Foreclosure Prevention Features | Loan Modification & Mortgage Relief
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California Homeowners Can Stop Foreclosure with Loan Modifications, Forensic Loan Audits and Negotiated Mortgage Loan Modification Terms.
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04 Feb 11 Chase Opening Mortgage Help Centers in California

JPMorgan Chase announced that the bank was set to open a mortgage help center in Fresno California later this year.  The Chase Homeownership Center continues to get good feedback from their customers nationally. Even as California mortgage programs remained at the most affordable level in 50-years, not enough homeowners qualify for mortgage refinancing to reduce their monthly payments.

Chase continues to reach out to provide mortgage help and foreclosure relief to homeowners across the country.  These home loan relief centers are part of their national expansion to assist distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure.  Eileen Leveckis, a spokeswoman for Chase in San Francisco said, “We started this whole initiative in response to the crisis.”

Chase first opened the homeownership centers in 2009 and they recently announced more expansion in an effort to extend mortgage relief on a local level. In June in Northern California, the bank opened a Walnut Creek center; other sites launched last year in Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

Five to eight loan officers would be redeployed from other Chase locales to staff the Fresno center, part of a 19-state, 25-center expansion of the mortgage help program. “We want to reach as many homeowners as possible and try to help,” said David Lowman, CEO of Chase Home Lending, in a statement. “The best way to help borrowers find ways to stay in their homes is to sit down face-to-face and discuss their individual circumstances.”

Since the home foreclosure prevention program began, Chase has met with 120,000 customers at its current 51 mortgage relief centers, the company said. Chase has promised many new mortgage help centers in 12 new states, including Oregon and Utah and they are opening additional centers in the Oxnard-Westlake-Simi Valley area and in Texas, Washington and eastward. According to Leveckis Chase has prevented 468,000 foreclosures with their loan modification programs, short sales and term extensions since 2009.

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14 Aug 10 Obama Mortgage Relief Success Challenged in California

California Lawmaker Challenges the Obama Administration’s Claim of Successful Mortgage Relief

Underwater mortgages, short sales and home foreclosures have taken their toll on the California housing crisis.  Ask the struggling local homeowners how the California loan modification process is going.  Yet the Obama Administration continues to  act as if property values are rebounding and we are out of the woods economically.  I’m not sure where the President is getting his news from, but California has not turned the corner yet on the housing crisis.

Most distressed homeowners will tell you that get approved for a mortgage modification is almost as difficult as it is to be approved for a California mortgage refinance.  Foreclosures have become a serious problem in most of California and the Federal loan relief simply has not been attainable for most homeowners in the state.

Qualifying for California Loan Modification Programs

A Democratic congressman has issued a letter to President Obama slamming Housing Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan for claiming in an editorial that California’s Central Valley has seen an improvement from the height of the subprime mortgage crisis.

California Loan Relief is in High Demand!

The scathing letter is a rare on-the-record criticism of the Obama administration’s policies from a Democratic lawmaker and reflects the frustration many in Washington are feeling over the federal government’s pace of efforts in providing mortgage relief struggling homeowners.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., noted that the three biggest cities in his district are ranked in the top 10 of RealtyTrac’s foreclosure list and claims Donovan has a “fundamental disconnect” between the reality on the ground and the fairy dust the administration is spreading.”  Cardoza says that Donovan failed to note the delinquency rate in his district has risen to more than 16% when he touted the decline in foreclosure rates in the Central Valley.  “In most simple terms: things are not getting better in the Central Valley, they are getting worse,” he wrote.  “We’re not going beyond the comments the secretary made in his editorial,” HUD spokesman Jerry Brown told FoxNews.com.  The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

In the opinion article, published Wednesday in the Fresno Bee, Donovan declared that “thanks to comprehensive efforts of the Obama administration and local leaders, we see strong evidence that the region’s housing market is improving.”  Donovan held up Central Valley as an example where the administration’s efforts have led to a decline in foreclosures. He noted that nearly every part of the Central Valley “has seen a substantial decline in foreclosures since this time a year ago.”  “This improvement is the result of, in large part, the array of targeted tools the Obama administration has provided to communities in this region, to the state and to homeowners to begin stabilizing the housing market,” he wrote.  But Cardoza argued that the administration’s primary housing programs – the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) – “have not been effective in delivering aid to the hardest-hit communities.”  “Instead of taking ownership for these failures and taking decisive action to correct their obvious flaws, the secretary’s column is just another example by the administration to defend the existing programs while turning a blind-eye to the magnitude to this crisis.”

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09 Aug 10 Mortgage Relief Scams Targeted by FTC

Unfortunately many unscrupulous loan modification companies have committed mortgage relief fraud with shady loan mod scams across the country.  The Federal Trade Commission announced in April of 2009, it would pursue “fraud and deception by mortgage loan modification and home foreclosure companies,” The agency seeks to halt “the proliferation of mortgage relief scams targeting distressed and vulnerable consumers who are delinquent or facing foreclosure,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. He was joined by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and representatives of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and various state enforcers. See also its Nov. 24 release on Operation Stolen Hope.

Mortgage Fraud Victims

In this video, Latour “LT”Lafferty, attorney with Fowler White Boggs, identifies which mortgage fraud schemes consumers should look out for.

On July 29, the FTC announced Home Assure LLC, a company allegedly deceiving consumers with promises it could save their homes from foreclosure, will pay $2.4 million to victims in a settlement with the FTC. The case is part of the agency’s continuing crackdown on scams that prey on financially distressed homeowners.   The agency’s complaint alleges “Home Assure LLC conducted a nationwide marketing campaign designed to take advantage of struggling homeowners by offering so-called mortgage relief and home foreclosure prevention services. Home Assure typically charged consumers up-front fees of $1,500 to $2,500.” Company representatives falsely claimed its “special relationships with lenders would enable it to get favorable loan modifications or stop foreclosures, and that the company had helped thousands of consumers avoid foreclosure.”

The FTC works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices. The agency sends complaints to Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies Read more from this Tulsa World article.

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07 Jun 10 Qualifying for the Federal Loan Modification Program

The last thing distressed homeowners need is more run around when they apply for a loan modification plan. The Obama administration has extended mortgage relief with the new federal loan modification program. One of the concerns people have is loan modification eligibility. Not every borrower will qualify so before you risk losing your house, find out if you qualify for the federal loan modification program. These home loan relief initiatives were created to help struggling homeowners, overcome financial hardships with foreclosure preventions with a loan workout.

Are You Eligible for a Government Loan Modification Plan?

Are You Eligible for Obama’s Loan Modification Program? To be eligible for mortgage loan modification options under the federal initiative, borrowers should be able to meet the following basic requirements:

o The home for which the loan being modified must be the primary residence of the applicant.

o The value of the present home mortgage cannot exceed $ 729,250 for a 1-unit property.

o The existing home loan should have been approved before 1st January, 2009.

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17 May 10 Home Affordable Modification Plans Failing?

According to CNN Money there are 637,353 distressed homeowners that remain in a trial loan modification agreement. The rate at which of borrowers entering the Home Affordable Modification Program HAMP has slowed as servicers have begun to implement new requirements to gather income documentation at the beginning of the mortgage relief process.

Is HAMP helping second mortgage lenders? New home loan modification statistics released by Treasury provide additional insight into just how well servicers are doing in converting trial mortgage modifications to permanent status. The six servicers who verified borrowers’ income before placing them in trials have transferred more than half to long-term adjustments, with HomEq Servicing and Ocwen Financial Corp leading the way with 83% converted. Those lending companies using stated income or no limited documentation approach, however, have yet to hit the halfway mark.

According to the State Department, the California loan modification program has not had much success either because borrowers still can’t afford their mortgage loan, even after the lender modifies the loan to a reduced monthly payment. The largest mortgage loan servicers are behind most of the top lending banks like, with Bank of America 25%, Wells Fargo at 25%, JPMorgan Chase at 22% and Citigroup at 21%. Homeowners also languished in trial loan modifications at certain servicers. Some 76% of those in the trial phase at Saxon Mortgage Services and 72% at JPMorgan Chase have remained at that stage for at least six months. Servicers, who met with Treasury and Housing Department officials last week, told the administration they would clear the bottle-necked process by the end of June.

According to industry insiders, major changes to the federal loan modification program are coming soon in the wake of criticism that the Obama administration must offer federal mortgage relief to struggling borrowers. Starting June 1st, homeowners will have to provide all their income verification documents before they are put into trial modifications. This will make it harder for troubled homeowners to start the process, but it should make it easier for them to qualify for permanent assistance. Refinance loans have been difficult for most homeowners to qualify for because of depleted equity and slumping credit scores, so the loan modification has become an important part of the foreclosure prevention equation.

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27 Jan 10 California Mortgage Defaults Down 24%

According to DataQuick the number of homes entering the first stage of foreclosure fell in the fourth quarter compared with the previous quarter, says a sign that banks are working with delinquent borrowers. Clearly, loan modification programs have helped thousands of California homeowners avoid foreclosures. Fewer Californian borrowers entered foreclosure during the last three months of the year as bailed-out banks appeared to step up their work with delinquent homeowners, according to data released this morning, although the number of homes taken back by banks rose slightly. California mortgage rates remain low, but most borrowers are unable to qualify for a refinance, so loan modification plans have become more important than ever.

The number of homes entering the first stage of foreclosure, or receiving notices of default, declined 24.3% during the fourth quarter from the prior three months, according to county data collected by DataQuick, a San Diego research firm. The decline in the default number is significant because any new wave of foreclosures will first be detected by that measure, according to the firm. Meanwhile, the number of homes taken back by lenders through trustee sales ticked up 2.1% in the fourth quarter over the third. The trustee sale is the final stage of California’s foreclosure process. “Clearly, many mortgage lenders and servicers have concluded that the traditional foreclosure process isn’t necessarily the best way to process market distress,” MDA DataQuick President John Walsh said. He said banks have been negotiating with distressed borrowers to keep them in their homes and increasingly turning to “short sales” in which the banks accept an offer that is less than the value of the outstanding mortgage; banks end up taking a loss on such deals. At the same time, big banks are feeling intense pressure in Washington to work with troubled borrowers through the Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable program. Much of that relief has been temporary.

Through December, banks had lowered mortgage payments for 172,288 California borrowers, but only 7.8% of those modifications were permanent, according to government data. Many experts consider that record a failure and fear that if the government doesn’t improve its performance those mortgage loans eventually will go into foreclosure and put pressure anew on the state’s housing market.

While the number of California mortgage delinquencies declined to 8.71% at the end of the fourth quarter from 8.87% at the end of the third, according to data from Equifax and Moody’s Economy.com, the percentage loans that were 120 days or more past due increased to 4.7% from 4.51%. Those figures indicate that the Obama administration’s efforts to help troubled homeowners have allowed some borrowers to stay out of default but kept many in a kind of late stage of delinquency limbo, said Celia Chen, senior director of Moody’s Economy.com. If the majority of borrowers who have received temporary loan modifications under Obama’s program are unable to get permanent changes to their bad credit-mortgages, another wave of foreclosures could follow, she said. “Given what we see in terms of the number of distressed properties that are in the pipeline, we do expect that home foreclosures will mount as borrowers are not able to make it from a trial modification to a permanent modification,” Chen said. “This will cause home prices to start falling again.” A total of 84,568 notices of default were recorded at county recorders offices during the fourth quarter, an increase of 12.4% from the fourth quarter of 2008. Trustees deeds recorded, or the actual loss of a home to foreclosure, totaled 51,060 during the fourth quarter, up 10.6% from 46,183 for fourth-quarter 2008. An all-time high for notices of default was reached in the first quarter of 2009 at 135,431.

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10 Aug 09 State of California Suggests Loan Modification Refund Policy

CA Borrowers should consider California loan modification programs that offer a refund policy if the loan modification company is not successful modifying the mortgage with your lender.  This protects against most foreclosure prevention scams.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and authorities in 20 states have sued dozens of individuals and loan modification companies as part of what they said on Wednesday was a crackdown on loan modification scams that have accelerated the home foreclosure crisis.  The 189 lawsuits and other court actions target the “con artists” who offer to help homeowners facing foreclosure, only to take up-front fees and perform little or no service.  “It’s an operation full of hollow promises designed to fatten the pockets of criminals and con artists,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in announcing the move at a press conference in Los Angeles.  “These con artists see the high foreclosure rates as an opportunity to prey on people in distress,” Leibowitz said. “They promise to provide mortgage relief for troubled homeowners but after they take their money they throw them an anchor instead of a lifeline.”

United States mortgage fraud reports jumped 36% last year as desperate homeowners and industry professionals tried to maintain their standard of living from the boom years, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said last week, calling fraud rampant and growing.  California Attorney General Jerry Brown said his office had sued 21 individuals and 14 companies accused of scamming homeowners, saying that many of the operations were based in Orange County, south of Los Angeles. Also Brown said that bogus loan modification scams had proliferated widely following the subprime meltdown and housing crash, to the point where authorities with limited resources were unable to effectively pursue all of them.  “We’re going to do everything we can to stop it, realizing that there are more of these rats that come out of their holes than we can stomp on,” Brown said. “This is one of the more egregious wrongs we see committed in society and we are going to fight it.” 

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21 Jul 09 Loan Modification 101

What do homeowners need if they are considering working with a loan modification company in an effort to reduce their mortgage payment that they are 2 months behind on?… Gathering the necessary documentation for a loan modification submission is imperative for the Lender to grant a loan workout.

Adrian Sainz wrote an article a few days ago, that I wanted to share with you. Homeowners worried about missing mortgage payments and entering foreclosure may have another option: a loan modification. Despite some signs of stability in the housing market, foreclosures remain a major obstacle to a meaningful recovery. And more borrowers in good standing are likely to miss their mortgage payments as the recession claims more jobs.  That’s why some people have gone for a loan modification — a permanent change in a mortgage that results in more affordable payments for the borrower.

Efforts to modify home loans have been easily outpaced by the number of new delinquencies, according to a Treasury Department report released in late June. In the first quarter, loan companies modified 185,156 mortgages, up 55 percent from the previous quarter, while the number of foreclosures in process increased to 844,389, up 22 percent.  Still, modification has been an option for many troubled homeowners. Lenders have been overwhelmed by calls from people seeking to modify their home loan, leading to reports of frustration and delays, according to mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac, which recently released an Internet video discussing this topic.  In the face of these delays, it’s important to start the loan modification process fully prepared. That means having the correct paperwork handy before calling or meeting with a loan servicer or housing counselor.  Here are some questions and answers about what you should have on hand.

Question: What are some basic documents to gather ahead of a loan modification meeting?

Answer: First, the servicer will want to quickly find the file in question, so have the monthly mortgage statement in hand.  Next, find the most recent statement for any homeowners’ or condominium association fees. Some borrowers have seen association fees increase in light of more home vacancies brought on by foreclosures, stressing monthly budgets — so you’ll want evidence of what you’ve been paying each month.  Also, borrowers who took out home equity lines of credit, and second or third mortgages, should have paperwork for those loans handy.  All of these documents go a long way in displaying a troubled borrower’s financial situation and determining their eligibility for a loan modification. Borrowers should also enter the process with a budget plan that includes how much they can actually afford to pay in monthly housing expenses, including insurance and taxes.

Question: Are there any documents not specifically related to the home that should be nearby during the meeting with the loan servicer?

Answer: Yes. Bring along statements showing balances and minimum monthly payments on active credit cards, car loans, student loans and other debts or obligations, Freddie Mac says.  These documents give the servicer a sense of the borrower’s monthly expenses outside of housing-related expenditures, to come up with a manageable monthly mortgage payment that will be sustainable.

Question: Is that all?

Answer: Actually, no. Freddie Mac recommends that homeowners write a statement that discusses the financial problems that are or could be leading to foreclosure.  This should be an honest account — the writer should set pride aside and give the servicer a sense of how bad the situation really is.

Loss mitigation and mortgage relief can be a complex decision for some mortgage lender, so remeber that you have the opportunity to make another 1st impression, so don’t blow it…process. In most cases, homeowners should have an attorney guide them through the loan modification process to work through any technicalities and make sure the lender is taking the correct steps.

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21 Jul 09 FTC Shuts Down Loan Modification Scams

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and authorities in 20 states have sued dozens of individuals and companies as part of what they said on Wednesday was a crackdown on loan modification scams that have multiplied in the housing meltdown.  The 189 lawsuits and other court actions target the “con artists” who offer to help homeowners facing foreclosure, only to take up-front fees and perform little or no service.  “It’s an operation full of hollow promises designed to fatten the pockets of criminals and con artists,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in announcing the move at a press conference in Los Angeles.  “These con artists see the high foreclosure rates as an opportunity to prey on people in distress,” Leibowitz said. “They promise to rescue homeowners in troubled financial waters but after they take their money they throw them an anchor instead of a lifeline.”

U.S. mortgage fraud reports jumped 36% last year as desperate homeowners and industry professionals tried to maintain their standard of living from the boom years, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said last week, calling fraud rampant and growing.  Leibowitz said that many who offer loan modification schemes deceive homeowners by posing as quasi-governmental agencies or implying that they are working with federal agencies and cautioned consumers to be aware of the scams.

According to Real Estate News Publication, Housing Crisis Under Fire, California loan modification scams lead the nation in loss mitigation fraud.  California Attorney General Jerry Brown said his office had sued 21 individuals and 14 companies accused of scamming homeowners, saying that many of the operations were based in Orange County, south of Los Angeles. Also Brown said that bogus loan modification scams had proliferated widely following the subprime meltdown and housing crash, to the point where authorities with limited resources were unable to effectively pursue all of them.  “We’re going to do everything we can to stop it, realizing that there are more of these rats that come out of their holes than we can stomp on,” Brown said. “This is one of the more egregious wrongs we see committed in society and we are going to fight it.” 

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25 Jun 09 Loan Modification Applicants Report Bottleneck

If you want to change the terms of your mortgage loan without mortgage refinancing then you need a loan modification. Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that you will be facing a huge bottleneck in the loss mitigation departments with most mortgage lenders. Homeowners have been screaming for foreclosure prevention assistance and more forgiving refinance loan programs, but nothing is ever good enough to solve this mortgage mess. Distressed homeowners continue to claim that they have been waiting months and only a small percentage of borrowers are getting tangible results with their lenders.

Frustration is going back and forth from homeowners to lenders. Unfortunately, Washington, is not helping much either. The Obama administration set up a $75 billion Making Home Affordable program to pay mortgage lenders to modify home loans, but a Treasury Department spokeswoman couldn’t even say whether lenders and banks have to reveal how many mortgage loans have been changed. So why bother trying to get an unaffordable loan modified? John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for Credit.com, points out that a loan modification, if you can get it, won’t damage your credit the way a foreclosure or a short sale would. And he notes: This process, although difficult, is free.

You don’t have to use those law firms and companies that are advertising heavily, saying they can pull off a modification for a fee, usually of a few thousand dollars. To learn more about the Obama’s loan workout program and mortgage relief in general, go to www.makinghomeaffordable.gov. Homeowners Hope Hotline, 888-995-HOPE. Article was written by Harriet Johnson Brackey for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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