Still Waiting on Mortgage Help

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jennifer Sinton, deputy director of the Foreclosure Prevention Project for South Brooklyn Legal Services and Judy Bruskowitz, certified loan counselor with New Jersey Citizen Action explains why so many homeowners still have a hard time getting loan modifications and where the foreclosure crisis is going next.


Judy Bruskowitz and Jennifer Sinton

Comments [20]

Steven Lutman from Arizona

eeting with your bank without professional guidance IS NOT something I would recommend. REMEMBER FOLKS, these guys OWN BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE NOTE you have promised to pay on it. They don't want to take ANY financial losses. THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR HARDSHIPS (EITHER MEDICAL, OR SEVERE CIRCUMSTANTIAL), and they WON'T GIVE ANY GROUND, OR MODIFY YOUR NOTE WITHOUT THAT DECISION BEING BASED ON WHAT'S BEST FOR THEM!!

People think that a hardship will touch the banks "heart" and that they will understand - PFOOSHAW!

I've got news for you...if you've applied for a modification on your own and been turned down, it is SUBSTANTIALLY LESS LIKELY that you will receive as beneficial a modification the second time around as it would have been HAD YOU HIRED A PROFESSIONAL TO DO IT FOR YOU IN THE BEGINNING! Never mind the 3 or 4 months it takes and all the time getting nowhere on the phone!

Still not convinced? Think about this. Using this same, well-intended logic, why don't you build your own house? How to books and opinions abound on this subject!

Doing your due diligence and utilizing available resources to become more well-informed MAKES SENSE. However, after you assess the alternatives, you'll notice that HIGHLY-KNOWLEDGEABLE people hire professionals to help them! Any guess why?

Foreclosure is not an outcome that lenders want, simply because they don't want your property and the processes involved are expensive. This is true, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE FACED WITH SELLING THE PROPERTY FOR LESS THAN YOUR NOTE. As a matter of fact, if you owe more than the current value and don't have much equity, most lenders WILL NOT FORECLOSE, even though they will "puff up" and heartily and with great GUSTO threaten it to the nth degree!


Sep. 17 2009 07:36 PM
Chris Garek from Dallas, TX

If anyone needs help with loan modifications feel free to call me at (214) 771-1861

Sep. 16 2009 04:49 PM
Mark Murashige from New York

just wanted to add my voice to everyone elses. I submitted my paper work for load modification in March. (today is September 16th). I didn't hear Chase for three months and then they sent a note saying that they needed me to resend the paperwork (which as you all know, is substantial) because it was out of date. Then on June 30th I received a one page letter stating they would provide me with an answer within 30 days. That was almost three months ago and no word.

Someone mentioned Band of America is set up so that you can't get to an actual person. Chase is set up the same way. It's frustration and humiliating and feels more like a scam and salt in the wound than anything tangible or hopeful.

It's clearly not in the banks interest to "fix" this process or problem and there seems to be no government oversight or regulations surrounding the program. I wonder why they've even bothered. It's funny, I called to inquire about a standard refinance and I was able to get all the assistance, attention, phone support and live bodies I needed....but for the mortgage assistance program......Nothing.

Sep. 16 2009 10:08 AM
Eric from MyModCoach from West Coast

Hi Brian,

We understand how these callers feel.

There are many ways to get through to their lenders to get the answers they are looking for - the main one being persistence and of course determination. We always tell our homeowners that they should continue pushing until someone inside the servicing company can give them a direct answer. Keep calling the right department, keep calling the right person. Also, always keep payments as current as possible and not to be late just because they think that's the only way of getting help from their Lender. They will look at their current financial hardship and determine what they qualify for.

Hope this helps!

Sep. 15 2009 06:36 PM
Ginger from Glen Cove, NY

Finally you've addressed this topic: Foreclosures & Loan Modifications. It's not accurately addressed in the media yet. We're experiencing a huge impact on suburban LI. Middle class here are struggling to survive & pay mortgages. More for sale signs appear each week. If you're low income there are"safety nets" provided by the state, health care, food stamps, etc. However, we are (were) middle to upper income. Monthly we pay a huge amount for health insurance & the mortgage.
That leaves us with no additional $ for LIPA, National grid, water, food,etc. No help,no food stamps for middle income.Our family has lived in our home for 22 years. We face foreclosure after 6 months of diligently trying to secure a loan modification with the Bank of America "Home Retention" dept., a very "anonymous" setup in the Home Loan Servicing area. Each time you call to check on progress a DIFFERENT "loan counselor" answers.Then conflicting info. is given. I've requested a specific counselor be assigned to our loan, our home a vital asset. No "Loan packet" of what should be supplied to qualify, i.e.:bank statements,1040 IRS,etc. Each time I called I was told SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
April 20, I was told I'd have a reply in 30-60 days.180 days later, Sept., we're mailed an "Intent to accelerate" (aka Foreclosure"notice) & a "loan modification" for the exact same interest rate we had 6.75% PLUS Bank of America RAISED our monthly mortgage payments we can barely make. Bank of America is set up, so there is no one responsible to correspond with. I requested a manager, dept. head, anyone in charge. All I get is a different 26 yr. old telephone employee reciting rhetoric. Is this an effective program for how the govt. is going to stop foreclosures? Where is the "Making Home Affordble","Attorney General"or any loan modification?
After an entire lifetime working & paying my monthly mortgage, am I going to lose my home? This isn't a recession. This is a depression.

Sep. 15 2009 01:17 PM
hjs from 11211

i guess cutting this discussion short to hear who everyone in the world and their mother is voting for made sense to someone....

Sep. 15 2009 12:05 PM
Sage from Brooklyn

I am considering borrowing a large sum from a credit card in order to pay an independent person to expedite a modification for me. This because the organizations that might take care of the little people like me are inundated and are struggling to get the lenders to expedite.
Also, once you've defaulted on payments, how do you repair your credit? I guess I'll have to pay someone to fix that too.

Sep. 15 2009 11:44 AM
Emm from NJ

People were willing to gamble and get the most house for their money when they thought housing would go up, up, up. Now their gamble is a loss and we should back them up.

Now everyone pays for greedy Americans since we don't want our neighborhoods crumbling. This whole thing is wildly unfair in countless ways.

Sep. 15 2009 11:31 AM
Gary from Queens, NY

I appplied for a regular refinancing of my primary loan and home equity loan with HSBC which is also the bank of my primary loan. They did an appraisal on the property and the value came too low to do a regular refinance. The bank told me they will put me into the HASP program where I will refinance my two loans into a fixed 30 years. HSBC has to get back to me if there are any closing costs with this program. Does anybody has been in a similar situation and how much closing costs they were charged?

Sep. 15 2009 11:31 AM
Mark from Princeton from Princeton NJ

There's certainly a big problem and it should be discussed. However to say 1 out of 10 are still behind on their mortgage payment is meaningless without a reference point. For all we know that's "average" or even low for that matter.

I look to WNYC for responsible and factual reporting, not the usual MSM hype. Facts are great - keep'em coming. But statistics without context is a no no.

Sep. 15 2009 11:30 AM
landless from Brooklyn

If ten percent of homeowners face forecosure, maybe they should never bought over-priced homes. They should accept damaged credit and not rely on a tax program to subsidize poor decision making. Many renters pay 50 percent of their income for housings--where is the national program for them?

Sep. 15 2009 11:28 AM
Adrienne from Manhattan

Congress had an opportunity to give judges the ability to work with homeowners to lower mortgages, but it didn't pass. I don't understand why our elected officials would defeat this very straightforward approach to resolving the problem, which is having a devastating and cascading effect on the economy.

Obama tried once. How can we get some legislation to force lenders to do the right thing?

Sep. 15 2009 11:27 AM
Mr. Lam

Do I have to default first before receiving home loan modification assistance?

Sep. 15 2009 11:26 AM
Dinu from New York

Ummm, I'm not sure if, ummm, you are, ummm, giving me the impression, ummmm, that you have any control over, ummm, how this plan ummmmm, works.

Sep. 15 2009 11:24 AM
Mark Mazur from IrvingtonNY

I dont know whether to blame Bush or Obama administration more for NOT doing this - but to me it seems a huge opportunity was missed by not offering across the board 5% mortgages This would have 1) stopped the still ongoing foreclosure tsunami + 2) put a lot of money in comnsumers hands to revive the economy

Sep. 15 2009 11:23 AM
knotweeder from Brooklyn

Our income is 1/3 from when we bought our house two years ago - but Citibank won't help us modify our loan as we have been living frugally since our income dropped - we haven't racked up any credit card debt, scrimped and paid off our student loans, and sold off our private transport as we couldn't afford it. Basically we are not financially irresponsible enough to get help, and feel like we are being punished for going without just so we can scrape every month to make the mortgage.

In fact Citibank then proceeded to try and sell us a new mortgage based on the previous years much higher income. Idiots.

Sep. 15 2009 11:21 AM
dbnyc from bushwick

the main problem with these programs is that it doesn't require the banks to write down these loans. the banks still carry toxic assets at inflated values. it does not help a homeowner with a $600k mtge on an asset now worth $400k to say ok you can pay me back over 40 years instead of 30. whoever holds these assets must be forced to acknowledge the reality of the asset values otherwise for many people it makes better economic sense to walk away from the home. this is the main problem is areas such as south Florida, CA, Nevada etc which had really inflated proprty values.

Sep. 15 2009 11:20 AM
Jay from Norwalk, CT

I own a condo in Norwalk CT and I applied for a loan modification in May of this year, I've called my servicer (Chase) every week for the first month until I learned that my application was complete. I have yet to hear back from my bank. They keep (stalling ?) saying that no decision has been made. I still have a job buy my income has been reduced bc of the economy. MY loan is due to adjust in Sept 2010.

Sep. 15 2009 11:16 AM
lauren from NJ

we applied for a modification in March. Sovereign bank said they'd get us an answer in 6 - 8 weeks. in july, we contacted an attorney and he said we probably wouldn't get the attention of the bank until we stopped paying our mortgage. This week, we got 3 documents from our bank;
- a foreclosure notice
- a letter with advice on how to start a mortgage modification
- a letter saying our existing modification info is old, and would we please update it.

its obvious they are just so disorganized and have no idea how to do this , still!

Sep. 15 2009 11:12 AM
superf88 now has a "reduced" feature that will display only homes that are desperate enough to reduce their previous selling prices...

Sep. 15 2009 10:35 AM

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