Mortgage Modifications Live On Into 2017

There have been recent reports in the press that the mortgage modifications programs are all set to expire at the end of 2016. While it is true that the HAMP program is expiring, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have rolled out replacement programs. If you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Mortgage help will still be available.  There are changes to the eligibility requirements in these new programs.

Over the last several years we have helped numerous clients in Plainfield, North Plainfield, Middlesex, Bound Brook, Dunellen, Hillsborough, Manville, Green Brook, Somerville, Somerset and many other Central Jersey communities obtain mortgage Modifications.

If you are behind on your mortgage and want to explore your options, please feel free to contact us.

For more information on the new programs go to   https://www.fanniemae.com/content/fact_sheet/fanniemae-flex-modification-fact-sheet.pdf
to see the fact sheet.

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

Wells Fargo Settles Fraud Claims with Government

The New York Times today reports that Wells Fargo has settled claims that it defrauded the government by processing mortgage loans for certain low income individuals whom Wells knew did not qualify for particular programs and then failing to advise the government that these people did not qualify. When the borrowers defaulted and the mortgages failed, Wells Fargo then demanded that the government reimburse it under these programs. The Times further notes that Wells is the last of the big banks to settle these types of claims with the government. Wells will have to pay $1.2 Billion to settle. It is not clear if these funds will make their way into the programs to help homeowners save their homes.

The Complaint alleged Wells poorly trained it employees, failed to properly underwrite the loans and failed to advise the government when it discovered that certain borrowers were ineligible for the program. Although 1.2 Billion is a large sum, it is miniscule when compare with the chaos which Wells and the other big banks caused the entire world economy and the terrible suffering of millions of Americans caught up in the financial disaster who faced foreclosure on their homes. The article makes no mention of jail time for any of the Wells executives.

If you are still struggling with mortgage debt, please feel free to contact us to speak about a mortgage modification or a possible Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to try to get some relief. To see the full article follow this link: NY Times-Wells to Pay 1.2 Billion

Mortgage Fraudster Sent to Jail

A recent item in Newsday reports that Aaron Wider, a mortgage broker who lured people into mortgages which they could not pay, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. It is about time that those who perpetrated these frauds on consumers receive the punishment which they deserve. We still wait anxiously to see if any of the executives of the nations biggest banks, who orchestrated the massive collapse of the economy are brought to justice. Unfortunately, his conviction will do little to help those who have already lost their homes or who are still in foreclosure. If you are still looking to obtain a mortgage modification, call us to discuss your options. For more information click on the following link — Newsday

Bank of America Mortgage Modifications

The United States Department of Justice recently anounced that it had reached a new settlement with Bank of America. As a result of this settlement, Bank of America is resolving many outstanding claims against it which were made by the various Departments of the US government and also matters outstanding with several State Governments.

The settlement is valued at 16.65 billion dollars. Of greatest interest to consumers is the fact that of the 16.65 billion, 7 billion is earmarked for relief to consumers. Those eligible for relief include consumers who had mortgages with Bank of America, Countrywide and Merrill Lynch. The relief may come in the form Mortgage Modifications and possibly may include Principal Loan reduction for some homeowners.

If you have a mortgage which was with Bank of America, Countrywide and/or Merrill Lynch, now is the time to seriously consider filing for a mortgage modification.

Our office stands ready to assist you should you choose to apply for a mortgage modification. Do NOT let this opportunity pass. If you would like to schedule an appointment to meet with us call us at 732-752-8834

For more information click here

9/22/2014

New Jersey Foreclosure Future Bleak

Foreclosure levels in New Jersey are the second highest in the nation, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. New Jersey’s 7% of homes in foreclosure just barely rank behind Florida’s 7.1% of homes in foreclosure. New Jersey also has the second highest level of mortgage delinquencies of more than 90 days.

While most states appear to be on track to get caught up with foreclosures by spring of 2014, New Jersey will likely require at least another year to clear its backlog. This means that the frustration of New Jersey homeowners who are stuck in foreclosure will likely continue for another 18 months, if not more.

There are many options available for struggling homeowners. Among these are loan modifications, debt reorganizations, and bankruptcy. We have over 50 years of combined experience dealing with troubling financial situations. We are glad to talk to anyone free of charge regarding their situation and options for the future.

To read the Wall Street Journal article about foreclosures, please click here.

If you want to speak to an experienced professional about your financial situation, please feel free to contact us using the form on this website or by calling the office at 732-752-8834.

Bank of America Fined by Bankruptcy Judge

Many people today enter bankruptcy as a result of intolerable mortgage obligations. Too many homeowners owe multiple mortgages on their homes. For those with a first mortgage that is already worth more than the value of their home, a second or third mortgage can be crushing.

Bankruptcy can discharge a borrower’s obligation to pay a mortgage. However, the mortgage issuer in such a situation retains the right to foreclose on the home and recover the property. The mortgage issuer has the right to continue contacting the borrower with respect to the foreclosure process, but is forbidden from attempting to collect the debt.

New York couple Edwin and Michelle Ramos took advantage of this process in their bankruptcy, and their obligation to pay their Bank of America mortgage was discharged. Bank of America, though, continued trying to collect the mortgage debt from the couple after the bankruptcy was completed. The Ramoses contacted their lawyer, who advised Bank of America to stop contacting the couple.

Bank of America never ceased their collection efforts on the mortgage. Recently, however, a bankruptcy judge took his own action to stop the big bank. For each month that Bank of America continues to bother the Ramoses, the bank must pay $10,000 plus attorney’s fees to the court. The judge pointed out that his ruling, though it may seem insignificant to Bank of America, was meant to send a message to creditors looking to collect on discharged debts.

To read more about this ruling, please click here.

If you have a creditor trying to collect money from you after you have obtained a bankruptcy discharge, or you want to file bankruptcy to discharge your personal obligations, please contact us to discuss your options. Contact us using the form on this website or by calling the office at 732-752-8834.

Mortgage Settlement Update

Five big banks are claiming that they are close to satisfying the $25 billion settlement reached with the Department of Justice last year. While the numbers have not yet been confirmed, the banks are adamant that their obligations have mostly, if not entirely, been paid.

There was a thorough report on this settlement update in the LA Times recently. To read the story, please click here.

If you want to discuss your financial situation with us, feel free to contact us using the form on this website or by calling the office at 732-752-8834. Remember, your initial discussions with us are completely free. We will do our best to answer all of your questions and recommend a good solution for your situation.

Foreclosure Bonuses – Is the Mortgage Modification Plan Phony?

According to court documents filed this week in Boston, Bank of America employees were routinely awarded for forcing (sometimes undeserving) homeowners into foreclosure. Yes, that’s the same company appearing nightly on your television set promising to help you through your hard times.

Former bank employees allege that they were told to lie to customers about why their federally-mandated loan modifications were being delayed or failing. They were told to request documents and information they already had in some instances. The bank even had twice-monthly “blitzes,” when scores of loan modifications would be denied without a second glance at the merits of the application.

To top it all off, the bank would do all of this and then turn around and lie to the federal government and the public about how many loan modifications were being granted. Why do all of this instead of helping homeowners as promised? Simple: the bank and its servicers make a ton more money that way.

In a regular mortgage situations, mortgage servicers make only a modest fee for taking in and distributing payments. When borrowers begin to go into default, however, the servicers make many more fees. If a loan modification is granted, the servicers go back to making their modest fee, assuming borrowers can keep up with the payments. If the modifications are denied, though, borrowers likely continue to default and the servicers collect fees.

Why lie about giving loan modifications? First, it gives the public a better impression of the bank. It allows the public to believe the television commercials claiming that the bank will help. Another reason to lie, however, is because the bank gets even more money that way. The government HAMP program, requiring some banks to grant loan modifications under certain situations, pays the banks a set amount for each loan modification that is granted. The government pays for successful loan modifications because they understand the financial incentive for banks to deny them. In an effort to prevent what is happening with Bank of America, the government established this incentive program.

From the court documents filed this week, though, it seems like Bank of America thought that the best route was to lie in order to collect both the government incentive and the fees from customers.

To read more about this, please click here.

If you want to discuss your loan modification, mortgage situation, or foreclosure with an experienced professional, please contact the office using the contact form on the website or by calling 732-752-8834.

Foreclosure… the End of the Line?

All too many homeowners know personally the horrors of the foreclosure process. During the recent economic downturn, record numbers of foreclosures were filed. What many foreclosed homeowners do not know is that they may soon hear from the very banks that foreclosed on them months or years ago.

The process is called a deficiency judgment, and through it the bank is entitled to get a judgment against foreclosed homeowners for the underwater amount of the mortgage. Thus, if the home was worth $300,000 and the bank could only sell it for $200,000, the bank can get a judgment against the foreclosed homeowner for the $100,000 difference.

Many mortgage lenders are targeting people who they think are “strategic defaulters,” or those who could afford their mortgage but chose not to pay it, for deficiency judgments. They are trying the process to recoup some of their losses on mortgages over the past few years.

For many foreclosed homeowners, the world is just beginning to right itself. Many are just getting their feet back under them. These judgments can be devastating for a person who has just gotten himself to a place where he thought he was debt free. Worse still, mortgage lenders have a total of 56 years in New Jersey to collect deficiency judgments. That means the debt will follow many borrowers into retirement, when they can least afford to pay.

If this is happening to you, the good news is that in most cases these judgments can be discharged – leaving you free from obligation – in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are, however, income limits and other regulations for filing a Chapter 7.

To read more about deficiency judgments, click here.

If you would like to discuss deficiency judgments and your options, including Chapter 7 bankruptcy, please contact the office at 732-752-8834 or by using the contact form on this website. Your first consultation is free.