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.

 

Mortgage Modifications – The Trouble With Weak Legislation

Are you having trouble making your monthly mortgage payments? An increasing number of American households face this predicament.

More and more homeowners are facing financial challenges because of unfortunate and unforseen circumstances, such as the loss of job or a cutback in work hours. Others cannot make their mortgage payments because they face mounting medical or credit card bills. Some homeowners who have worked hard for years to make their mortgage payments suddenly find they cannot because their payment suddenly increases under the confusing terms of a hyper-complex mortgage.

Homeowners who hope for to save their homes often apply for loan modifications, especially when they know that a little give on the part of their lender would allow them to get back on track. However, most homeowners who apply for loan modifications are denied modifications by their lender.

If you are one of those homeowners who have been turned down by your lender for a loan modification you are therefore in the majority and are not alone.

In fact, about 4.3 million Americans have applied for mortgage modifications. Disturbingly, lenders have only approved about one quarter of those 4.3 million loan applications, leaving about 3 million Americans floundering and facing disaster. Sadly, about 1.4 million families who applied for loan modifications have already lost their homes or now face foreclosure and/or bankruptcy. For those families that were denied loan modifications and lost their homes, there is little or no recourse.

Modifications are denied because banks have no reason to help consumers unless the government gives them a reason to do so.

Banks often deny modifications even when it is obvious on paper that a homeowner’s circumstances have rebounded so that the homeowner could resume making their mortgage payments going forward if only given a chance. However, such homeowners usually do not have enough cash in the bank to deal with the arrears that have piled up. Banks which know exactly how much cash a homeowner has in the bank will insist upon a lump sum payment far in excess of the homeowner’s savings in order to “approve” a loan modification. Denials of loan modifications where the homeowner’s finances make clear sense on paper are confusing, depressing, and infuriating to say the least.

Homeowners are denied modifications for countless “reasons”. Sometimes homeowners facing hardships defaulted in the first place on their own bank’s advice, being advised by their lender that in order to be helped and considered for a modification they must first be in default. After this, painfully, many if not most of these people end up losing their homes. People are often denied modifications not because of the finances involved but because the banks claim to keep losing their paperwork or because the bank deems the documents to be “stale” at the time it makes its decision.

Banks obviously have a double standard, demanding homeowners be immediately responsive and have proactive and meticulous record keeping while asking homeowners to be sympathetic and understanding of the bank’s inability to find documents or to make decisions on loan modifications before the homeowner’s document become “stale.”

Because banks have been so miserly in granting modifications, the government enacted legislation to help homeowners, at least in theory, in 2009. This legislation, however, did not cure the problems faced by the majority of homeowners in default and was enacted merely to try to get the banks to modify mortgages without constant prodding by the government.

Despite the dismal numbers, if you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments you should not give up hope. Many believe the despite the dismal numbers there is still no better time to be applying for a mortgage modification.

Although the 2009 legislation has obviously not been equal to the task and challenge of the housing crisis in America and the need for reform, it does show that the political wind can be changed. And the 2009 legislation at least shows that Washington D.C. is beginning to take notice.

Importantly, with a major presidential election on the horizon, the signs in Washington once again are pointing to change. If you are a homeowner struggling to make your mortgage payments, you should take this opportunity to contact your senators and representatives and urge them to make your voice heard – by requesting more reform for the majority of struggling homeowners like yourself.

Also, remember, at Stephen M. Goldberg, P.C. law office we are interested in helping you get the financial relief you need. We help consumers with bankruptcy, debt consolidation, mortgage modifications and other debt relief issues. Please do not hesitate to contact us to come in for a free consultation about your personal situation. Our number is (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.

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.

Debt Consolidation Programs

Many consumers who have been victimized by the unfair and predatory practices of the credit card industry and who are seeking relief through debt consolidation programs are finding that rather than the relief they are looking for that they are being further victimized by unscrupulous operators of some debt consolidation services. Consumers who think that debt consolidation may be a part of a solution to their current financial difficulties are advised to carefully research any debt consolidator with whom they think they might want to do business. New Jersey law limits debt consolidation work to properly registered not-for-profit companies. The fees which these agencies may charge for their services are limited.

Foreclosure scams

As if things are not yet bad enough for homeowners and the housing market, con-men have surfaced and are further victimizing desperate homeowners with foreclosure scams and home rescue scams, promises of miraculous plans to save their homes.  The schemes often take the form of promises to obtain mortgage modifications on terms too good to be true.  If any one offers to work on a mortgage modification for you and demands payment of any type up-front, run the other way.  Free housing counselors are available to assist homeowners through the HOPE Now program.

Can I file for Bankruptcy?

Over the many years we have been assisting families and individuals who are in financial difficulty we have served people from all walks of life and from all over the State of New Jersey.  Can I file for bankruptcy is a question I’ve heard from clients including doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, computer professionals, tradesmen, laborers, office workers, government workers, teachers, politicians and people from just about every occupation.  We have helped retired people, disabled people, persons who are in jail and persons who are institutionalized.   Congress has created the Bankruptcy Code to provide relief for the “honest, but unfortunate debtor”.

Our clients have come from all over the State of New Jersey however, our office in the Green Brook New Jersey, at the meeting point of the Union, Somerset and Middlesex counties has proven to be very convenient from people who live within a 7 to 10 mile radius of our office. We have served individuals from Green Brook, Dunellen, Plainfield, North Plainfield, South Plainfield, Warren, Watchung, Middlesex, Bound Brook, South Bound Brook, Piscataway, Somerville, New Brunswick, South Brunswick, North Brunswick, Somerset, Raritan, Manville, Hillsborough and many of the other communities which are located within 15 to 20 min. of our office.

The current national financial crisis has forced many families and individuals into extraordinarily difficult economic situations. Many families who have previously never had a late payment are now facing substantial arrearages on their mortgages and an inability to pay their utilities and other debts as they come due. Many of these individuals and families suffer daily under a barrage of telephone calls from collection agencies and collection attorneys demanding payment of bills which it is impossible for them to pay.

If you are being harassed by creditor phone calls at work or at home, if you are afraid to pick up the telephone for fear that there will be a rude collection agent on the other end then you need to speak with us as quickly as possible. A bankruptcy filing may allow you the peace of mind and a fresh start in your financial affairs which you are seeking.

If you are feeling the crushing and relentless pressure of debt collectors and collection attorneys, if you are faced with collection lawsuits, judgments, wage garnishments, or bank levies you need to speak with us as quickly as you can to determine whether or not a bankruptcy filing will bring you relief.

Robo-signing comes on New Jersey Supreme Court scrutiny

The Chief Justice of New Jersey Supreme Court announced last week a series of steps to cause various foreclosure actions in New Jersey to be subjected to careful scrutiny under special procedures which he has established to insure the integrity of the foreclosure process. This action comes as a result of the national attention brought to the “Robo-signing” scandal which is sweeping the nation.

Consumer attorneys in various states have discovered that mortgage lenders and their attorneys have been filing forged and fraudulent affidavits in foreclosure proceedings. The actions by New Jersey’s Chief Justice are aimed at reviewing the procedures of the lender’s who have each filed more than 200 residential foreclosure actions in New Jersey in 2010 as well as the actions of the attorneys representing these lenders. It will not be known what effect the chief justices order will have on pending foreclosure actions until a court hearing which is scheduled for mid-January.

For information regarding this important development is available at Njcourts.com.