Banks Still Playing Loan Mod Games

Belinda, Carlos, Drew, Jane, Ellen, Linda and Brian, like millions of other Americans, have been caught in their loan servicer banks’ maddening “send the paperwork” loop for months or even years, just like I was. And we’re not alone.

One of the top search phrases that still brings people to my blog is some combination of the words “mortgage modification” and “fraud” or “scam.” So there are a whole lot of people out there still being strung along and messed with by their banks.

The trouble is, none of the agencies that could/should be protecting consumers from this massive corporate power play seem willing or able to do anything to rein in these massive corporations.

My case was supposedly investigated by something called the HAMP Solutions Center on behalf of the U.S. Treasury Department‘s Homeownership Preservation Office (neither of which seem to exist on the Treasury website anymore). But the “investigation” didn’t include the staff of the center ever contacting me to ask a single question about how the “investor,” Freddie Mac, or the loan servicer, Wells Fargo, had behaved.

Based on the very wishy-washy response I got after three months, I’m pretty sure all they did was ask FM and WF whether they did what they were supposed to, and took them at their word when they, of course, reported they had done all they could to assist me. When that’s the level of oversight, no wonder homeowners feel so betrayed and helpless.

We have been betrayed at all levels, from the Obama administration to the courts, from our state attorneys general to the financial services industry regulators. It’s not a coincidence that no executives from Wall Street or the big banks have been prosecuted for their decisions, choices and actions that led to the near collapse of the economy. Those people have spent billions in campaign contributions and lobbying to get laws passed that make their actions “legal.”

Apparently, it’s completely legal for companies to systematically lie to consumers and generally torment them with lame excuses and lost documents and outright lies. Extend and pretend appears still to be the name of the game, in spite of last year’s National Mortgage Settlement.

And millions lose their homes and their jobs, their credit and their pensions and their peace of mind so a few banksters can give themselves multi-million-dollar bonuses.