The Games Wells Fargo Plays: Send the Paperwork Again

If you’re been working with (against?) your bank to secure a mortgage modification, you know all about the paperwork game. You send everything they ask for and they ask for more. You send that and they ask for more. You send exactly what they ask for again and they drop your review because you didn’t send the right paperwork. And on. And on.

No, it’s not incompetence. No multi-billion-dollar company has that many imbeciles on the payroll. No, they’re not “overwhelmed.”  That might have been plausible when the government first started publicizing its Home Affordable Modification Program, but that was more than two years ago. No, the Post Office didn’t lose your mailing and it wasn’t swallowed up by the telephone line that connects your fax machine to the bank’s.

The paperwork game is one of many very intentional ways the big mortgage servicers frustrate people into giving up their search for help to avoid foreclosure. They know the odds are that most people will fold, walk away from their houses outright or just fail to fight the bank’s foreclosure process.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which services my mortgage loan allegedly owned by Freddie Mac, has been playing this game with me for 18 months now. Their stock line is to blame the “investor” for the nonsense, but I pretty much have down chapter and verse of Freddie Mac’s servicing guidelines and there’s not one single word there about paperwork needing to be submitted on any specific timeline.

The stock line in WFHM’s verbal and written communication regarding documents required for mortgage mod reviews is some version of “the investor requires certain documents be resubmitted every 30 days.” Or maybe it’s 60 days. Or any other timeframe that suits the speaker’s/writer’s need to justify yet another delay in reviewing the loan for modification.

I don’t know about the other banks, but WFHM just can’t quite get its story straight on what exactly its investor actually requires:

April 15, 2010 – Customer Service queue representative Eric told me that documents such as the hardship letter must be updated every 30 days to meet the requirements of “the investor.” The first time I was given any kind of timeline guidance.
August 9, 2010 – In email to Mark Tinsley, I asked, “Also, as it is coming up on time to “refresh” the dates on the standard forms, the hardship letter, financial worksheet and my profit-and-loss statements, should I go ahead and submit newly signed/dated copies of those.” His answer: “no need to refresh.”
September 23, 2010 – Customer service queue representative Chelsea told me I should continue to send in my hardship letter, financial worksheet and proof of income every 60 days instead of every 30 days – a new requirement.
October 4, 2010 – Kathleen Wengert Nelson from the WFHM president’s office wrote “Please be aware, the investors require documentation required for retention options be dated within the past 30 days.”
October 25, 2010 – Wanita Nelson from the WFHM president’s office wrote “Please be aware, the investors require documentation required for retention options be dated within the past 30 days.”
November 17, 2010 – Loan Servicing (Collections) customer service representative Latoya reminded me to continue to update my documentation every 30 days.
November 23, 2010 – Loan Servicing (Collections) customer service representative Rachel told me the standard modification documents only have to be updated every 60 days now. The previous 30-day rule has changed.
December 13, 2010 – Wanita Nelson from the WFHM president’s office wrote to an Arizona Attorney General’s representative, copied to me, “Please be aware, the investors requite [sic] documentation required for retention options be dated within the past 30 days.”
January 6, 2011 – I asked Angela Cook, from the WFHM president’s office for clarification on the 30-day rule for submitting the core documents. She said there has been difficulty and confusion because the process has changed numerous times. Now, she said, the investor has “gone out to 50 days” but WFHM still typically requests documents every 30 days to keep it all “fresh.”
January 18, 2011 – Angela Cook, from the WFHM president’s office wrote to an Arizona Attorney General’s representative, copied to me, “The investor does request that financials be updated within a timely manner. This timeframe has been updated to require updates within 50 days for most documents. Proof of income is requested to be updated within 30 days.
January 26, 2011 – Kathleen Halifax, underwriter in Loss Mitigation, mentioned that she always tries to review files within 60 days, so that is her requirement for document submission.

Both the HAMP program guidelines and Wells Fargo’s servicing agreement with my loan’s “investor,” Freddie Mac, set a much more liberal document submission requirement. Wells Fargo’s ever-changing “requirement” is more justification for the ongoing game of “send the documents” that WFHM and all the other large banks seem to be playing with their customers who are seeking mortgage modifications. And yet another way Wells Fargo is completely ignoring both the HAMP program guidelines and Freddie Mac’s Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide, which the abovementioned Ms. Nelson confirmed to me was used by WFHM.

“A borrower’s income documentation may not be more than 90 days old as of the date that such documentation is received by the servicer in connection with evaluating a mortgage loan for HAMP.”

Supplemental Directive 09-07
Home Affordable Modification Program –
Streamlined Borrower Evaluation Process
October 8, 2009

“For purposes of HAMP, a Borrower’s income must be supported by documentation that is not more than 90 days old as of the date that the Initial Package is received by the Servicer in connection with evaluating a Mortgage for HAMP.”

Freddie Mac Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide, Volume 2
Chs. 64-69: Servicing Nonperforming Mortgages
Chapter C65: Home Affordable Modification Program
C65.5.1: Acknowledgement of Initial Package and verification of eligibility
(b)3. Verification of Income
(11/01/10)

(Excerpted from the list of Wells Fargo lies detailed on my Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire pages.)

Socialism = Sharing. When did that become a bad thing?

If people, especially those who should have some education and at least a few functioning brain cells, don’t quit maligning “socialism” and lumping it in with a whole lot of other “isms,” my brain just might explode.

Fox “News” publishes an idiotic op-ed piece asserting that the National Weather Service should be done away with and the next thing you know I’m seeing this headline on my Twitter feed: The National Weather Service as socialist plot.

That’s after months of listening to all kinds of nonsense attempting to malign a variety of public figures by calling them socialists: Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren come to mind.

What a load of crap. First, can it really be true that so many people fail to understand that the words “socialism,” “Marxism,” “communism” and “fascism” ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE?

So, let’s keep it really simple for all the idiots, dunderheads, rednecks, semi-literates and masses of brainwashed folks out there.

Socialism means the rich and powerful share with the less fortunate to the benefit of the greater society. Let’s see, who can we give as an example of this. From popular culture, how about Robin Hood – outlawed by the powers-that-were for redistributing their wealth and beloved of the common man for making sure people had food, shelter, protection from tyranny.

Or, maybe, all the religious leaders of all the great religions in all the world. Isn’t charity – sharing –  one of those much-touted values that defines a “good Christian?” Add a good Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist to the list, too.

Socialism is portrayed on the scale of political polarization as being on the left, the liberal end of the spectrum. In the United States, that aligns it with the Democratic Party, which has historically been seen as having more interest in broad-based, government-sponsored social programs.

The social contract or a safety net to those who see its value, even its necessity. “Big government” to those who prefer the wealth to be concentrated in the hands of, well, quite often themselves.

Waaayyy on the other end of the political spectrum, out there at the right wing where the Republican Party purportedly finds its “base,” is socialism’s polar opposite – fascism.

That’s the one where an authoritarian government feeds more and more resources to the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else. They can come and take anything you have and you have absolutely no recourse. Might is right, so to speak.

That’s the bad one folks. Not socialism. Fascism. With poster children like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Castro and all those African despots who seem to have become quite unpopular with their citizens of late.

While Fox “News” and the “conservative” talk-show hosts scream about the dangerous threat of socialism, they’re providing perfect cover for the really insidious increase of its opposite number – fascism. Do they know they’re doing it, or are they just hopelessly uneducated? Don’t know. The outcome is the same either way.

Since somewhere about midway through the first term of Bush II – which I’d already started referring to as “the current fascist regime” – I’ve had a newspaper clipping next to my desk. It’s a letter to the editor of a Colorado newspaper quoting political scientist Lawrence Britt’s 14 Characteristics of Fascism.

I cut it out because it scared the heck out of me how many of these points already described the society in which I was living, showing how far the United States had slid down the slippery slope toward fascism.

1. Powerful and continuing nationalism” and “7. Obsession with national security driven by a politics of fear.” Yep. The “Patriot Act” and Department of “Homeland” Security. What about the “if you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists” speech?

2. Disdain for the recognition of human rights because security needs outweigh human needs.” Yes, again. Gitmo, waterboarding, warrantless wiretapping, even forcing libraries and bookstores to reveal what people were reading.

Those were some of the hallmarks of the Bush years. But we’ve added a couple of big ones to the list since President Obama took over.

9. Corporate power is protected.” Billion-dollar bank bailouts with no strings, zero prosecution for massive mortgage origination and servicing fraud.

10. Labor power is suppressed.” Wisconsin 2011.

Whether you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, a Green or you just want Congress to shut up and get on with actually governing, surely you have to recognize some of these signs of the decline of our democratic ideals, the erosion of the republic. Don’t you?

Frankly, I wish President Obama was more of a socialist. But you can’t be in favor of re-distributing wealth when your campaign is financed by the likes of Goldman Sachs, and your administration includes some pretty prominent folks straight from the greed-corrupted financial services industry.

Apparently, the only ones who really “get” this is the Socialists themselves.

Time to wake up and realize that real, honest socialism is what builds a strong, cohesive nation where everyone benefits from his own labors and where self-determination is possible for everyone, not just the super-rich corporate fat-cats and corrupt government officials. Where private property rights are respected and protected by law. Where those who have much feel a responsibility to aid those who don’t have any. Where the public good is served by sharing the cost of police forces and firefighters. Where every citizen shares the bounty of food and education and health care.

Sounds a lot like the United States we have prided ourselves on for 200-plus years, holding up this country as an example to the world. Correct?

So, in conclusion, let’s review. Socialism = good. Facism = bad. Got it?

(Because there has to be some humor in everything, even the idiotic political propaganda we’re going to be inundated with from now until the election, here’s a novel way to explain the differences between socialism, communism, fascism and capitalism, plus a few more.)
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Right vs. Left? Religious vs. Socialist?

Only in a society steeped in ignorance and propaganda does it make any sense that Americans who self-identify as being on the political “right wing” are so aligned against socialism, which they have been schooled to consider “liberal” and “leftist.” But, do they realize that what they’re choosing instead is fascism, a system that surely goes against the stated values of every major religious movement in the world?

Name any major world religion and you’ll be pointing out an ideology that idealizes and advocates the re-distribution of wealth from those who have the most to those who have the least. That’s why I really, really do not understand why the so-called fundamentalist religious folks here in the U.S. seem so susceptible to rhetoric that brands socialism as some kind of demon that must be excoriated at any cost.

Christians, Catholics, Protestents: “If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.” Deut. 15:7

Judaism includes eight levels of charity, as defined by the rabbi Maimonides, of the highest form is to give a gift, loan or partnership that will result in the recipient supporting himself instead of living upon others.

From the Buddhist Dalai Lama: “It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.”

To Muslims, “alms are for the poor and the needy and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” Qur’an 9:60

Hindu: “Whenever you happen to come across any of these, don’t fail to offer any thing suitable, – food, cloth, vehicle, money, jewellery etc as appropriate – to a saint or a monk, a cow or such animal, a student (bachelor), temple, a worshipper, pregnant woman, child, hungry person, beggar, destitute, a dead body being carried. The help you do comes back in multiples later. Kamandakiya Niti Sara

Mormon: “Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:47-48.

Oh, and just a little food for thought if you’re a bank executive:

“The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice… Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord God. Ezek. 22:29,31.

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Update: Here’s what you really need to worry about. A “democratic” system corrupted into oligarchy.
Oligarchy is the Problem
Oligarchy is the Politics of Wealth Defense by the the Richest

Mortgage Mod Fraud Goes On and On

This is for all of you who still think the people working hard for mortgage modifications and fighting foreclosure are just a bunch of “deadbeats” who “bought too much house” and are now “trying to get a free house.

And for anyone who still believes the banks’ nonsense that they really, really want to help more people save their homes, but those darn borrowers just won’t fill out the right paperwork.

Nonsense. It’s all about the money the mortgage loan servicer banks are raking in. Servicers make more money to foreclose than to modify a mortgage.

That’s right. It seems logical to think banks would rather keep borrowers in their homes paying even a reduced mortgage. Nope. The financial incentive is generally all on the side of foreclosure, in large part thanks to federal government subsidies.

From the interview:

“Has there been a rush to foreclose, in your view?”

“I think there has been a rush to foreclose. I think the thing that most made me upset is that you had people that qualified for loan modifications that were denied and went into foreclosure.”

“Lost their homes?”

“Lost their homes.”

“Lost their homes, even though they deserved modifications?”

“Even though they would have qualified and deserved a modification.”

Just as true today as when this interview was first run. Don’t believe me? Just read the long list of lies Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has told me during 17-plus months of mortgage mod nonsense. Is that how an honest company does business. I think not.