification fatigue”).

However, the analysis above clearly demonstrates that a house is the largest asset for most Americans, and that’s why we encourage homeowners to meet with one of our housing counselors who is certified in foreclosure prevention counseling.

The counselors know the programs like HAMP, HARP, or Keep Your Home California, and can work with you to understand your eligibility for these programs and to submit a modification request- even if you’ve asked for a modification before and were unsuccessful.

For more reasons working with a housing counselor makes sense, visit our earlier blog post:  Five Reasons Working With A Housing Counselor is Better Than “Going Alone”

En Espanol: ¿Por Qué Trabajar Con Un Consejero de Casa?

This post has also been popular with our blog visitors: Helpful Resources if You’re Facing Foreclosure By Foreclosure Help SCC

To read the full Pew analysis, visit: A Rise in Wealth for the Wealthy; Declines for the Lower 93%

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.

Second Wave of Independent Foreclosure Review Checks Mailed Out on April 19, 2013

The Office of the Comptroller Currency announced today that a second wave of 1.4 million checks (totaling $1.2 billion) is being mailed out today to homeowners and former homeowners as compensation under the Independent Foreclosure Review.   A total of 2.8 million checks have been sent out, worth $2.4 billion total.  According to the press release, 90% of the 4.2 million checks will be sent out by the end of April.  However, some borrowers will have to provide additional information and their checks will not be sent out until later this summer.

ForeclosureHelp reported last week about Congressional hearings on the many, many mistakes made throughout the Independent Foreclosure Review, including a poor outreach campaign, $2 billion being spent on “independent” consultants, and a decision in January to scrap the reviews for most of the original 14 banks and servicers.  This was replaced with a “program” of the banks deciding how badly they had injured a homeowner, and then the banks or servicers assigning a homeowner or former homeowner to a category, which would then determine their amount of compensation.

As we reported earlier this week, when homeowners first attempted to cash their checks, some of the checks were returned because of insufficient funds.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and other senators sharply questioned the consultants during a hearing on April 11th (Outsourcing Accountability? Examining the Role of Independent Consultants) and another hearing about the reviews took place on April 17th (Helping Homeowners Harmed by Foreclosures: Ensuring Accountability and Transparency in Foreclosure Reviews, Part II).  Senator Warren questioned whether it made sense to pay $2 billion for consultant’s work that was never actually used to determine compensation for the homeowners and former homeowners.

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).

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.