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