In Case You Thought the Mortgage Mod Process Had Improved

While I was clearing out some old news items to make way for my website’s more up-to-date and topical News page, I ran across this February 2011 clip from MSNBC’s now-defunct The Dylan Ratigan Show.

Listening to Ratigan and his guests describe the way banks were scamming homeowners with HAMP trial modifications, it struck me that I’m reading about some of the same practices from commenters to my blog posts in 2015.

This PBS NewsHour segment I dug up from October 2010 also tells a story familiar to my readers, including homeowners’ reports of spending endless hours on the phone, sending paperwork over and over, dual-tracking and multiple (and often unresponsive) assigned contact people.

“You get put under a lot of stress, trying to get help. And it’s not there.”

Wow! The more things change, the more the big banks have been screwing over honest, hard-working people for years with the collusion of the Obama administration, Congress, the courts and every regulatory agency that’s supposed to look out for consumers.

And, while we’re on the subject, this headline from intrepid (and prescient) blogger Martin Andelman might just be my favorite:

THE JURY IS IN: Obama’s Foreclosure Program Run by Morons… and Trial Modifications are the Biggest Loan Mod Scam Ever

If I knew then what I know now – and what Martin Andelman correctly predicted – I would have saved myself a whole lot of work and anguish and walked away with a bigger bank account and a smaller waistline. (That stress eating while sending out your 90th set of loan mod docs really adds up!)

Well, the morons are still in charge and thanks to the way campaigns are financed now, they will continue to be. And trial mortgage loan modifications are still a big scam.

I’ve found a few other information gems I had forgotten about – including updated facts and figures from sites I haven’t looked at in years – that I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks.

Wells Fargo Executives Embarrassed by Employee Incompetence?

Poor Wells Fargo. It must be really distressing to CEO John Stumpf that his mortgage division is being called on the carpet yet again.

Big Banks’ Mortgage Units — Still Failing Customers — Face New Restrictions
On Wednesday, the OCC announced that six banks that manage home loans — EverBank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Santander Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo — haven’t implemented all the reforms they promised to make as part of the 2011 deals.

As punishment, the regulator has imposed new restrictions on the banks’ mortgage departments, limiting their ability to acquire residential servicing rights in some circumstances, and forcing them to seek OCC approval before hiring senior officers in their mortgage servicing and compliance departments.

The restrictions vary, with Wells Fargo and HSBC strictly prohibited from certain types of new business acquisition, while the other banks must first seek OCC approval.

Let’s face it, things must be very obviously bad if the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has finally taken its head out of the sand and noticed something was wrong with the way Wells and the other big financial institutions deal with consumer requests for mortgage loan modifications in the wake of a past “enforcement action” and a so-called punitive settlement that set servicing guidelines for the banks.

One of the many issues cited when the OCC sanctioned Wells and others last week was the ongoing inability of the bank to assign each loan mod review to a single, knowledgeable employee tasked with, among other things, keeping the consumer informed throughout the process.

Wells Fargo, the OCC said in a new consent order, “continues to engage in unsafe and unsound practices.” Among the bank’s points of “noncompliance,” the regulator said in regulator-speak, is its failure to ensure “effective communication with borrowers, both oral and written.”

According to the OCC, Wells Fargo still has yet to ensure that each borrower is matched with a single customer service representative at the bank to handle their modification request or foreclosure — a basic first step to ending the cycle of confusion, lost paperwork and endless hours on the phone that many homeowners have endured while speaking with a succession of uninformed bank employees.

Mike Heid, the president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, said in a statement that the bank has “implemented significant changes to our mortgage servicing operations and achieved compliance with major elements of the original Consent Order.”

I would imagine Stumpf and Heid must just be beside themselves with shame and distress because none of the many hundreds of company executives is intelligent enough to set up a system to assign cases to the employees trained and empowered to manage them. You’d think the nation’s largest mortgage bank and second-largest mortgage servicer could afford to hire somebody to help with that.

How embarrassing for Heid and other WFHM executives who have been telling no less an auspicious audience than the U.S. Congress since April 2010 that the company is diligently working on creating what has become known as a “single point of contact” system. How distressing that the no-doubt earnest testimony of those well-paid men was made into lies by the base incompetence of those idiot employees who, after years and years of being paid salaries still can’t manage to create a database and develop a protocol for working with consumers.

More than five years later, they have to hang their heads in shame that they can’t manage to do what countless private and government organizations do every day – assign clients, patients, students, etc., to a contact person they can count on to help them through a bureaucratic process.

Back when I worked in a tiny academic advising office at a small university, we somehow managed to create and administer a system that could divvy up the students among trained advisors, maintain an electronic database to record  every communication we had with those students, and track their academic progress and choice of major. Little did I know back then that we lowly functionaries were geniuses compared to the high-dollar executives at the nation’s fourth-largest bank.

While I was trying to work with Wells Fargo to restructure my loan, I experienced the terrible incompetence of its system firsthand. Over two and a half years, I was assigned no fewer than 17 people who were supposed to help get my case reviewed. Oddly enough, most of them weren’t very helpful at all. Some of them even seemed to completely lack such basic skills as how to read a bank statement, how to add simple numbers and how to return phone calls.

One wonders how the very same company has managed to keep the paperwork straight and organize all the steps required to facilitate the hundreds of thousands of foreclosures it has committed over the past few years. Of course, we now know there was a special manual created to help Wells Fargo employees fabricate the reams of documents necessary to achieve this profitable outcome.

Perhaps Stumpf and Heid could hire the same people who wrote the Foreclosure Manual to create a Loan Mod Manual. Wouldn’t that be helpful? I wonder why none of their expensive executives thought of that?

Wells Fargo’s Fraud Handbook

“When they did the bailout, they bailed out the banks … but they never bailed out the homeowners. The homeowners took the biggest hit.”

None of this comes as a surprise to any of us who have been dealing with the systemic idiocy of Wells Fargo’s mortgage loan modification review “process” over the past seven years or so. Nor, for that matter, anyone who has tried to re-structure a mortgage serviced by any of the “too big to fail” banks.

Falsified paperwork. “Lost” paperwork.Electronic “paperwork.” Paperwork that didn’t count because you didn’t sign it in the lower left-hand corner upside down with your own blood.

“What people don’t understand is this: 49 attorney generals went after
almost every major bank including Wells Fargo.
There was a $25 billion settlement for these kinds of fraudulent practices,but nothing to help the homeowners. That’s what is so crazy.”

Wells Fargo: Still Lying, Cheating & Stealing in 2015

I guess you have to give Wells Fargo points for consistency. After all, they’ve been publicly, openly and brazenly screwing over homeowners for about seven years now. (Pretty sure they were doing it before, too, but not as openly.)

In spite of the (fake) government “foreclosure prevention” programs and the (phony) million-dollar settlements and the thousands and thousands of Americans who have publicly told stories about being lied to, strung along and then cheated out of their homes, Wells Fargo is still stealing houses.

Here’s Martha who just started the modification process in early 2015 and is already facing the delay-and-deny game and being lied to by Wells Fargo’s servicers: “In total, I’ve talked to six different people and each time I have to almost start the conversation over. There doesn’t seem to be any system for keeping notes on a file on their computer system.”

Gosh, imagine that. After several years Wells Fargo doesn’t employ anyone competent enough to design a system for reviewing loan mod applications professionally and in a timely manner? Right. Bullshit.

Bruce was lured into the loan mod morass by Wells Fargo with a sneaky little story about being pre-approved for a very favorable sounding loan restructuring. What he has since found out is that he was lied to in a scheme to basically churn “servicing” fees from the investor. He, like any rational human being, thought his bank 1) worked for him and 2) would act in a fiscally rational manner. Like the rest of us, he found out otherwise.

“At first I thought that this couldn’t be true, that there was no reason they would want to take a good loan and lead it into foreclosure,” he writes. “Over time I came to understand that in order to bolster profit in the down economy, they adopted a policy of double tracking foreclosures and modifications, simultaneously making administrative fees on both. It’s critical to understand that the administrative fees are paid by the purchaser of the bundled loan, usually a public pension plan trust, and that such investors also bear the risk of loss on foreclosure.”

Exactly. And judging from the comments of other readers, they’re still double-tracking and playing the delay-and-deny game despite supposedly being slapped on the wrist and told not to.

Kama has been fighting for her home for five years and, like any law-abiding person can’t understand why Wells Fargo is allowed to lie, cheat and steal from people with no real recourse. It’s simple – big business has bought all the power.

Until Americans wake up and stop being manipulated into voting against their best interests and sitting back while corporations buy up all the power in this country, it’s only going to get worse. Don’t vote for candidates at any level who are funded by big business or rich ideologues like the Koch Brothers.

Tell your story about being manipulated and lied to and cheated by your bank to everyone who will listen – family, friends, your hairdresser and the mailman and the guy behind the counter at the dry cleaners. Encourage them to take their money out of the big banks and to look beyond polarizing sound-bites to demand fairness and justice from their elected officials.

Lisa in New Jersey is fighting back: “No one at Wells Fargo cares about us and unless we band together, there will be a neighborhood full of vacant empty homes in every neighborhood across America with a big sign WELLS FARGO SCREWED ME.”

Give ’em hell, Lisa, and everyone else who is and has been fighting the banksters.

Wells Fargo Still Scamming Loan Mod Seekers

Do any of the individuals or agencies that supposedly forced the banks to clean up their mortgage loan modification processes care that the banks HAVE NOT DONE WHAT THEY PROMISED TO DO?

Yeah, I didn’t really think so. The banksters had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they promised things like timely reviews and single contact people and actual, you know, modifications of these loans.

Yes, there were Presidential promises and Treasury scoldings and chest thumping by THE AG and all the assorted lesser A’sG. (Seriously, does anyone even know if Eric Schneidermann is still alive? He and his Financial Fraud Task Force certainly disappeared into the black hole of Washington’s do-nothing committees on studying the study of the alleged wrongoing by some unnamed alleged doer of wrong.)

Yes, there were well-publicized settlements for amounts that seemed gigantic to the average human but look relatively small when viewed in the context of the mega-salaries of Stumpf and Dimon and cronies.

But nothing has really changed in how the banks deal with beleaguered homeowners trying to hold their finances and their homes together. How do I know? From the people who visit my blog and leave comments like the recent one from TR. She reports the same kinds of nonsense I faced during my fight with the loan-mod-fraud crowd at Wells Fargo starting back in 2010.

TR writes: “When we tried to contact our “home preservation specialist”, our calls were never returned. I believe that they could care less about their customers and the needs of their customers. We want to save our home, but they are making it impossible when they will NOT return calls and hang up on you every time you call.”

TR has come to the same conclusion I and millions of others did, namely that the system is so stacked against us that we can’t win no matter how hard we try or how sensible it would be for the bank to re-structure our loans and keep us in our homes.

“I am frustrated beyond words and have had many sleepless nights, days full of anger and tears,” she writes. “I am now ready to walk away from the only home my children have known and begin anew. I have no choice but to walk away knowing WE tried every avenue only to have the doors slammed in our face.

Yeah, been there. You jump through all their hoops foreward, backward and sideways and still there are more lies and no positive end in sight.

So, just in case the President or Congress or the Comptroller of the Currency or the new Treasury secretary or any entity in the entire nation with legal power cares, the banks are STILL SCREWING OVER HOMEOWNERS AND STEALING HOUSES.

Need more examples? Here are just a few of the web search phrases that have brought people to my blog in the past 30 days:

  • keep getting shut down for mortgage modification from wells fargo
  • unapplied funds mortgage wells fargo loan mod
  • wells fargo bait and switch tactics 2014
  • wells fargo why are they not doing modifications
  • why the hell does wells fargo keep sending someone by my house
  • does wells fargo try to trick defendant of foreclosure before trial
  • wells fargo is terrible at home loan modifications why?
  • wells fargo trial mortage payment rip off
  • wells fargo home loan modification scams
  • how can a 3 month trial mod go to 4 months
  • is wells fargo still screwing people
  • if wells fargo got paid and still trying to foreclose
  • hamp and trial loan modification was scam
  • wells fargo mortgage specialist abuse

The Mortgage Modification Scam Still Alive and Well at Wells Fargo

Lest you harbor hopeful thoughts that a series of much-publicized no-wrongdoing-admitted settlements with the banksters means they’ve stopped cheating on mortgage loan modifications and other foreclosure-related transactions, consider the following. (They’re still cheating.)

These search phrases that brought readers to my blog tell me that people are still being jerked around by Wells Fargo. That in defiance of requirements specified in the National Mortgage Settlement, Wells Fargo is still dual-tracking and screwing around with short sales. Oh, and probably still employing overzealous lockout/trashout tactics. (Yeah, and how much would you bet that robo-signing is still going on in deep, dark basements somewhere?)

Yes, these examples focus on Wells Fargo, but given recent history, do you really believe the other big banks aren’t still doing exactly the same?

Here’s a sampling of searches from just the past 30 days:

  • i qualify so why wont wells fargo give me a home modification hamp
  • scams through wells fargo loan modification program
  • wells fargo ignores short sale request
  • has anyone been forclosed on while working with the bank on a modification with wells fargo
  • wells fargo is the most inflexible and dishonest mortgage holder
  • wells fargo cheated me
  • i was denied modification from wells fargo
  • loan modification wells fargo fraud
  • wells fargo fraudlent mortgage modifications
  • wells fargo scared my tenants into moving
  • wells fargo changing locks illegally
  • i got no home modification from wells fargo
  • wells fargo mortgage sold my loan before forbearance

Not that different from the web searches homeowners have been doing for the past six years as the banks have stolen millions of houses and screwed with the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.

I expect this will go on and on as long as 1) people continue to do business with the big banks, thinking government and fake regulatory agencies will keep them safe and 2) big corporate banks own the federal and state politicians who should be protecting the American people from financial ruin.

How can you protect yourself and beat the banksters’ scams? Pretty simple.

  • Take all your money out of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, Ally, Chase and any other bank that’s focused more on making money than serving customers and instead do business with small regional/local banks and credit unions. Keep your money working in your community with a simple commercial bank, the kind that exists to provide services such as checking and savings accounts. You don’t want to risk being the cash cow for the greed-fueled traders at one of the “too-big-to-fail” investment banks.
  • Never, ever take out a loan with an institution that has the contractual right to sell your loan to another party or to sell the servicing rights to another party. You want to decide which financial institutions will get your business, not be a pawn in some bank executive’s greed-fueled frenzy to get a six-figure bonus.

Wells Fargo: Sucking Since 2008 … and Beyond

How sad is it that a blog post from May 2008 is still getting comments in May 2014 from people who have been screwed over by Wells Fargo?

10 Reasons Wells Fargo Sucks – A warning to new customers

If you peruse the information readers have shared over the past six years about this bank’s abysmal customer service and consuming greed, you’ll find every kind of slimy business practice.

Playing games with checking deposits to rack up overdraft fees. Jerking homeowners around, promising to modify mortgage loans after a qualifying period, taking their money during that period and then denying the loan mod. Holding insurance checks for an illogical amount of time when disaster victims need funds for basics like shelter, food and clothing. And so on and so on …

If you’re thinking of doing business of any kind with Wells Fargo, do yourself a favor and read this blog entry and at least a sampling of the comments. Then take the sensible course of action: run far, far away from Wells Fargo and the other big banks (Chase, Citi, B of A)  to your local credit union or local/regional bank. You’ll save time, frustration and money.

Need more reason NEVER, EVER to bank with Wells Fargo? How about 990 reasons?

Top 990 Consumer Complaints and Reviews about Wells Fargo

Don’t say you weren’t warned. Wells Fargo Sucks.

Timmy G’s Version of Recent History

If you’re a big fan of revisionist history and want to read more government spin on the financial crisis that triggered a multi-billion-dollar foreclosure frenzy, ex-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s new book is just the thing for you. Here are some excerpts as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

On a silver-bullet for the foreclosure crisis:
“Housing was an impossibly complex issue that didn’t lend itself to simple solutions, and the limitations of our housing programs were a lot 
easier to identify than they were to fix. We were under intense pressure to improve these programs—not only from our many critics, but from the President, who was deeply unsatisfied with our early results, and constantly pushed us to do better… We were dissatisfied and frustrated, too. Some of our programs were stumbling out of the gate. Others weren’t ambitious enough. We would keep looking for ways to expand their power, reach, and effectiveness throughout the president’s first term.

“If there had been a game-changing housing plan that could have provided much more relief, we would have embraced it. We had some of the nation’s best progressive talent working on housing. We also had powerful incentives to throw everything we had at the problem; the press was killing us and so were our political allies… We tried to do what we could within the constraints we faced. It wasn’t enough. But it was more than most people realized.”

On the shortcomings of the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, the administration’s primary mortgage-relief campaign:
“We ended up requiring a mountain of paperwork for permanent relief, in part to appease critics such as [Neil] Barofsky, [the special inspector general for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program] who warned that the limited safeguards in our initial proposal were an invitation to fraud; we decided that in this case he had a point. But Larry [Summers, the director of the White House National Economic Council] warned that we were so worried about “false positives,” providing aid to the underserving, that we would allow too many “false negatives,” denying aid to the deserving. He had a point as well….

“By [late 2009], it was clear that HAMP’s reliance on the broken infrastructure of the mortgage servicing industry was a serious problem. This was probably unavoidable; we didn’t have the authority to start up a new government agency or hire thousands of loan specialists ourselves, and even if we’d been able to get the authority from Congress, it would have been a long and messy process. But the servicers, many of them owned by the banks, had little experience modifying loans, and nowhere near the capacity or the resources they would need to modify millions of loans. They had been completely unprepared for the housing crisis, and had laid off staff in droves after the bubble popped.

Now we were asking them to conduct a challenging and time-consuming form of triage, and they were terrible at it—slow to hire, slow to figure out how to provide relief, just slow. In fairness, many of the borrowers they were supposed to track down were hard to find and harder to engage; homeowners also struggled to find every required document. But many times incompetent servicers found ways to lose those documents multiple times….”
_________________________________________________________

What a load of crap former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is spewing in his newly released book. No surprise he’s trying to re-write history: millions of Americans lost their homes completely unnecessarily because of his inability (unwillingness?) to make his Wall Street cronies at the big banks follow the very specific guidelines for modifying mortgages that were supposed to drive the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP).

HAMP wasn’t a perfect program by any means, but if it had been implemented in any meaningful way a whole lot of people would have kept their homes. All Geithner’s department and the other agencies tasked with oversight had to do was bring the banks to heel and get them to comply with the guidelines of the program, something that should have been within his power (for all he protested it was not). The “carrot” built in to the federal program was miniscule – small amounts of money offered for banks who followed the guidelines and completed what should have been fairly straightforward re-structuring of mortgage loans. (Lower the payments by decreasing the interest rate for a few years, extend the term of the loan and add a balloon payment on the end. Pretty standard stuff.) But the “stick” should have been huge: comply with the guidelines or don’t get bailed out. Fail. Simple as that.

But over and over Geithner and the other regulators failed to act in the interest of the American people and instead caved and waffled and,
eventually after years of blatant lies and fraud, negotiated some anemic and highly ineffective “punitive” settlements.

It’s not as if Geithner didn’t know the banks were running a big scam in the name of HAMP. How many letters do you suppose the Treasury Department got from homeowners detailing the now-familiar story of people trying for months and, eventually, years just to get the banks to
acknowledge that the proper paperwork had been submitted for review. I played the paperwork game with Wells Fargo for two years, sending the same forms over and over and waiting nearly eight months for one of the modification reviews to be complete (even though the HAMP guidelines specified the review take no longer than 30 days.)

I didn’t write to the Treasury Department, but a letter I wrote to President Obama in November 2010 got routed there in July 2011, presumably because Treasury was supposed to be overseeing HAMP. This referred me to a division of Fannie Mae (then tasked with administering the modification program) called the HAMP Solution Center, which resulted in a fake “investigation” of my allegations against loan services Wells Fargo and “investor” Freddie Mac. The staff of the Solution Center asked me no questions and gathered no data or facts other than my initial letter. I’m quite convinced that all they did was ask Freddie Mac whether Wells Fargo had done what it was supposed to in my case. (Or at least they said they asked; I got copies of no such correspondence.) Big surprise, Wells Fargo reported that it had complied in every way with the program and said the delays were all my fault because I just kept failing to send them paperwork on time (Big LIE!) and I didn’t qualify for HAMP (LIE!). The Solution Center took that as read and blew me off, as subsequently did the Treasury Department. The message to my bank: just keep on lying and cheating and we’ll just go on looking the other way.

Bankster apologist Geithner talks about the “broken infrastructure” of the mortgage servicing industry as if the poor banks just didn’t have the
resources to process all those re-structuring requests. But the same banks managed to originate all those mortgages – even at the height of the home-buying frenzy – without whining about being overwhelmed and under-staffed. Re-structuring those existing loans shouldn’t have required nearly as complicated a system as the origination. (If you’ve ever bought property, you know all the paperwork and logistics involved.) To modify a mortgage per the HAMP program guidelines all they really had to do was verify income eligibility, something institutions tasked with loaning money have been doing as long as there have been such institutions.

Create a system, teach the system to staffers assigned to the task, publicize the exact steps applicants need to follow and get on with
business. That’s assuming, of course, that you honestly intend to re-structure these loans. However, I know for certain that the big banks
never, ever intended to comply with HAMP. How do I know this? Simple. The banks never designed nor shared such a system. You could scour the websites of these big banks for weeks and still not find anything as simple as a checklist for what documents needed to be submitted before a HAMP review could commence and what the timeline for said review would be. And if you called your loan-servicer bank and spoke with one of the (mostly) polite but completely useless customer service people to whom your call was routed, they couldn’t tell you this information, either. (Nor were they allowed to tell you who was doing the review or how to contact that person or pretty much anything else of substance that a company engaged in honest business would openly provide.)

What the banks did instead was develop a system to string along their borrowers, to generate who-knows-how-many millions in “servicing”
fees while also extorting more money out of homeowners with a scam known as a “trial modification.” And in a grand stroke of coincidence, each and every one of the big banks seemed to come up with many of the exact same strategies for this, the best known of which was (and still is) the endless paperwork game. Send the same paperwork over and over and over and be told it’s lost or wrong or, my personal favorite, “stale.” On sites like HissingKitty and RipoffReport you can read thousands of accounts from homeowners seeking loan mods from Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, Citi and all the little subsidiaries and the stories pretty much follow the same line. Loan mod scam with concurrent foreclosure process (the deadly “dual track“) proceeding with the force of a freight train and nothing – not logic, not the law, not ethics or morals or compassion or even the fact that the person being persecuted didn’t hold a mortgage – could stop the engine.

Pure chance or do you think the banks got together and conspired to create a system to thwart the mortgage loan re-structuring program and defraud millions of homeowners out of their property? I for one believe they gleefully shared their stalling strategies as they developed, including that extremely expedient forgery system that became known as “robo-signing.”

And all of this happened on Geithner’s watch and with Geithner’s full knowledge. Anyone with a brain realizes this. To the banksters that
makes him a hero, part of the mechanism that yielded them six-figure bonus checks while the average American was struggling to stay above
water. To those of us who were lied to and jerked around by those banksters, he’s one of the evil conspirators, someone who could have
stopped the foreclosure feeding frenzy and did not.

I’m not saying it was his decision to chose inaction over doing anything substantial to turn the tide of foreclosures. I firmly believe the fault for
that lies with the Obama administration, which either implicitly or explicity blocked every agency that could have prevented the big fee-crazy
mortgage servicers from raping and pillaging millions of homeowners. But with his close relationship to the Wall Street fat cats, it’s easy to imagine his natural inclination led to favoring the corporate cash grab over the little guys defending their homes.

So of course he’s out there hawking his revisionist history and disparaging anyone still calling for justice for the millions Americans who had the rug pulled out from under them by a financial crisis not of their making and who lost homes not because there wasn’t a “silver bullet” to stop
foreclosures but because men like Timothy Geithner conspired against them with the very people who did cause the crisis and who were
getting rich off its fallout.

   

It’s 2014 and the Banks Still Can’t Modify a Mortgage?

Think the foreclosure crisis has ended and banks are back on the straight and narrow after years of cheating and lying to customers? Judging from the searches that bring readers to this blog, that’s just not the case.

Seems people are still being strung along in fake mortgage modification reviews and offered false trial mods that lead to nowhere. I’m also seeing more searches for information about forbearances, which is just another scam to extract a bit more money out of homeowners before the foreclosure process grinds to a finish.

So, to review for those of you who haven’t been paying attention and still think that there’s nothing wrong with the way big banks have done business in the wake of the financial crisis and  the government really did all it could to help mitigate the foreclosure problems, here are a few interesting points:

1) In addition to their overweening greed causing the financial crisis, it also fed the foreclosure feeding frenzy that followed. 

“All those arrows point in the same direction – the HAMP failure, the foreclosure nightmare that people experience, the court decisions, the realtors’ short sale experiences. They all point to a huge bank bureaucracy that is incompetent, that is tormenting people, that is doing great damage to the investors.”

“HAMP would be more successful
were it not for “massive servicer noncompliance.”

~National Consumer Law Center

2) The Obama Administration did nothing to help beset homeowners ride out the financial crisis and everything to throw them to the wolves – namely the big banks.

“When President Obama delivered his speech in Arizona in February, 2009, nowhere in the speech did he come close to implying that this plan was intended to help the banks and servicers get more money out of homeowners before taking their homes. What he said was, ‘This will enable as many as three to four million homeowners to modify the terms of their mortgages to avoid foreclosure.’ It wasn’t followed by, ‘…for a couple of months.'”

~Government Tactic: Help Banks by Lying to Homeowners

3) Homeowners who were bled dry by the fake loan modification process and then offered meager relief are not to blame for the number of HAMP re-defaults. The banks set them up so they could make even more money “servicing” a second foreclosure process.

“… the majority of HAMP participants received
monthly mortgage reductions of less than 10 percent,
and 39 percent of them saw monthly reductions of less than 5 percent. When you’re struggling — which in the post-crash economy was and still is very common — every little bit certainly helps,
but a 5 percent or less reduction in your mortgage payment
is just that: a little bit.” 

~HAMP-Strung: Mortgage Modification Program
Seeing Too Many Redefaults

 4) Yes, it’s all still going on FIVE YEARS after President Obama promised help to millions of Americans being hounded into foreclosure by banks. In spite of much-publicized “punitive” settlements paid by all the big banks.

“A new report says homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure
must wait too long for their loan modification applications
to be reviewed by some of the nation’s top mortgage servicers.
Such delays can plunge borrowers deeper in debt.”

Mortgage Modifications Still Taking Banks Too Long, Report Says

5) THE BANKS LIE!

“The simple fact is that the nation’s biggest banks have practiced to perfection how to lose files and documentation. Simply put, no one is holding the banks accountable for submitted information.
Just exactly how many times can one lose their homework and get away with it? The question really is that simple.”

Terrifying Tales of Mortgage Loan Modifications Gone Wrong

Big Banks Take the Money and Run

No, no, no! Are you kidding me?

Taxpayers in cities across the country are paying billions of dollars dealing with the leftovers of the big banks’ recent foreclosure feeding frenzy.

According to a recent NPR story, it costs about $10,000 each to raze these houses that were taken away from families by banks and then left unoccupied and untended. And, in most cases, the banks are not paying, either to keep up and sell or rent the homes or to have them demolished.

Why should cities and counties be paying to deal with this problem? If the banks wanted to own these homes so badly that they foreclosed instead of working with people to restructure loans, then those banks should step up and take care of them. Duh!

“There is certainly a major philosophical and functional disconnect when a bank has refused to do a loan modification. And then, the house becomes vacant and is torn down.”
Banks demolish foreclosed homes, raise eyebrows

If I, as a private citizen, owned a house that had been vandalized, that was dangerous to health and safety, that was a haven for crime and negatively impacted my neighbors, I would be required to either demolish it or fix it. Period. Nobody would step in and deal with the problem for me.

The banks made billions off shady mortgages bundled and sold as securities to unsuspecting investors. Then they made more billions “servicing” the loans they sold, including engineering protracted foreclosure proceedings. They cheated local governments out of fees by creating MERS, an electronic mortgage recording service.  And now they’re asking those local and state governments — using our tax money — to pay to deal with the fallout by paying to demolish or repair millions of abandoned houses.

How much better would it have been for the local, state and national economy, for the neighborhoods and, in the long run, for the banks to have found ways to help people stay in and care for their homes? That seems like a complete no-brainer to me.

I don’t blame homeowners in these bank-blighted areas from supporting anyone who will come in and start the process of removing ugly and dangerous structures and rebuilding their property values. But I wonder how many have stopped to think that they are footing part of the bill.

It’s just another bail-out for the banks. They made the money originating, securitizing and servicing the mortgages and now they’re leaving the taxpayers to deal with the fallout. That’s just so wrong. We’d all be better off if someone would take a bulldozer to these too-big-to-exist corporations.