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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.
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BUSINESS
February 18, 2010 | By Jim Puzzanghera
The number of mortgages with permanently lowered monthly payments under the Obama administration's foreclosure prevention program increased dramatically in January. In all, the number went up to 116,297, with an additional 76,482 modifications approved and awaiting acceptance by the borrower, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday. Administration officials said that the program, which offers banks and other mortgage servicers cash incentives to reduce monthly payments, has saved homeowners a total of $2.2 billion.
BUSINESS
March 6, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
Up to 3 million homeowners could save about $1,000 a year because of a reduction in fees, announced Tuesday by President Obama ,  on refinancing their government-backed mortgages. In addition, the White House said it was taking new steps to help military members whose homes were improperly foreclosed by large mortgage servicers. Among the steps, the servicers have agreed to conduct a review overseen by the Justice Department of all foreclosures of military members since 2006 to determine if they violated a federal ban on such actions for active duty service members.  Any violations will result in the servicer paying the military member's lost equity, plus interest, plus $116,785.
BUSINESS
April 29, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will begin sending $247 million in payments on Friday to nearly a quarter-million people under a settlement of foreclosure-abuse allegations with regulators, the Federal Reserve said. The two Wall Street giants are the last of 13 mortgage servicers to begin making the payments to borrowers whose homes were in foreclosure proceedings in 2009 and 2010. The servicers, which also included Bank of America Corp. , Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., agreed to pay $3.6 billion to more than 4.2 million borrowers in a settlement reached in January.
BUSINESS
March 7, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
Still searching for a fix for the housing market, the Obama administration is trying to make refinancing more attractive to hundreds of thousands of homeowners by significantly reducing fees on many government-backed mortgages. The changes could lead to a savings of about $1,000 a year on a typical mortgage refinance on top of the reduction in monthly payments from a lower interest rate, President Obama said Tuesday. "That would make refinancing even more attractive to more families," Obama said in announcing the Federal Housing Administration plan during a White House news conference.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
In a push to simplify mortgage modifications, federal regulators announced a streamlined process that doesn't require borrowers to prove a hardship. "This new option gives delinquent borrowers another path to avoid foreclosure," Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said in a statement announcing the modifications Wednesday. The new modifications, however, would not include reducing the loan balance, a move promoted by housing advocates and others but resisted by DeMarco, who says it would end up costing taxpayers money and would encourage defaults.
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 3, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Banks aren't living up to pledges they made as part of a $26-billion settlement of government investigations into mortgage servicing and foreclosure abuses, according to an advocacy group's survey of California housing counselors and lawyers. The survey, the ninth in a series conducted by the California Reinvestment Coalition, also found that providers of mortgage customer service are violating consumer-protection provisions in the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, the package of foreclosure-prevention laws sponsored last year by state Atty.
BUSINESS
November 8, 2009 | By Lew Sichelman
For most of the growing legion of financially stretched families in danger of losing their homes, there is help available -- as long as they don't bury their heads in the sand. According to industry estimates, half of all owners who lose their homes to foreclosure have no contact with the "servicers" that mail out the statements and collect payments. That's a mind-numbing statistic given the government's efforts to keep people in their homes. "Never in history have more resources been devoted" to solving the foreclosure crisis, says Faith Schwartz, executive director of the HOPE Now Alliance, a collaboration of housing counselors and mortgage-industry participants created to reach out to owners who cannot pay their mortgages.
BUSINESS
June 28, 2009 | Lauren Beale
Even with the Obama administration's loan modification and refinancing programs moving forward, the end of the foreclosure glut is not around the corner, a panel of government officials and consumer advocates told attendees of the recent National Assn. of Real Estate Editors conference. Among the factors slowing progress are loan servicers still gearing up for the task, the recession, re-defaults and for-profit foreclosure prevention firms handing out misinformation.
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