Tag Archives: homeowners

Obama’s foreclosure prevention program has helped far fewer homeowners than expected

And no one in the media is reporting that the HAMP program was never met to help a majority of homeowners when in fact no one is discussing that many of the loans have been securitized and sold on Wall Street and investors and note and deed have been split into pieces.

When the Obama administration announced a massive effort to help distressed homeowners in 2009, it set high expectations. The program, government officials said, would keep up to 4 million borrowers out of foreclosure.

“It will give millions of families resigned to financial ruin a chance to rebuild,” Obama said at a event announcing the effort. “By bringing down the foreclosure rate, it will help shore up housing prices for everyone.”

Six years later, Obama is preparing to leave office, and the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, accepted its final applications Friday having helped a fraction of the homeowners government officials initially expected. About 1.6 million borrowers have seen their mortgage payments lowered through the program so far, but about a third of those people eventually fell behind on their payments again.

Read on.

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‘Mistake’ Wells Fargo Letter Says Thousands of Homeowners Owe Back Taxes

WHITEFISH BAY — About 3,300 Milwaukee and Dunn County homeowners may become panicked over letters sent to them by mistake.

Wells Fargo officials stated in writing that customers were incorrectly notified that their real estate taxes were delinquent.

Homeowners in Franklin, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee, and Wauwatosa are being reassured it was all a mistake.

The finance department in Whitefish Bay did their own detective work.

The first thing they noticed is that non-escrow customers, or people who don’t have their taxes come out with their mortgage payment each month, were unfairly targeted.

“And what she noticed – she pulled up a lot of these is that the tab for ‘delinquent’ is naturally bright red. She also found out from Wells Fargo that they had used a third-party to determine the delinquency of non-escrow mortgages,” said Jenny Heyden, Village of Whitefish Bay.

To ease everyone’s minds, Heyden says a new letter is coming soon from Wells Fargo to state the letters were sent out in error.

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Audit: $8M wasted instead of helping Nevadans avoid foreclosure

WASHINGTON — Nevada should repay more than $8 million in federal funds intended to help homeowners avoid foreclosure but instead was spent on parties, gifts and other improper expenses, a federal audit released Friday concludes.

The devastating audit says the money from the Hardest Hit Fund of the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program was used to cover these and other administrative expenses of the Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation, which administered the program on behalf of the Nevada Housing Division.

As the funds came in, however, the number of homeowners helped by the program plummeted from 2,111 in 2013 to 541 in 2014 and 117 in 2015.

Auditors argued that the Housing Assistance Corporation was using the TARP funds to pay most of its overhead including salaries and rent and therefore should repay $7.4 million.

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Dallas firm put black homeowners at higher risk of foreclosure, suit alleges

Dallas equity firm Lone Star Funds is being sued by a group of black homeowners in New York who allege the company pushed them toward foreclosure by misleading them about their mortgages.

A 53-year-old plaintiff told a federal court that the company’s mortgage servicer would call him almost every day — sometimes two or three times a day — threatening foreclosure and pressuring him to accept an unfavorable change to his loan.

Lone Star’s mortgage servicer, Caliber Home Loans, disputed the allegations and called the lawsuit “without merit.”

The federal suit filed last week also targets the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At issue is the agency’s sale of delinquent mortgages backed by the federal government to private investors such as Lone Star.

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Sorry you lost your home: Americans deserve more than an apology for the foreclosure fraud epidemic

Despite talk of “recovery,” former homeowners remain scarred after their government abandoned them

“I lost my home of 30 years to fraudclosure.”

“I have been fighting this bank for over five years now. I am finally losing everything to their fraud.”

“We feel captive in our own home.”

This is a sampling of what I have awakened to practically every day for the past few months, since my book “Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud” came out. Hundreds of people have emailed me, sent me letters, attended my public events, to relate their personal horror stories of foreclosure and dispossession. They come from across America, from different social and economic backgrounds. Some lost everything, and some haven’t given up.

They contact me, a non-lawyer who has only written about and not participated in their struggle, because they have been abandoned, by a government that chose sides against them after the crash of 2008. They seek answers that I mostly don’t have and support I mostly cannot provide. Outside of referring them to legal aid, I cannot solve their foreclosure problems. I cannot convince a judge disinclined to rule in their favor, or a bank disinclined to see them as anything but a financial asset to be plucked, to change their minds. I can only note in sorrow that the massive netting of fraud laid by the mortgage industry over a decade ago continues to capture people like them.

But despite my lack of assistance, they typically express to me their gratitude, for one simple reason: just by giving voice to similar nightmares, I have instilled in them hope that they aren’t utterly alone in their misery, that they haven’t been singled out by a vengeful nation, that somewhere out there they have an ally and a confidant.

I wrote my book for them, for everyone who suffered as a result of the largest consumer fraud in American history and the greatest economic collapse in nearly a century. They shouldn’t be forgotten. In fact, somebody should apologize to them for having to bear the weight of the financial collapse on their shoulders, even while that suffering was exacted through outright fraud. It might as well be me.

In “Chain of Title”, I detailed how three foreclosure victims uncovered an unparalleled pattern of deceit: mortgage companies systematically using false evidence in courtrooms and county offices to take people’s homes away. This routine document fabrication covered up the unspeakable crime of breaking the chain of title on millions of home mortgages, confusing the underlying ownership and damaging 350 years of functioning property records law.

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Feds propose guidelines to replace expiring foreclosure relief efforts

Begun as the government’s response to the foreclosure crisis, the Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program wasn’t supposed to last forever.

The Dec. 31 end of the foreclosure relief program, which offered a more affordable payment by adjusting interest rates, extending the loan term, and reducing or forbearing principal, will leave a gap that the government is trying to fill.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, is proposing consumer protection principles to guide mortgage servicers, investors, government housing agencies and policymakers as they develop foreclosure-relief solutions to replace what is better known by its acronym HAMP.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program, known as HARP, which was designed to help homeowners who’ve seen a drop in home values refinance with better mortgage terms, also expires Dec. 31.

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Lawyers exploit foreclosure ‘rescue’ fee loophole

Government decision enriches attorneys, stings homeowners

In 2011, three attorneys set up a firm called The Mortgage Law Group that took advantage of a federal program aimed at helping people threatened with foreclosure to stay in their homes.

Business boomed. In just over two years the Chicago firm signed up more than 5,200 clients who paid more than $18 million in advance fees for legal services they hoped would either reduce the size of their mortgage payments or hold off foreclosure.

But federal regulators say the firm was little more than a sophisticated telemarketing scam that masqueraded as a law practice and cheated thousands of financially vulnerable people.

Most Mortgage Law Group clients received little for their money, according to federal officials, who in a lawsuit filed in 2014 accused the firm of employing misleading and deceptive sales tactics to lure in customers.

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