Home Loan Modification Program Ends

Home Affordable Modification Program, (HAMP) a program created by the Obama administration to help struggling home owners keep their houses, came to an end in December 2016.

On one hand, consumer advocates were not thrilled with the program, as many felt it did not go far enough to help home owners in trouble nor did it hold financial institutions accountable for their actions in contributing to the housing crisis.  However, as Republican held Washington has no intention of replacing the program, many financial institutions are now saying that they are ready to present their own foreclosure-prevention programs, based on what they learned from HAMP.

 “There’s tremendous public good in having an industrywide approach,” said Justin Wiseman, the director of loan administration policy at the Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade group. “No one wants things to revert to what we had before.”

However, as the mortgage industry created the need for such a program in the first place and were also responsible for many of the shortcomings of the HAMP program, many advocates have good reason to be skeptical.

Under the now defunct program, nearly 70 percent of home owners who applied for home loan modifications were turned down, with only 1.6 million homeowners getting to the point of having their loans permanently modified — which was less than half the number the program was intended to help. Meanwhile, nearly 14 million homes went into foreclosure, according to Attom Data Solutions, which tracks foreclosure filings.

 “Payment reduction, more than anything else, matters the most in making a modification successful,” said Wiseman of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “It sounds like the most obvious thing in the world, but it took us six years of data and research to get there.”

Read full article here:  http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Foreclosure-prevention-returns-to-the-unknown-10907574.php?cmpid=email-premium

Company Charged with Fraud in Foreclosure Bailout Scam

A complaint filed in Superior Court alleges that several New Jersey individuals and their companies defrauded potentially thousands of financially strapped people in the state, according to a release from the Office of Attorney General.

According to the release, three people, through a company called MVP Home Solutions LLC and its associated entities, charged substantial monthly fees for debt adjustment and foreclosure consulting, but failed to perform the promised services.

“We alleged these defendants shamelessly exploited homeowners who were drowning in mortgage debt and desperate to hang onto their homes; charging them up to $1,625 a month in exchange for foreclosure rescue services that were never provided,” Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in the release.

Instead of helping homeowners out of their financial crises, the defendants allegedly made it worse by causing people to fall further behind on their mortgages as they paid for undelivered services with money that could have been applied to their mortgages.

According to the complaint, the defendants were not licensed by the Department of Banking and Insurance, as required by law, to act as debt adjusters or foreclosure consultants.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business or suspect any other form of consumer abuse can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.

Read the full article here: http://patch.com/new-jersey/tomsriver/these-n-j-companies-potentially-defrauded-thousands-new-jerseyans-ag

HSBC Settles Mortgage Abuse Claims with US DOJ and States

A recent press release issued by the United States Department of Justice reports that the Justice Department and other federal agencies along with almost every State Attorney General have reached a settlement resolving allegations that HSBC committed mortgage loan origination, servicing and foreclosure abuses. The settlement appears to total $470 million of which $370 million is scheduled to be available for consumer relief including modifications and other forms of mortgage relief.

The implementation of the settlement will be overseen by Joseph A Smith, Jr., who was the monitor for the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement which was reached in February 2012. It is estimated that approximately 345 New Jersey consumers may be eligible for relief under this program if they either lost their homes or where the victim of abuse by HSBC from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2012.

Unfortunately, it appears that the selection of current or former HSBC mortgage holders will receive assistance under this program will be done by HSBC. HSBC will also determine what relief to offer to eligible consumers.

We are urging anyone who believes that they might benefit from this settlement to contact us for assistance in filing a mortgage modification application. If you would like to review the Department of Justice press release regarding this issue click on the following link:US DOJ Press Release