INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW PROGRAM ENDS 12/31/2012

INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW PROCESS
EXPIRES DECEMBER 31, 2012

We are writing to remind all of our friend and clients that the deadline to file a Request for an Independent Foreclosure Review is December 31, 2012.

If you had a foreclosure in process(initiated, pending or completed) between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010; and the property securing the loan was your principal residence and the mortgage was serviced by one of the lenders identified on the following link, we urge you to request an Independent review.

Link to list of lenders who must offer the Independent Foreclosure Review is at the Federal Reserve Governors website explanation of the program, listing of lenders informative video

http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/independent-foreclosure-review.htm

These reviews were ordered by the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in a effort to give homeowners who were unfairly treated and financially harmed by the actions of the listed banks and opportunity to make a financial recovery from the banks for the errors, misrepresentation or other deficiencies that may have occurred during the foreclosure process.

A very informative short video which further explains the program is noted above.  If you think you are eligible, we urge you to apply for a Review.

The deadline is December 31, 2012.  You can make the request over the internet.

An Independent Foreclosure Review process has been set up by Order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Additional information can be obtained from the Borrowers Quick Reference at the website below:

    http://www.occ.gov/topics/consumer-protection/foreclosure-prevention/framework-summary.html

Before you complete your application be sure to review the on the  Request for Review Help Sheet on following website:

 http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/files/independent-foreclosure-review-form-help-sheet.pdf

To submit an application go to:

   https://independentforeclosurereview.com/

Once again, we urge everyone who believes that they are eligible request a review.  There is no fee for the review.

STUDENT LOAN DEBT EXPLODES

Recent articles in both the financial press and the consumer press note that student loan debt in the United States is increasing at a dizzying rate.  It is estimated that the aggregate Student Loan Debt nationally now exceeds the aggregate credit card debt.

In many cases well meaning parents co-signed for these debts along with their children.   There does not appear to be any easy relief on the horizon for parents and students trapped under the enormous burden.

For many young people the debt load means that they will have to forego full participation in todays financial world.  They will be unable to afford to purchase a home or a new car form many years, if ever.  Many of them are unable to  afford to live on their own and will have to  continue to live with their parents for many years as they try  to work down these debts.

For may parents who co-signed these loans these crushing debts will mean a delay in the start of a retirement or  a need to scale back their own living standards.

For those parents and students who are trapped in Private student loans, the lenders are offering little or no  relief and without Congressional action it appears that the future will bring not much change.

For those parents and students who are in Government student loans recent changes in the regulations may offer some opportunities to make their situations more rational.  Income Contingent and Income Based repayment programs may  offer  some relief.

If you would like  to learn more about these programs and the relief which might be available to you, please call the office and make an appointment to speak with us.

 

 

 

Is Student Loan Debt Crippling You?

We have recently learned of changes to the student loan regulations which may afford relief to people with Federal Student Loans.  This relief may be consolidation, reduction of payments or other potential elements of relief.

Some parents have been crippled by the student loans they took out for their child’s education.  Parents and children are working together to shoulder the burden but the parent could be hit harder financially due to being in a worse position given the current economic conditions and how they have impacted older generations of workers.

You are encouraged to read more here about this predicament.

If you are struggling with student loan debt or if you know someone who is struggling with these issues, please reach out to us to further discuss your options.  We would be happy to sit down with you and discuss your issued in a free consultation.  Please call us at 732-752-8834.

 

You May be Eligible for Foreclosure Aid

Were you active in the foreclosure process anywhere from January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010?  If so, you may be eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review, a program created by the federal governement between the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of Thrift Supervision. 

The program is designed to determine whether consumers suffered financial injury through errors, misrepresentations or other deficient practices on the part of the mortgage companies.  If eligible, you may have received a notice in the mail from your mortgage servicer but we encourage you to look at the requiremetns and proactively and seek it out on your own, or with our help.  Some of the eligibility requirements are that the mortgage must have been ACTIVE in the foreclosure process from January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.  Also, the mortgage must have been serviced by one of the following servicers:

  • America’s Servicing Co.
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • BAC Home Loans Servicing
  • Bank of America
  • Beneficial
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • CitiFinancial
  • CitiMortgage
  • Countrywide
  • EMC
  • EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company
  • Financial Freedom
  • GMAC Mortgage
  • HFC
  • HSBC
  • IndyMac Mortgage Services
  • MetLife Bank
  • National City Mortgage
  • PNC Mortgage
  • Sovereign Bank
  • SunTrust Mortgage
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wachovia Mortgage
  • Washington Mutual (WaMu)
  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
  • Wilshire Credit Corporation

If you qualify for this program, you could receive payments to remedy the financial injury you may have suffered during the foreclosure process. 

 This program is another chance to get some releif from an unfair foreclosure.   To get more information, please go to https://independentforeclosurereview.com/.   As always, if you have questions about forclsoure, bankruptcy, debt consolidation or other financial issues, please contact the Stephen M. Goldberg, P.C. Law Offices at 732-752-8834.  We are here to lend an ear and help you sort through your financial and legal troubles. 

There are other programs out there, to read more, go to a few previous blog posts on HAMP and the National Mortgage Settlement.

Student Loan Debt – A Growing Problem

If you are in college or putting a child through college, you are already familiar with the high costs of tuition.  With many people struggling to make ends meet but not willing to forgo a college education, they turn to loans.  There are two types of student loans available: federal and private.  Federal student loans are more heavily regulated and come directly from the government with a fixed interest rate.  Also, these loans have payment plans that are usually tied to the consumer’s income and even deferment programs for hardship situations.  Unfortunately, the amount available to an individual is not usually enough to cover all tuition costs, so the consumer turns to private loans.  Private student loans make up about 15% of the $1 trillion in outstanding student debt and do not come with any protective provisions.  Private loans aren’t guaranteed by the government and usually have higher rates because the borrowers are young, with little or no credit history.  These loans are big business for banks like Sallie Mae (SLM), J.P. Morgan, Discover, Wells Fargo, CitiBank, and Bank of America, because they are able to borrow the money from the Federal Reserve for almost 0% and then charge the consumer as much as 9%. 

If you have student loans, unfortunately they are a debt that cannot be discharged through a bankruptcy.  However, if you have other debts, bankruptcy may be able to free you from those crushing debts and allow you to focus on paying off those student loans.  Furthermore, there are some rumblings in the media that there may be relief as Congressmen are alerted to this growing issue.  Watch this space for more information! 

If you have questions about debt, debt consolidation, bankruptcy, loans, foreclosure or other legal issues, do not hesitate to reach out to us.  We are here to help you figure out a course of action and find relief!  Please call us any time: 732-752-8834.

New Mortgage Modifications on the Horizon

If you have been thinking about seeking a modification for your current mortgage, now is the time to act. Also, if you had previously sought a modification for your mortgage but were rejected, the landscape is changing and we recommend that you try again. A few new laws and other events have happened as the federal government recognizes that this mortgage crisis is too big to ignore.

In March, you may have heard of the National Mortgage Settlement, which was reached as a result of the misbehavior on the part of the 5 large mortgages servicers: JPMorgan, Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, and Wells Fargo. The outcome was a $25 billion settlement, $837 million earmarked for New Jersey, but now we are finally seeing that money impact distressed consumers. If your loan originated with the 5 institutions above and f you are in need of a loan modification now, are current on your mortgage but underwater, or if you have lost your home to foreclosure, there may be money available to you. Go to http://nationalmortgagesettlement.com for more information and to see if this is the right solution for you. You can also go to https://www.mortgageoversight.com/where-can-i-find-help/ to be directed to assistance specific to your own situation.

Another program is the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which as of Friday, June 1, 2012, has been expanded to include more distressed homeowners. HAMP is for consumers who are employed, but struggling to make their monthly mortgage payment, if eligible, homeowners are able to reduce their monthly payment. Even if you previously did not qualify for HAMP, the requirements have been expanded, so you may qualify now.

All of this information can be quite confusing for consumers. We have over 20 years of experience assisting clients with issues like this and as always, we are happy to help you navigate these new options. Please give us a call at 732-752-8834 or email us at stephengoldberg@smgpc.com. Finally, beware of scammers who are posing as representatives of these programs, make sure you use a reliable source for information for any of these programs.

UPDATE ON MORTGAGE ROBO-SIGNING ISSUES IN NEW JERSEY

When we last visited this topic the NJ Supreme Court had frozen all foreclosure sales in New Jersey and has assigned Judge Jacobson to investigate the allegations that many mortgage lenders and their attorneys had been filing inaccurate and less than truthful affidavits as part of their foreclosure papers.  There was quite an expectation that some of the bad actors would actually be punished for their wrongdoing.  It appears that the major outcome of the proceedings is that the banks and their attorneys will have to file updated and corrected affidavits on existing cases and will have to be more careful in filing new cases.  The bad guys get away again.

The Supreme Court adopted revised Court Rules to tighten the procedures to  be followed by the lenders and their attorneys to insure that the banks and their attorneys are truthful in the future, however, due to a loose end, most of the big banks have not resumed foreclosure sales.  The Supreme Court has been asked to decide if the Fair Foreclosure Notice (which must be sent by the banks to the homeowner prior to starting a foreclosure) must name the actual holder of the mortgage(as required by law) or may contain only the name of the Servicing company(as the banks have been doing).  It appears that new foreclosure cases are not being filed and that the clean-up of the existing backlog of pending foreclosure cases will not move forward until this issue is decided.

Persons currently facing foreclosure continue to get a partial reprieve due to the delay.  Sooner or later, the wheels on the foreclosure machine will start turning again.   Homeowners BEWARE!!!!!

NJ FORECLOSURE RESCUE FRAUD PREVENTION ACT

The New Jersey Legislature has finally taken action to limit the frauds which have been laid on the heads of distressed New Jersey homeowners.  The recent passage into law of the “Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act” possibly signals the end to the awful fraud to which distressed homeowners have been subjected over the last several years.

 

While these types of frauds have been around for years, the recent financial crisis and the collapse of the housing market have spawned a whole new generation of unsavory individuals engaged in this type of fraudulent activity.  Thousands of homeowners have been the victims of these frauds by so called “mortgage, foreclosure or home rescue consultants” over the last few years.    These scammers often approached distressed homeowners with promises of miraculous schemes to save their homes from foreclosure.  The scammers often took substantial up-front fees and then performed no work of any value.   In other cases the scammers convinced the homeowners to transfer the title of their home to the scammer on the promise of a “rent back and repurchase” arrangement.  The scammer would then strip any remaining equity out of the property by refinancing and making it impossible for the homeowner to ever regain possession of their property.

The new law which becomes effective in several months regulates not for profit loan modification services, sales of property by “foreclosure consultants” and the sale and leaseback scams.  The law also regulates those consultants who offer mortgage reinstatement services, mortgage modifications and promises of credit repair resulting from mortgage default.

Foreclosure consultants must now obtain a license from the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

 

 

Will the Home Mortgage Crisis ever end ??????

The financial press last week reported on two important and interesting developments in the Federal government’s response to the historic and catastrophic residential mortgage crisis. With foreclosures again on the rise, the financial press announced that the White House has floated a plan to pressure the mortgage lenders into offering reductions in principal as part of certain mortgage modifications. At the same time it is reported that the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is going to formulate a bill to try to end the Federal Governments mortgage modification programs.

The housing crisis effects all of us. There can be no national economic recovery until there is a recovery in the housing market. Even if you own a home and are paying your mortgage on-time the fact that others in your community are facing foreclosure or have already been forced out of their homes adversely effects the value of every property in the community. We all have a great stake in the health of the housing market.

The current federal efforts to rehabilitate the housing market(TARP and the administrations HAMP program, among others), have been more aimed at saving the big banks than restoring sanity to the residential real estate market. It seems to me that the only solution is to force the mortgage lenders to recognize the losses in their portfolio’s immediately. What better way that to compel them to write down the principal on underwater home mortgages.

I urge everyone who has a stake in restoring sanity to the real estate market(this is, in reality, all of us) to let the White House and Congress know that you support efforts to compel the residential real estate lenders to write-off or write-down mortgage balances which are in excess of the current value of the property. The Republicans are correct that the current Federal efforts to stabilize the residential real estate market(HAMP program) are not working, the solution is not, however, to kill the programs, but rather to review, modify and amend the programs to make them more effective in accomplishing the goal of stabilizing the values of property in the residential real estate market. Write down of underwater mortgage is the key to moving towards a solution.

Please contact the White House and the Republican leaders in Congress and let them know what you think.

HOW DO I REBUILD CREDIT AFTER BANKRUPTCY

During our 20+ years of counseling and representing individuals and families in financial distress the most frequently asked question is, “If I file for Bankruptcy will I ever be able to get credit again??”

Historically we have advised people that if they stay or get employed and continue making any payments which survive the bankruptcy(such as a reaffirmed car loan), that generally speaking, they would be eligible for new credit within the next 12 to 18 months. Payments such as rent and utilities are generally not regularly reported to the credit bureaus. Anecdotally, over the years, clients advised us that they were able to get new credit after bankruptcy.

The recent financial crisis has dramatically changed the credit landscape for consumers. Those of us who help people in financial difficulty can not yet clearly read the lay of the land in the post-crisis financial world. We continue to advise people that employment status is the most important factor in getting new credit. We have also developed strategies for reviewing and updating credit reports, applying for certain types of credit cards and instructing clients as to how to most effectively obtain and build new credit. We continue to advise people to make payments on any surviving accounts in a timely fashion.

We believe that our strategies are working as reported to us by our clients over the last 3 to 4 years. Part of our counseling with each bankruptcy client is how to move forward after the case is over to begin the process of rebuilding credit.

The answer to the question is that for most clients who have steady work we believe that credit can be restored within 12 to 18 months if they follow our instructions. Watch this website for a new feature dealing exclusively with “life after bankruptcy”

Feel free to speak with us about this important question when you meet with us.