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Loan Modifications

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BUSINESS
July 24, 2009 | Jim Puzzanghera
Federal programs aimed at modifying loans to stem foreclosures aren't working, witnesses told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, and some lawmakers called on Congress again to pass a bill allowing bankruptcy judges to modify home loans -- a procedure known as mortgage cram-downs. Separately, the Federal Reserve took steps to make lending terms more understandable as part of its efforts to avoid another mortgage meltdown, which triggered the deep recession worldwide.
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BUSINESS
March 17, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
California victims of alleged foreclosure abuses will get $268 million in relief from a $2.1-billion national settlement with Ocwen Financial Corp., the nation's largest non-bank provider of mortgage customer service. Ocwen broke state law by improperly denying loan modifications, failing to honor modifications granted by prior servicers and charging unauthorized fees, according to the California Department of Business Oversight. "Californians should not lose their homes because of deceptive and poorly executed mortgage servicing practices," Commissioner of Business Oversight Jan Lynn Owen said Monday in a news release.
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BUSINESS
December 18, 2010 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Echoing recurring complaints about mortgage lenders, authorities in Arizona and Nevada have filed civil fraud lawsuits accusing Bank of America Corp. of misleading troubled borrowers into expecting loan modifications that never came. The desert states, among the hardest hit by foreclosures, are also part of a 50-state coalition that is negotiating with major banks over a host of foreclosure-related complaints. But while that joint effort began only recently under the leadership of Iowa Atty.
BUSINESS
February 9, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Got problems with the company that services your home mortgage - the one that collects your payments, keeps track of your escrow account and lets you know when you're late? So your monthly numbers don't look right? You got blown off by servicing personnel when you tried to get inaccuracies in your account corrected? Well, move over. You've got lots of grumpy company. As of Jan. 31, just under half of the 187,818 complaints filed with the federal watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerned mortgage foul-ups, and the vast majority of these involved servicing, loan modification and foreclosure activities by servicers.
NEWS
July 29, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Retirees bilked - A former Central California life insurance agent has been sentenced to six years in jail after her conviction on four charges of stealing from an elderly person, the California Department of Insurance said in a news release. Sharon Harrelson, 55, of Clovis was arrested after a two-year investigation by the Department of Insurance and sheriff's deputies in Fresno and Madera counties. Authorities said she defrauded customers of an insurance agency where she worked as an agent, telling them they needed to pay her a service fee that she was not entitled to collect.
BUSINESS
March 27, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
In a push to simplify loan modifications, many borrowers who become 90 days or more past due on mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will be offered lowered payments without having to prove hardship, the federal regulator of the home-finance giants said. The streamlined modification program, to be put into effect in July, would reduce monthly payments by about 30% on average, officials said in announcing the program Wednesday.  Eligible borrowers would receive letters explaining the modification offer and specifying the reduced payment.
OPINION
November 18, 2010 | Doyle McManus
Last year, Noel Sandoval, an accountant in San Mateo, Calif., who is disabled from epilepsy, asked Bank of America to ease the terms of his $369,000 mortgage under a federal program designed to help homeowners in distress. After almost 12 months of back and forth, the bank told him no. Its explanation: The mortgage was owned by an investor who wouldn't permit any modifications. It turned out, though, that the bank wasn't telling the truth ? something Sandoval's legal services lawyer discovered only after she finally obtained a copy of the mortgage servicing agreement.
BUSINESS
October 2, 2009 | E. Scott Reckard
A report from federal regulators contains bits of encouragement for struggling homeowners seeking to have their mortgages modified. In the second quarter, 78% of loan modifications involved actually reducing borrowers' payments, up from 54% in the first quarter, the report says. The shift came as mortgage servicers became less likely to merely add missed payments to the balance of a reworked loan. The joint report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks, and the Office of Thrift Supervision, the federal overseer for savings and loans, surveyed servicers of 64% of all U.S. home loans.
BUSINESS
April 5, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Three California companies offering auto loan modifications were sued by the Federal Trade Commission, which accused them of deceiving consumers with false promises. Hope for Car Owners in Folsom, Kore Services in San Diego and Nafso VLM in Roseville charged clients hundreds of dollars in upfront fees to obtain car loan modifications, according to the FTC. But the firms allegedly did not fulfill their agreements to get the modifications and refused to give full refunds as advertised.
BUSINESS
January 11, 2009 | E. Scott Reckard
Three Columbia University professors recently tackled one of the thorniest problems of the housing debacle: how to increase modifications to soured home loans that have been bundled into mortgage bonds. Troubled mortgages that back securities in the private market, with customer-service outfits collecting payments, are far likelier to go into foreclosure than those in which the lender keeps the loan, the professors say. They propose creating financial incentives for loan servicers to modify loans to make them affordable, along with some changes in laws to remove impediments.
BUSINESS
May 10, 2013 | By Lew Sichelman
Financially strapped homeowners who are close to foreclosure may want to face the music now rather than continuing to struggle with their monthly payments. There's a high probability of losing the house anyway, even with the government's help. According to a new report, people who take advantage of a key federal program to modify their mortgages in an effort to save their homes are defaulting "at an alarming rate. " The report from the special inspector general for the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program doesn't say why an inordinately high percentage of owners who take part in the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, are unable to maintain their loan modifications.
BUSINESS
April 3, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Banks aren't living up to pledges they made in last year's landmark government settlement of mortgage servicing and foreclosure abuses, according to an advocacy group's survey of California housing counselors and lawyers. The California Reinvestment Coalition, which lobbies for low-income Californians, said banks continue to pursue foreclosures against borrowers seeking loan modifications - a practice they had sworn off - and have been ineffective at providing well-informed employees to help troubled borrowers one-on-one.
BUSINESS
March 27, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
In a push to simplify loan modifications, many borrowers who become 90 days or more past due on mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will be offered lowered payments without having to prove hardship, the federal regulator of the home-finance giants said. The streamlined modification program, to be put into effect in July, would reduce monthly payments by about 30% on average, officials said in announcing the program Wednesday.  Eligible borrowers would receive letters explaining the modification offer and specifying the reduced payment.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2012 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Accusing Wells Fargo & Co. of reneging on a sweeping mortgage-modification deal, a lawyer for troubled homeowners is trying to reopen a lawsuit involving risky "pick-a-pay" loans written during the housing bubble. Legal filings last week said Wells had failed to provide wide-ranging reductions of loan balances to delinquent borrowers, as it had promised two years ago, when it settled a combined national class-action suit. A bank spokeswoman disputed the filing, calling it riddled with errors.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2012 | By E. Scott Reckard
Accusing Wells Fargo & Co. of reneging on a sweeping mortgage-modification deal, a lawyer for troubled homeowners is trying to reopen a case involving risky "pick-a-pay" loans written during the housing bubble. Legal filings last week claimed Wells Fargo failed to provide wide-ranging reductions of loan balances to delinquent borrowers as it had promised two years ago when it settled a combined national class-action suit. A bank spokeswoman strongly disputed the claim, saying it was riddled with errors.
BUSINESS
September 5, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo
Since 2007, 5.66 million troubled homeowners have had their mortgages modified and the vast majority of them took place outside the Obama administration's signature foreclosure rescue program, a new report shows. Hope Now -- a Washington group composed of counselors, mortgage companies and investors -- said in its report Wednesday that since 2007 a total of 4.62 million homeowners had received so-called "proprietary" loan modifications -- meaning loans that are not offered through the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program.
BUSINESS
November 11, 2009 | Times Wire Reports
More than 650,000 homeowners have entered into trial loan modifications under President Obama's plan to help the housing market, about one-fifth of those eligible, the Treasury Department said. The Treasury said there were 650,994 active trial modifications through October, or 20% of eligible borrowers, up from 487,081 through September. About 16% were participating through September.
BUSINESS
October 28, 2010 | By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
When Meghan Faux, a lawyer and foreclosure counselor in New York, calls JPMorgan Chase & Co. to help a homeowner modify a mortgage, she expects the runaround from representatives unwilling or unable to answer basic questions about the borrower's case. She's more hopeful calling Wells Fargo & Co., which like Chase is one of the three largest mortgage servicers, along with Bank of America Corp. "There's still a long way to go there," Faux said of Wells Fargo. "But they are at least responsive to our concerns.
BUSINESS
August 8, 2012 | By E. Scott Reckard
Citigroup Inc. is testing a program that would allow distressed homeowners to sign over title to their property and stay on as renters paying less than they did on their mortgages. The effort is similar to a larger ongoing Bank of America pilot offering up to 2,500 customers the option of avoiding foreclosure by trading their mortgages for leases. Citigroup's offer is to be extended to about 500 borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth and who are 120 days or more past due on their home loans.
NEWS
August 5, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Campaign contributions - As November draws closer, campaign-related telephone calls are sure to increase. Some thieves are using the opportunity to scam those with an interest in politics, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent consumer alert. Several people have contacted the BBB to report that they have received suspicious calls from people who said they were raising money for political campaigns. People interested in making donations should visit candidates' official websites, which will include links to safely contribute, the BBB said.
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