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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
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
February 17, 2011 | By Ronald D. Orol
Major U.S. banks are about to get penalized for "critical deficiencies" and shortcomings in how they handled foreclosures, a top federal regulator said Thursday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing examining the Dodd-Frank Act six months after its congressional approval. "These deficiencies have resulted in violations of state and local foreclosure laws, regulations or rules," said John Walsh, acting comptroller of the currency. Banking regulators are preparing sanctions and "remedial requirements," he said.
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
December 1, 2009 | By Jim Puzzanghera and E. Scott Reckard
With rising foreclosures still threatening the economy, the Obama administration is trying to pump new life into its much-criticized program to lower payments for homeowners at risk of defaulting on their home loans. Officials unveiled requirements Monday that would step up government scrutiny and threaten fines on banks and other mortgage lenders should they lag in converting temporary mortgage modifications into permanent changes in loan terms and conditions by the end of the year.
BUSINESS
May 6, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK -- Violations of a landmark mortgage settlement alleged by New York's attorney general are also widespread in California, a housing advocacy group says. “Banks aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing to help people stay in their homes,” said Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, a San Francisco-based group that lobbies for low-income Californians.  New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman announced Monday he planned to sue Wells Fargo and Bank of America for "flagrantly" violating terms of last year's $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement.
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
April 29, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON — If you're one of the estimated 11 million homeowners burdened with an underwater mortgage, a new federal policy change could be good news: Starting in June, when you want to do a short sale to shed your mortgage and avoid foreclosure, you may not have to wait for months to hear back from your bank when you submit an offer from a potential purchaser. Instead, if your loan is owned or securitized by either of the dominant conventional mortgage market players — Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — you can expect a response within 30 business days, with a final decision taking no more than 60 days.
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.
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