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

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.

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.

Finally, Foreclosure Relief to Borrowers… But is it Enough?

At the end of February 2013, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board came to an amended agreement with thirteen mortgage servicers. As seems to be the case with every major settlement involving mortgage servicers, there is good news and bad news to report. The good news is that borrowers who were in foreclosure during 2009 and 2010 with the included banks will receive cash payments and other relief totaling $9.3 billion. The bad news is that some people will get less than they deserve.

The included mortgage servicers are: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. The 3.8 million borrowers who were in foreclosure with one of these thirteen servicers in 2009 and 2010 are entitled to cash payments of up to $125,000. Each of these borrowers will receive a notice from the Paying Agent by the end of March 2013 with payment details. Borrowers DO NOT have to take any additional steps to receive these payments.

In order to understand the downside to this arrangement, a little background information is necessary. Prior to the amended agreement that was reached last month, the banks and the government had an agreement that was constructed in 2011. That agreement required the banks to hire independent consulting services to review foreclosures from all of 2009 and 2010, looking for signs of wrongdoing on the part of the banks. Specifically, the contractors were looking for instances where banks foreclosed when borrowers were current on payments, charged inappropriate fees, or botched loan modifications.

Ultimately, the contractors racked up over $1 billion in fees and reviewed only 104,000 of the 4 million foreclosures from 2009 and 2010. Now, though, the February settlement requires payments be made to all 3.8 million borrowers who were in foreclosure, with no regard for harm caused by bank mistakes. Thus, a person who was properly in foreclosure may receive the same payment as someone who was wrongly evicted from their home.

Borrowers who were in foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 with one of the thirteen named mortgage servicers can call the Paying Agent at 1-888-952-9105 to update their contact information or to verify that they are covered by the agreement. To read more about the agreement, click here and here.

If you have any questions about the contents of this article or the foreclosure relief agreement, please contact the office at 732-752-8834.

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.