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.

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

Hanna & Associates Forced to Settle

Over the many years we have been representing consumers in bankruptcy and debt collection matters we have repeatedly seen lawsuits brought by Hanna & Associates. Many times our clients had no recollection of incurring the debt over which the suit was being brought. For a long time we have suspected that this debt collection firm was bringing these lawsuits without any basis. A recent article in Collections & CreditRisk reports that this very aggressive debt collector is about to settle a lawsuit brought on by the Consumer Financial Protection Board. We are pleased that this new federal consumer protection agency has aggressively gone after one of the nation’s most awful debt collection mills.

If you are currently facing a lawsuit brought by Hanna & Associates on behalf of an alleged creditor please contact this office as we may be able to provide assistance in defending against this action.

We applaud the actions of the Consumer Financial Protection Board and urge every citizen to contact the agency to applaud its good work on behalf of consumers.

If you would like more information regarding the settlement of this lawsuit please follow this link Collections & CreditRisk

Mortgage Fraud

The Consumer Financial Protection Board(CFPB) recently announced that it has ordered mortgage lender Amerisave Mortgage Corp., to pay $19.3 million for engaging in a bait and switch fraud affecting borrowers who made applications for mortgage loans from this lender.

The fraud occurred at numerous points in the borrower’s interaction with this lender. It started when the borrower first visited the company’s website and requested a quote, the quote which they received was based on an 800 FICO score. Additionally inaccurate rates and terms were posted on the company’s Website. At closing additional and unexpected fees were added to the borrower’s charges.

Ocwen is back in the news again. The New York Department of Financial Services recently reported that when has been collecting fees from distressed homeowners for force-placed Insurance through an affiliated company which practice is forbidden in New York State.

If you are considering the purchase of a home or a refinance of a home mortgage please make certain to consult with and review the documents with an attorney.

Should you require assistance with the attorneys in our office have substantial experience reviewing mortgage documents and would be pleased to assist you.

We can be reached at 732-752-8834.

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

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.

 

Treatment of Cigarettes in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans

If you are considering a bankruptcy discharge, you may be familiar with the detail that the Bankruptcy court looks at your spending habits and budget.  It is especially important to look at the treatment of what you consider a regular expense and the Bankruptcy court may scrutinize.

One such expense is that associated with cigarettes.  While many people understand that cigarettes are harmful to one’s health, due to its addictive nature, they may find it too hard to quit the habit.  With cigarettes costing consumers well above $7 per pack in New Jersey, cigarettes are a hard habit to fund.  Also, the expense associated with many products used to quit smoking can be as costly as the cigarettes themselves.

How does the bankruptcy court treat tobacco addiction?  On one hand, the court is unwilling to make a judgment on a consumer’s choices with their money.  On the other hand, that money set aside in a plan for cigarettes could be used towards funding the plan, and go towards creditors.  The Bankruptcy Court may examine the amount of money set aside to fund a cigarette addiction and request adjustments if it appears to be too high.  Ultimately, the discretion lies with the judge, but the judge will hesitate before making sweeping changes to the plan if it logically fits into the debtor’s plan.

If you are interested in reading more about the legal implications of this issue, please click here to read a Harvard Law Review Note.

If you are facing financial issues and even considering bankruptcy or any other debt relief, please contact the Stephen M. Goldberg, P.C. Law Office in Green Brook, NJ at 732-752-8834.  We are happy to answer any questions for you and will even meet with you for free.  Please call at any time to set up an appointment.

New Jersey Still Waiting for a Glut of Foreclosures to Close

New Jersey is second in the country for the rate of homeowners with seriously deliquent loans.  These are mortgages 90 days late or in forclosure.  This means that, while some parts of the country are starting to recover from this mortgage debacle, other states, like New Jersey are still waiting for solutions.  Homeowners and banks are still waiting for foreclosure.  This means that NJ home prices are still falling, which is a burden on the New Jersey economy. 

Unfortunately, the bad news does not end there.  What is also burdening New Jersians is that there is a greater quantity of shadow inventory.  Shadow inventory is real estate properties that are either in foreclosure and have not yet been sold or homes that owners are delaying putting on the market until prices improve. Shadow inventory can create uncertainty about the best time to sell (for owners) and when a local market can expect full recovery. Also, shadow inventory typically causes reported data on housing inventory to understate the actual number of inventory in the market. You can read more about shadow inventory here

New Jersey has about 60,000 foreclosures that were started in January 2008 and are still waiting for resolution.  THe hold up is partly because of the robosigning scandal.  The NJ state courts became alerted to the robo-signing scandal and were concerned that there was no good process in place for foreclosures that would maintain fairness for homeowners.  As the state has worked out the process, the foreclosures are starting to come through the system, with banks beefing up foreclosure departments to push them through faster. 

One may think if foreclosure is such a slow option, banks would turn to short sales.  Banks are happy to short sell and get some money for the mortgage right away but homeowners are hesitant to do so, not wanting to uproot their families and hoping for a different solution.  One solution is to wait and see, which many homeowners are doing.  Why move out if you don’t have to do so? 

If you are facing foreclosure, we encourage you to contact us at the Stephen M. Goldberg, P.C. law office.  We have helped many clients  who are facing financial peril and can help you make sense of it all.  Please call us at 732-752-8834 to discuss your situation or even schedule a free consultation.   We are here to help you.