Makin' Money

Mortgage Mods: tales of cutting through the red tape

Stephen Hoffman Jan 28, 2011

People write to us all the time with questions asking for help, but a note from San Diego resident Karin Andreen (pictured above) was a little different:

My husband and I have been trying to get a loan modification through Bank of America for the past year. We are in a precarious situation: we put down 20% on a condominium conversion that was never finished and the value of it has dropped by 50%.

There’s a lot of people that think we shouldn’t help people who could possibly loose their home, the feeling is that if they couldn’t afford the home in the first place, they shouldn’t have bought one … but what do you tell people that did everything the right way?

The Andreen’s story illustrates just how complicated the question is, they didn’t try and game the system. They were careful. And despite the advice that they just give up and walk away – they continue to wade through impossible phone trees and corporate bureaucracy to make right.

The interview showed how tough it can be to maneuver through a mortgage modification program, but it also reminded me of an interview we did with Wajahat Ali, a newly minted lawyer who learned first hand how tough it was to wade through a bank’s sea of red tape

The upshot of all this? Possibly because we contacted Bank of America for a comment, the bank has since contacted the Andreen’s and said they would enter the homeowners into their “Second Look” program. The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about that program here

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