Central Valley Foreclosures: Few Homeowners Taking Advantage Of Reviews

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CENTRAL VALLEY FORECLOSURE
AP
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MODESTO -- Nearly 50,000 Northern San Joaquin Valley homeowners potentially may be owed compensation for financial losses they incurred because of errors made during foreclosure proceedings in 2009 and 2010.

To determine what -- if anything -- should be done for them, independent foreclosure reviews are being offered.

Homeowners must request those free reviews by Dec. 31, however, and relatively few have done so.

In Stanislaus County, for example, only 940 of the 17,419 people with eligible mortgages have asked for reviews, according to the latest counts provided by the Federal Reserve.

That's just 5.4 percent of the Stanislaus borrowers who might be due restitution. The review request rates are just as low in Merced and San Joaquin counties, and California overall.

The reviews are part of a massive enforcement action taken by federal bank regulators against companies that handled home loans and pursued foreclosures during those two years. Homeowners could start applying for the reviews last year.

Nationwide, about 4.3 million borrowers are eligible for reviews, but only 329,000 have applied. In California, 769,593 are eligible, but only 42,402 have filed.

The comprehensive reviews are supposed to determine which borrowers were financially injured due to errors, misrepresentations, or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process.

That could include homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure, as well as those who brought their mortgage payments up-to-date, or were put on payment plans or loan-modification programs.

It also could include homeowners who avoided foreclosure by selling their homes or accepting a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

Homeowners who were wrongly financially injured may receive lump-sum payments of $500 to $125,000, have their foreclosures suspended or rescinded, get loan modifications or other assistance, and have their credit reports corrected.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at jnsbranti@modbee.com or (209) 578-2196.

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AT A GLANCE

Here are some examples of why homeowners might be due compensation:

--The mortgage balance amount at the time of the foreclosure action was more than what was actually owed.

--Everything a mortgage modification agreement required was done, but the foreclosure sale still happened.

--The foreclosure action occurred while homeowners were protected by bankruptcy.

--Homeowners requested assistance or a loan modification, submitted complete documents on time, and were waiting for a decision when the foreclosure sale occurred.

--Fees charged or mortgage payments were inaccurately calculated, processed, or applied.

Only mortgages for owner-occupied homes are eligible for review.

Homeowners are eligible for reviews if they were involved in foreclosure proceedings during 2009 and 2010 with these mortgage servicing companies:

America's Servicing Co.

Aurora Loan Services

BAC Home Loans Servicing

Bank of America

Beneficial

Chase

Citibank

CitiFinancial

CitiMortgage

Countrywide

EMC

EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Co.

Financial Freedom

GMAC Mortgage

HFC

HSBC

IndyMac Mortgage Services

MetLife Bank

National City Mortgage

PNC Mortgage

Sovereign Bank

SunTrust Mortgage

U.S. Bank

Wachovia Mortgage

Washington Mutual

Wells Fargo Bank

Wilshire Credit Corp.

Applying for an independent review is free and can be done online at: www.IndependentForeclosureReview.com. For more information, call (888) 952-9105. ___

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