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Quicker mortgage help for homeowners

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: The Obama Administration's foreclosure prevention program has been slow to help homeowners in trouble. But the Treasury Department says it got commitments yesterday from the nation's largest banks and loan servicers to modify more troubled mortgages more quickly. Tamara Keith reports.


Tamara Keith: The Making Home Affordable program is supposed to help 3 million homeowners by modifying their mortgages so they can actually make the payments.

Loan servicers, the companies that collect the checks, are the ones responsible for making that happen. But five months into the program, servicers have helped just 200,000 homeowners. Yesterday's meeting was about speeding up the process and improving customer service.

Paul Leonard is with the Financial Services Roundtable, an industry group:

Paul Leonard: We think that a good working relationship with Treasury and HUD has been developed. You know they want servicers to do more, but they're willing to listen about on how to make the program work better.

But that's not enough for Jim Carr of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition:

Jim Carr: Simply having the servicers gather in a room and say what they've been saying for more than a year now is not very appetizing. It's very unfulfilling.

We'll have a better sense of how the servicers are doing next week. That's when treasury plans to release data about how many loans each of them has modified.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.

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Ha! Check this out! Every week we get two or three identical letters and applications that start off with this line: “Your house is your home. We want to keep it that way . . . we are committed to working with you to find a way to help you keep your home.”

WaMu, now Chase has been “working” on our loan modification for the past year and a half now. We have jumped through every hoop they have thrown at us, and they keep throwing more at us. We have proven that our barebones (no cable/satelite, no air conditioning turned on, no frills) lifestyle leaves us around $900 short each month due to unemployment.

There is no question that they have NO intention of honoring any of the agreements with the government or the statements in their own letters to us. This is just a game, so they can take even more from all of us, the taxpayers.

What will make them change?

We submitted documentation and request for assistance under Making Home Affordable Program to Wells Fargo, our home mortgage company. I called Wells numerous times and was told repeatedly that my request was "in progress" and each person I spoke to questioned me about the truthfulness of the expenses I submitted, even though I submitted documentation on these expenses. I felt the Wells representatives were somewhat rude and didn't seem to know what to tell me without putting me on hold and asking someone else for information. I received a response on "Making Home Affordable" letterhead (but from Wells Fargo) stating that we may be eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program and included forms and directions to apply for same. The following day we received a letter from Wells offering a three month temporary hardship period where our house payments would be postponed to allow us to "resolve or improve" our financial situation. I again called Wells and asked about the second letter indicated that we had requested assistance under the Making Home Affordable Program. I was informed repeatably that no lender wouid give us a loan because our expenses were higher than our income, we needed to get our finances resolved and that's what the three month payment suspension period was for. I told her about the letter we received the day before about applying for the Making Home Affordable Program (which she didn't seem to know anything about)and indicated that we weren't interested in the "temporary hardship" period. She said "fine, I'll put it on your file and the offer will show as being removed within 48 hours." I have excellent credit, am not delinquent, but do want to have my mortgage evaluated and adjusted to reflect the value of my home which is about 60% of our mortgage balance. I believe this is the purpose of the Making Home Affordable Program. This is very discouraging and we really feel Wells Fargo is being very uncooperative about the Making Home Affordable Program and we're not sure what to do about that. We will apply again for this program, but we're worried about the outcome. I am 62 years old, work for Delphi (currently leaving bankruptcy), my pension has been reduced by $30k per year because it is now covered under PGTC and we have no medical coverage if I lose my job. We cannot keep up our current mortgage now. We certainly will lose our home if I am no longer employed full time. Isn't this program intended to help people in situations like ours?

Why should the Mortgage Companies change anything that they are doing? Who is protecting the mortgagor? Where is the agencey that will regulate the if banks are doing what they promised prior before receiving tax payer dollars - Looks likes another AIG ( Who is holding banks accountable - suggestion contact some mortgagors that are going through the modification process.......

respectfully yours

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