How right Richard is!
Richard Zombeck Founder, Home Preservation Network at www.hpnhelp.com
GET UPDATES FROM Richard Zombeck Like 36 It's Business As Usual When It Comes to Foreclosure Posted: 05/02/2013 8:25 am Foreclosure Crisis , Foreclosure Crisis , Wells Fargo , Ocwen , Sigtarp , Business News
Five years after the near complete financial meltdown of the economy in this country, resulting in millions of people losing their homes, nothing has really changed. Despite the billions of dollars in settlement fees the banks have shelled out, bad press, and loss of trust, it's pretty much business as usual. Actually, it's more blatant and brazen than ever.
Remember HAMP? What about HAMP 2.0? The mortgage modification programs the administration paraded out as a way to save millions of homeowners from foreclosure? The same program that Tim Geithner, during a congressional hearing, flippantly admitted in 2009 was never meant to help homeowners, but more a way to alleviate the stress of too many foreclosures coming in at once.
"We estimate that they can handle ten million foreclosures, over time... this program will help foam the runway for them," Geithner said during the hearing, according to Neil Barofsky, the former Special Inspector General of TARP (SIGTARP). In his book, Bailout, Barofsky shows how HAMP's faulty design led to a myriad of problems: trapped borrowers, extended trial payments, no-doc modifications, and eventually unnecessary foreclosures. Barofsky opines in the book that Treasury didn't care about the suffering of borrowers under HAMP and that Geithner's goal was to space out the foreclosures and give the banks time to earn their way back to health -- through the other parts of the bailout, that were more profitable.
When HAMP was released in 2009, President Obama made this pretty wild and apparently idealistic claim to a crowd in Arizona:
Here's what this means: If lenders and home buyers work together, and the lender agrees to offer rates that the borrower can afford, then we'll make up part of the gap between what the old payments were and what the new payments will be. Under this plan, lenders who participate will be required to reduce those payments to no more than 31 percent of a borrower's income. And this will enable as many as 3 to 4 million homeowners to modify the terms of their mortgages to avoid foreclosure.
More than four years later, a measly 862,000 homeowners remain in HAMP permanent modifications. As of March 31, 2013, more than 312,000 homeowners have re-defaulted on their HAMP permanent modification, according to a recent report by the office of SIGTARP.
Additionally, SIGTARP is concerned that homeowners are redefaulting on HAMP permanent mortgage modifications at an alarming rate: 46.1% and 39.1% of HAMP modifications from Q3 and Q4 2009 redefaulted, 28.9% to 37.6% from 2010 redefaulted. SIGTARP recommended that Treasury research and analyze the causes of redefaults, develop an early warning system to try and prevent redefaults, and better help homeowners who have redefaulted.
The report then points out that Treasury does not require servicers to report on the reasons for redefault:
Because redefaults are so harmful to all, Treasury should develop a better understanding of why homeowners redefault, and the characteristics of loans that are more likely to redefault. Better knowledge of the characteristics of the loan, the homeowners, the servicer, or the modification, more prone to redefault will increase Treasury's understanding of the underlying problems that cause redefaults and provide Treasury an opportunity to address these issues proactively.
So Treasury puts out a B.S. plan, gives it a catchy name, like Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), admits in a congressional hearing that it was meant to help the banks, and can't figure out why it's failing or why homeowners are now defaulting on the lower payments they were not only offered, but promised.
Maybe. Just maybe it's business as usual.
A neighbor of mine told me last week that her servicer changed from Chase to Ocwen a few months ago. Chase had given her a permanent modification in 2009, which she's been paying faithfully. Last year, Ocwen Financial Corporation took over the loan. Not only did they refuse to honor the modification Chase had granted her, they also raised her monthly payments and are demanding back-payments of the "lost income" resulting from the lowered payments.
The Consumer Affairs website has several stories about other homeowners being granted permanent modifications, now being retracted. Here's another Ocwen story:
We had a loan modification in place with Chase, then they sold it to Ocwen and several months later, the amount went up by $400. We are attempting to be remodified and everything we send to them is not legible or they never get it. They set up appointments and when you hang up, they say everything is fine, we got all the info. Then one week later, you get a letter saying everything is NOT fine, and you have a week to get the info (and in some cases additional info) that you just sent to them via email to them or else you jeopardize the re-modification. HAMP, this is disgraceful. If they are working in cooperation with you, you need to know that people are being given the runaround. Consumer Action Law Group of Panzarella, Gurevich, & Rode, (CALG) in California, a member of the HPN Trusted Attorney Network and dedicated to helping struggling homeowners, recently contacted me with a case that accurately depicts the egregious display of hubris and blatant homeowner abuse by banks.
According to Lauren Rode, a partner at the firm, Rosa Carrillo, of Bakersfield, Calif., entered into repayment plan with JP Morgan Chase in December 2008. She made payments to Chase since then, totaling nearly $20,000. Chase -- and this is important -- accepted all of the payments. In fact, Carrillo would periodically contact Chase to see if she qualified for a modification and was told repeatedly, by a bank representative, that her case was under review.
In May 2011, according to Rode, Carrillo was applying for another loan modification through Chase, specifically a Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative Modification. As far as she knew everything was going well with the loan modification. In typical servicer style, Chase repeatedly asked for documents and Carrillo was honoring their requests.
This past February, while Carrillo was seemingly in review for a permanent loan modification, she received a notice from Coldwell Banker, which stated that Chase, "on behalf of the owner," was giving Carrillo "options" with respect to the property. Carrillo could either move or rent the property. Despite numerous phone calls -- sometimes several a day, Carrillo could not get a response from Chase about this supposed "owner." Then, in April 2013, Caldwell Banker, on behalf of Chase, arbitrarily changed the locks to the house without going through the proper legal proceedings for eviction.
Here's the good part: As it happens, the house had been sold by Wells Fargo in September 2008 -- ironically, several months before Carrillo entered into the repayment agreement with Chase.
Got that? Chase continued to take money from Carrillo for five years and even put her through the painful and frustrating process of a loan modification, when the property had already been sold by another bank, and in the meantime, Carrillo's clothes, furniture, and personal belongings remain locked in the house. What happened to the $20,000 is anybody's guess.
In a statement via email, Lauren Rode, now representing Carrillo wrote:
This is obviously a tremendous mistake, whether intentional or not, on behalf of one of the largest banking institutions in our country. The mistake has been realized given Chase's display of eagerness in ridding the property of current residents to get it on the market and into the hands of a bona fide third party purchaser. Chase's actions -- selling a property in 2008 and not realizing it until 2013; processing close to $20,000 of payments and applying them to a loan that had already been wiped out in a foreclosure sale; and illegally changing locks without the proper eviction proceedings have been outlined in a complaint filed in state court and will be strongly litigated according to the letter of the law to make Rosa Carrillo whole. And what about the massive $26 billion, forty-nine state settlement the five mega banks entered into? The one they pinky swore that they wouldn't engage in anymore robo-signing?
From the settlement website:
The agreement settles state and federal investigations finding that the country's five largest mortgage servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct. Both of these practices violate the law.
Turns out robo-signing is alive and well too. The Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending (MAAPL) will be releasing a report in the coming weeks that will show, as most of us suspect, that the banks are still engaging in widespread illegal activity. MAAPL's previous January report shows that all the affidavits filed since the February 2012 settlement agreement are in clear violation of that agreement. You can read the full report here.
It's not much of a reach to suspect that the big banks are acting illegally, but now there's the research to prove that it's common practice and has spread through essentially all foreclosures, at least in Massachusetts. That being said, it's not much of a reach to assume that Massachusetts is not unique.
Grace Ross, a coordinator at MAAPL said:
Not only do I think that people fear that the banks are acting illegally, I also fear that our elected enforcement leaders like District Attorneys, state Attorneys General and the national oversight agencies and courts are going to just let this continue. Well, our report and our taking it to all these elected officials will give them a chance to do the right thing - let's see what they do!
So, it's pretty much business as usual. Screw the law, screw the agreements, screw the homeowners. Regardless of penalties, payouts, agreements or actual laws, banks will continue to steamroll homeowners and the courts.
All of this just confirms what was already suspected about the foreclosure settlement. This entire show was orchestrated in an effort to contain the liability of the Too Big to Fail banks. To hell with prosecuting them, give them a slap on the wrist and let them get back to the important work they need to do.
Follow Richard Zombeck on Twitter: www.twitter.com/zombeck
Oh yes.....it's that time of year again when we can take a moment to reflect. For entrepreneurs particularly, it comes down the the end of our fiscal year. As we sit by the tree tallying up all of our receipts for gas mileage, hotel rentals and other expenses, we begin to look at our progress throughout the past year and think; "Was this a good idea?" Was that trip to this conference effective?" "Was my meeting in LA productive?" And the list goes on.
Even deeper than reflecting on the entrepreneurial baggage, when the ball in Times Square and around the world drops to bring us into 2013, we affirm so many positive resolutions that we intend to carry. New principles and relationships that we create based on our reflections from the previous year, which ended the day before. So full of joy as we toast with the bubbly that this New Year will be our year. We assert the promises of building a bigger and better business with our new resolutions with the hope that we will keep our promise. But with every new year on January 1, three weeks later tends to start to sound stale. As if the first 90 days into the beginning of the year will dictate the rest of year. We stop talking about the new year and move into business survival mode.
We are just a few days away from embarking on a new year. For many entrepreneurs, every year brings new promise and new hopes for growth in business. I asked a few entrepreneurs to share the lessons they learned in 2012 and what they want other entrepreneurs to take from the experiences, good & bad, of 2012 and how to make progress in 2013.
1. Confidence Is Crucial!I transitioned from employee to entrepreneur this year. As an employee I was used to getting accolades and recognition - it's a confidence boost. Stepping out into the ocean of solopreneurs and entrepreneurs, you need the confidence to come from within. The lesson for me and others is to accept validation from others, but not be driven by it. There are times when you will have to champion your ideas, your business, your brand whether other people get it or not.
Thanks to Tai Goodwin of Launch While Working
2. Release, Declare And DecreeAs a christian visionary leader, empowerment speaker, and a multi-tasking mompreneur to 7 children. I've learned many things in 2012. Everyday has been a unique learning experience. I woud like to share something learned that will take you beyond measures in your life and as an entrepreneur. It is human nature to tolerated things and people, but if you want to grow, you have to release your divine decree for your life. You have to set a decree like you set a goal.
Thanks to Pamela Almond Hope of Empowerment For Success Personal Development and Business Services
3. Keep PushinI learned that just because God told you to do it, doesn't mean things are going to work out neatly and in order. If you read up on successful people they have mostly all went through a trial and tribulations. I learned to keep on pushin no matter how hard it got. Its Not over until you WIN!!!
Thanks to Terri Clay of Terri L Clay Enterprises
4. Don't Reveal All Your Entrepreneurial Secrets!You always learn new things even if you are a seasoned entrepreneur. I recently hired an intern to help me with my social media marketing. I provided her with tips on getting clients, ways to work efficiently and other business "secrets". Well, before I knew it she started her own business as competition to mine, and then wanted to charge me 3 times more for the same services. I learned a valuable lesson -- do not give away all your secrets when you hire someone -- they may become a competitor!
Thanks to Diane Castro of Young at Heart Communications, LLC
5. Taking Care Of Business = Taking Care Of METhis was a year rife with lots of UPs and DOWNs - primarily due to health challenges. I found that the more active and "successful" I became in the business - and the more I put aside my fitness goals, quiet reflection time, or time with family and friends because of it, the more likely I was to have a DOWN period afterwards. I'd get sick, injure my back, or not properly recover from a simple cold. In 2013 I'd encourage everyone to take time to take care of themselves FIRST, no matter what!
Thanks to Karen Clark of My Business Presence
6. Actions First...Feelings Follow!Actions First…Feelings Follow! If you feel that you aren’t where you want to be today, take action. Tomorrow will be no different from today if you do the same things you’ve always done. That old classic definition of insanity comes to mind here: doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results. Change happens TO you, transformation happens WITHIN. You may not feel like trying something different, do it anyway…your feelings will follow.
Thanks to Kelley Moore of See Your Possibilities
7. The Proper Way To NetworkOften times we all go out & exchange business cards or set up a website, then sit back & wonder why we do not have more business. The one thing that has been retaught to me in 2012 is the wonder of proper networking & the exchange of business referrals. Looking back in October I helped others do over a total of $350,000 of business conducted with none of this being with our company. So why do it? Have since been in various magazines for free which in turn will be an even bigger payoff in 2013!
Thanks to Tonie Boaman of Dash Notary, LLC
8. Anything You Create,you Must Be Willing To Tolerate.I've learned that quality is far more better than quanity. I have alwsys felt that
If you had more people supporting you then the more you would
have. I have now come to realize that I didn't need Devine connections only Covenant connections. There is.such a big difference. Devine Connections limits you from developing a relationship with others,but Covenant connections gives you friends and confidants for life.
Thanks to Phyllis Smart of Next level living
9. Merry-Go-Round No More... There comes a time in everyone's life when you decide its time to change EVERYTHING.
Nothing makes this more relevant that the dizzying ride of the same thing over and over. Stagnation is smothering.
This years end has allowed me a significant opportunity to embrace a change, a strategic model / formula for my success. I have leaped off the merry-go-round and plunged into a journey of reinvention and investment in myself...and My dream...EnVoi will prevail!
2013 is the year of getting paid!
Thanks to Dianne C Lemon of EnVoi Boutique
10. Implement NOW, Perfect LATERWhat I learned in 2013 was that to keep moving your feet NO MATTER WHAT! Don't let anything or lack of anything hold you back. EVERYTHING you need to be successful will be delivered to you if you just follow your faith and NOT your fear. I was able to get over my need to be a perfectionists in favor of execution. Not that I was never afraid, but that I made sure I kept my fear in check, followed my heart and chased my dreams. If I had to do it over I wouldn't do a thing differently. Now GO!
Thanks to Dawniel Patterson Winningham of Dawniel Patterson Winningham INTL
11. Your Community Reflects Who You Are, Choose WiselyThis year has been an incredibly busy year - writing my new book The Right T-Shirt and creating new online products but I would have never done it without the support of a great business community. So my tip for 2013 is to find yourself a supportive community who will back you all the way with whatever you want to achieve in 2013. People who not only think like you but also are willing to share information that is for the mutual good of all the community. We can't do this alone so don't!
Thanks to Jessica McGregor Johnson of jessicamcgregorjohnson.com
12. You Can't Want It More Than Your Client!I'm so passionate about supporting entrepreneurs in shining their light brighter than sometimes I want their success more than they do. It's a hard lesson - to see people's brilliance, obscured by 'paper dragon' obstacles and have to stand by while they try to figure out that they are focusing on their shadow instead of their light - the one that's CAUSING the shadow! My role is to hold the light so they can see their own... I am honored to do so. May they each do so in right timing. :+)
Thanks to Lynn Scheurell of Creative Catalyst
13. Simplify & Focus!We're all hit with 1001 different ways to market your business, be the next big name, etc. What I've seen more than anything is that with all these wonderful options, we get paralyzed and end up trying to do 100 things a little bit instead of being fully committed to just a small handful of great projects.
By spending your time and energy on being GREAT at one or two things, instead of "ok" on 50 we can really see massive forward movement in our businesses.
Simplification is the new cool!
Thanks to Ely Delaney of Your Marketing University
14. Letting Go Of Keeping Up!What I learned best in 2012 was the importance of what I call "Stopping the World" - early in the year - I had a huge personal crisis with my son that took a ton out of me energetically and emotionally and as the "Golden Goose" in my business who was down on my knees I needed to just stop everything for a while and regroup. Taking a two month retreat to the mountains & lake was just the Medicine that I needed to rejuvenate and come back into my world renewed. Self care is now my top prior
Thanks to Amethyst Wyldfyre of The Empowered Messenger
And Carol Sankar with The Millionaire Mindset Entrepreneurship Program™ for letting me repost this great information so all of us could glean this information!
As you guys know I try to help promote a few businesses a week to help you in your businesses ~ Today is about Patty Farmer with www.bizlinkglobal.com She is doing a special that is truly out of this world and if you take your business seriously please consider doing this package through her. A few of the details are in the photo! Call her or email email@example.com
I do not know about you but I am VERY excited to be attending the National Notary Conference in 2013. Think of the networking and knowledge we get to glean off others at the conference. Are you like me where if you attend a conference you make lifelong friendships? If so, please make sure to find me while your attending!
Here are the details:
Registration to our annual conference in Austin, TX is now open! Register today and save $100 off the regular registration prices. http://www.nationalnotary.org/conference/registration.html
The National Notary Association will hold its 35th Annual Conference June 2-5 at the Marriott Renaissance Austin Hotel. Austin promises to be an exciting destination for attendees with panels, workshops, and exclusive industry speakers.
As the official "Live Music Capital of the World" Austin promises a multitude of activities, restaurants, and nearby live events. For ideas on what to do in Austin, other than NNA 2013 of course, visit our Pinterest board here: http://bit.ly/WhatToDoInAustin
Save the date for the 'Notary Event of the Year' and plan to join us in Austin, TX!
Tonie Boaman always finds others interesting! Please join me in learning about their businesses & personal lives.
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