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Tag Archives: Loan Modification

FTC Charges National Operation with Deceiving Distressed Homeowners

As part of its crackdown on mortgage scams targeting homeowners facing foreclosure, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged a national operation with marketing bogus loan modification services. The complaint alleges that U.S. Mortgage Funding Inc., Debt Remedy Partners Inc., Lower My Debts.com LLC, and their principals mislead consumers to believe they are affiliated with or approved by consumers' lenders. They tell consumers not to contact their lenders and to stop making mortgage payments, claiming that falling behind on payments will demonstrate the consumers' hardship and need for a mortgage modification.

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HomeFree-USA Alleviates Lost Mod Paperwork with HOPE LoanPort

HomeFree-USA recently revealed its success in assisting struggling homeowners by using HOPE LoanPort, a Web-based system to submit home retention applications to mortgage servicers. HomeFree-USA, which oversees a network of 65 housing counseling agencies, endorses the HOPE LoanPort system for eliminating lost paperwork and reducing decision times on loan modification applications.

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Senators and Top Servicers Increase Assistance for Military Members

Senators and banks across the country are joining forces in order to provide mortgage protection for members of the military. After reports that some members of the military and their families are struggling to remain in their homes, senators announced an act to protect servicemembers from abuses. In a similar effort, two of the top servicers have announced plans to help protect members of the military from foreclosure and high credit costs.

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House Votes to Terminate FHA’s Short Refi Program

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to end the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) Short Refi Program aimed at helping homeowners who owe more on the mortgage than their home is worth obtain a new FHA-insured loan with a reduced principal. In a 256 to 171 vote Thursday evening, the House approved the FHA Refinance Program Termination Act, the first of four bills targeting federal foreclosure mitigation programs.

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Lawmakers Demand Answers from Treasury on Proposed Settlement

More backlash from the 27-page proposed servicer settlement developed on Wednesday when representatives from the House Financial Services Committee voiced their disapproval and concern in a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The letter, signed by committee chairman Spencer Bachus and four other members, was obtained by DS News on Thursday. It contains a page of questions the group wants answered, with a great deal of attention focused on principal write-down mandates.

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Foreclosure Sales in January Up, Permanent Mods Down

Data released Thursday from HOPE NOW shows that while permanent loan modifications outpaced foreclosure sales in the month of January, the gap between the two is getting smaller. In January there were around 101,000 permanent loan modifications completed, down from 111,000 in December 2010. Servicers' proprietary modifications outpaced HAMP mods by almost three to one. At the same time, foreclosure sales in January totaled 73,000, up from 58,000 the month before.

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Committee Advances Bills to End Two More Foreclosure Aid Programs

The House Financial Services Committee voted Wednesday to send two bills to the full House that would terminate the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The committee says the bills would prevent $30 billion in taxpayer funds from being spent on ""ineffective"" programs. Already, the House has cleared the way to begin deliberations this week on the two bills advanced by the committee last Thursday to end FHA's Short Refi Program and the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program.

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Proposed Servicer Settlement Met With Resistance

As predicted following the recent settlement proposal from state attorneys general and several federal agencies, servicers are not reacting with enthusiasm to the terms offered. One of the biggest conflicts in coming to an agreement is the proposed punishments servicers will have to face as consequences for their role in last year's robo-signing mess. Though nothing has been confirmed, hefty fines and/or principal reductions are projected to be in development. The reaction from banks and other industry participants has been less than receptive.

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California Officials Issue Warning About Modification Scams

The California State Department of Real Estate (DRE) focused its attention on upfront fees this week as it continued to warn consumers of persons illegally offering loan modification and mortgage relief services. Since 2008, the DRE has pursued more than 4,500 cases that involved loan modification complaints, resulting in 244 ""desist and refrain"" orders to stop illegal operations that name 785 separate respondents. The agency has also made more than 100 referrals to the California State Bar identifying attorneys involved in unlawful loan modification activities.

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BofA to Double Outreach Staff but Fixing Legacy Issues to Take 3 Years

Bank of America said Tuesday that it is stepping up efforts to help distressed homeowners before they fall into foreclosure, with plans to double its borrower outreach staff in 2011, open new regional homeowner assistance centers, and increase collaboration with nonprofit housing counselors. But company officials warned shareholders that same morning that BofA's $1 trillion portfolio of problem assets -- loans that are already delinquent and those risky home lending products that the company has taken off the shelf -- will take three years to work through.

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