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

Editor’s note: Foreclosure Help is a program funded by the city of San Jose through a HUD Community Development Block Grant and the city of Sunnyvale, and we can directly assist homeowners  and tenants in San Jose and Sunnyvale who are facing foreclosure.  However, we are unable to assist homeowners/former homeowners in other cities and states.  If you need housing counseling, we suggest using the interactive map on HUD’s website and if you have questions about the information below, please contact Rust Consulting (1-888-952-9105).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smith continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Six Reasons to Deal with Your Foreclosure Problem Today, not Tomorrow

Deal with your Foreclosure Today, not TomorrowBy Sean Coffey, Program Manager at Foreclosure Help

Editor’s Note: Foreclosure Help is a program funded by the Cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale, California, to assist  homeowners and tenants in these two cities.  If you are outside of San Jose or Sunnyvale, we suggest locating the nearest HUD-approved housing counseling agency on the HUD website:   HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies.

1) It’s almost impossible to stop a trustee sale at the last minute:   We have had a number of homeowners in San Jose or Sunnyvale who contacted Foreclosure Help a week before the trustee sale, or even a day or two before the trustee sale.  While we will make every effort to assist them, the unfortunate truth is that options become very limited the closer you are to a foreclosure trustee sale.   The bank/servicer can’t necessarily postpone the sale if it’s too close to the sale date (because of their internal policies), and there isn’t time to get your documents together and submitted and accepted by the bank or servicer.  While we can try and overcome some of these obstacles, it is far less stressful and you increase your chances of success if you can begin working with a housing counselor when you first have problems with your mortgage.  Filing bankruptcy may be an option to stop your trustee sale, but it’s better if you’re making the decision to file bankruptcy because you’ve considered all your other options and it makes the most sense in your situation.  Filing bankruptcy also takes time to do, and filing it a week or two before your trustee sale (instead of trying to do it the day before) will give you the time you need to meet with a reputable attorney, get your paperwork together, etc.

2) Don’t let “bank run-around fatigue” be the reason that you let go of your home.   In the beginning of the foreclosure crisis, many homeowners I spoke with had no idea where to turn, what to do, or how to work with their bank.  Now, in 2013, most of the homeowners that contact our program have already tried working with their bank once or twice to request a modification.  They may have been denied a modification for any number of reasons, including:

  • The bank or servicer said the package was incomplete (even though you may have sent the same documents to them multiple times).
  • The bank or servicer said that the Net Present Value (NPV) test was negative.
  • The bank or servicer did not give a reason.
  • The bank said they would call me, but they didn’t, so I assumed they were working on it, but it turns out they weren’t, and my file was closed.
  • My income wasn’t sufficient when I first submitted my request.

These are all complaints that homeowners cite when we ask if they’ve tried to modify their loans before.   This is where working with a HUD-approved housing counselor can be so important.  While you as a homeowner are only working on one mortgage, a certified housing counselor has likely worked with hundreds of homeowners before your case.  This means they bring experience and expertise in assisting you, can help you put together a complete and accurate package to send to your bank or servicer, will work with you on your budget to increase your chances of a modification, and often have contacts/channels at banks or servicers that ordinary homeowners (or “expert loan modification companies”) do not have access to.

3. If you’re able to hold on, the market is improving.   Ask any real estate agent in San Jose or Sunnyvale about the market right now, and you’ll hear how dramatically it’s improving.   If you’re able to get a modification from your bank so that you can continue making payments, then you will have time for the equity in your home to increase as the market continues to improve.

4. Foreclosure Stress is not good for you or your family.  You’ve probably heard that money issues are one of the biggest stresses in a marriage.  It is incredibly stressful to deal with foreclosure, mortgage, and money issues, and it impacts the entire family.  Part of the stress may be the uncertainty you feel about whether or not you have a real chance at a modification and holding on to your home.  By working with one of our HUD-approved housing counselors, you’ll get a much better understanding of the programs that exist like HAMP, Keep Your Home California, HARP, etc.

Instead of wondering about your eligibility for these programs and whether or not they could have helped you save your home, come meet with a housing counselor who will give you a direct, unbiased assessment of your situation.   While we can’t guarantee a loan modification (and we’d recommend running away from anybody who guarantees you a loan modification) , we can help you understand your eligibility for programs and how to be a successful candidate for a loan modification.

5. Your friend means well, but they don’t know what they’re doing:  You may have had offers of help from a friend who is an attorney or a real estate agent who thinks they can help you.   While they may have good intentions, the end result is often ugly.  We’ve had a number of homeowners who contact us after a failed attempt at a modification by an attorney or a loan modification expert.   Sometimes they’ve paid for the modification, sometimes it was done for free.   (As a side note it is ILLEGAL in California to charge an upfront fee for a loan modification).

The bottom line is that you want to work with a housing counselor who knows the programs inside and out, who doesn’t have an incentive to “sell” you on a particular solution (like a short sell), and who knows the foreclosure timeline and process in California.   Good intentions are nice for birthday presents and greeting cards, but when it’s your home on the line, you need to seek out expert, trained, and certified counselors.

6. Our services are already paid for by the Cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale through a grant:  This mean we don’t charge homeowners for our services.  This means our housing counselors can give you an honest, up-front assessment of your situation and they’re not financially motivated to try and steer you towards a certain outcome.

Call us at: 408-293-6000, visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org, or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.   The sooner you call us, the more options you have and the more helpful we can be.

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.