To whom it may concern: Actually the question is, whom does it concern?
The current events in regards to the mishandling of documents by major lenders Chase and GMAC are just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of homeowners who have already lost their homes because of this problem as well as many, many more problems in the processing of the government Program, HAMP.
The present Administration ran an election marketing campaign that will go down in the history books; it was multi-faceted, a media darling, and a social media frenzy. If a similar effort that took place during the election campaign was used to further develop this housing Program, I believe we could begin to see results. The Administration must create a training platform that engages anyone and everyone involved in the Loan Modification process to ensure that the guidelines are followed and communicated correctly from the servicers all the way to the Hope counselors. The American public is losing countless homes due to non-compliance in procedures and incorrect answers being given to homeowners, causing them to either give up or lose their homes.
Maybe now is the right time for the Treasury Department has said they will "look into these troubling developments" they can stop turning a blind eye to those "troubling developments" and the non-compliance of the HAMP Home Affordable Modification Program.
I wonder what the point is of testifying in front of the Senate Housing Commission and putting together lengthy reports and compiling data on the inconsistencies of the Program, etc., etc., etc., if no one really cares, and no one really does anything about it. If it continues and no one is held accountable, nothing will happen when they do not follow the rules and guidelines of the Program. When mistakes are made it is not about a misapplied payment that you can fix; the mistakes are huge. We are talking about the loss of the American dream for someone and, from what I have seen first hand, no one really cares.
Here is an example. I have been working on an advocacy case for the past 3 1/2 months that is truly an instance of The Fleecing of America. During the course my case, I contacted every government agency I could think of. Most emails were deleted prior to reading, and the ones that were read were not replied to. When complaints were made, the response was there was nothing they could do, and the committees said they only do reporting. I was told the Compliance Agent for the Program need not comply with the guidelines, and in calling the major national service, one of Americas' Largest Banks, we were hung up on. The Congresswoman would not talk to me unless I was a HUD counselor, the woman at the government-backed investor's office said she would help, then left on vacation and never called back again. Sigtarp said they don't get involved. All I really got was an experience of finger pointing and passing the buck, which led me to the question angrily at that point: Who then does it concern?
Paperwork is shuffled within the lenders infrastructure, misinformation is given out on a consistent basis, countless mistakes are made, incorrect income is used all the time and borrowers are railroaded into accepting modifications whether they are calculated correctly or not for fear of losing their homes even if they ask to be re-reviewed. Borrowers are blamed for missing paperwork but the servicers and lenders have no accountability and do not accept any responsibility for their own actions when they make mistakes, and the answer simply is that the entire onus is on the consumer. Go in and read one of those thick lender/servicer testimonies; the blame is on the borrower.
Wouldn't now be a good time to look into the compliance issues with this Program?
If government officials, bank executives and investors could go into the trenches and really listen to their constituents and customers, it would be clear as day that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, and addressed soon. Maybe if servicer employees were thoroughly trained on the HAMP guidelines they could give borrowers the correct information. Maybe then, one less American homeowner would lose his home because of being given incorrect information or because of an internal mistake. Once the mistake happens there is nowhere to turn, no one to complain to, and the situation then calls for drastic measures. People must think for themselves and question authority because if they don't, it they could cost them their homes. It is imperative that people get empowered with all the information necessary.
The American public receives notices such as "denied for NPV" that homeowners have no clue about what that means. If they request the NPV values and property values, they then find out that their servicers' do not want to disclose the information, refuse to disclose it, or never send it as required by the Treasury's HAMP guidelines, etc.
People are still being told that they can only get help if they are currently 60 days late and others have lost their home because of the very Program that was supposed to help them. Many homeowners actually qualified for the Program, but mistakes are made. But then again, who really cares? Nothing will happen to them anyway. There is no accountability for non-compliance.
We are talking about people losing their homes, not little mistakes that are not as detrimental to all of us. When you really listen to the stories like I do, you see that the red tape is strangling homeowners. I think the quality of their job performance is suffering, relationships are in jeopardy and their health is affected, all because the stress and worry they suffer eventually gets the best of them.
Again, if lenders and government officials saw what homeowners had to go through to obtain a modification, it would readily become apparent that applying for a modification and making sure it is being processed correctly is a full time job in itself. You need to make sure that the fax that you have to send 17 times arrived along with all 50 pages with the loan number written on each page, and that you just paid Kinko's money you don't have 17 times to fax the same information. On top of this, the homeowner either has to be looking for work or working a full time job for less pay, all the while trying to juggle this paperwork nightmare. Otherwise, they cannot pay the modified payment.
Then sometimes when the homeowner, after 10 attempts to save their home, finally does get either a trial modification that goes on for 10 months only to be followed by a denial, or a permanent modification that is suddenly lost, guess what? The lender now does not want to honor it. It is really no wonder that homeowners are so frustrated that they give up or they must start the process all over again. Maybe the Surgeon General should require a warning label.
I just wonder what incentives the servicers and lenders really have behind the scenes, what back room deals are happening that we don't know about, and why it is that they would much prefer to kick a homeowner out of the house and sell at a loss at a foreclosure sale instead of working out a loan modification for their customer that simply wants an affordable payment - even when it is more profitable to help them. It is not because homeowners are deadbeats, but because of a broad spectrum of circumstances the current economy has caused. Things that make you go hmmmmm.
In light of the latest news of the mishandling of foreclosures, American homeowners need to take their power back by making sure they regain their confidence, know the Program guidelines themselves, know their numbers inside and out so they can push back when the information and answers given to them are incorrect. Verify everything more than once. You must be your own best advocate, question authority, or it could cost you your home.
So now that we are talking about the mishandling of foreclosures, I think it would also be a great time to "look into these troubling events" too!
Follow Anna Cuevas on Twitter: www.twitter.com/annacuevas