In these cases, where federal or proprietary home loan modifications are unavailable or unhelpful, unemployed homeowners may be able to participate in foreclosure alternatives programs which allow homeowners to surrender or sell their home and essentially be forgiven of their remaining mortgage debt. Short sale options, which have typically been used by homeowners in an underwater mortgage situation, and deed in lieu of foreclosure plans may be available to homeowners who have shown a previous ability to make the mortgage payment but, due to factors like unemployment, are simply unable to continue making home loan payments.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its Third Quarter 2010 Foreclosure Prevention Refinance Report on the status of loan modifications at both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Loan modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) reportedly increased 16 percent in the quarter, although the overall volume of loan modifications and the pace of HAMP modifications declined from previous periods.
The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was started in 2009 by the Obama Administration to bring forth a program to bring back financial stability to homeowners all over the country. The program addresses the major housing hardships that have been hurting our country, but like with sponsored programs, it has its flaws. HAMP was supposed to be designed to help lower homeowner’s payments by lowering their interest rate, changing the loan’s terms, and/or extending the length of the loan. However, now a year and a half into the program, we have observed failure much beyond what many expected.
Short Sale Program
Obviously, homeowners may still have to work with their mortgage servicer in some cases, but there or certain programs which offer grant-like assistance options to homeowners, borrowing opportunities for loans at 0% interest which may be forgiven, or even foreclosure alternative programs for homeowners who are simply in a situation where these assistants plans may not be beneficial. While homeowners may still contact their mortgage servicer to inquire about assistance, state housing agencies also have information regarding these state-specific programs which could be beneficial to homeowners in areas that are facing a greater than average number of home loan hardships.
Who says that just because you’re dead you can’t keep on working? In what is certainly the most blatant case of robo-signing I’ve seen to date, one company had a woman signing hundreds of documents- for thirteen years after her death. [Hat tip Freedoms Phoenix.]
How, may you ask, can a woman who has been dead since 1995 sign documents more than a decade later? Normally, one would hazard to guess that stamps with her signature on them were still in use (this is more common than you would think in foreclosure land). That would be plenty troubling.
But this little account comes from the debt collection realm, a cesspool of bad practices. Here, the credit card company Providian (acquired by WaMu in 2005) had employees signing affidavits in the name of Martha Kunkle for over a decade. Debt collection agencies continued to use these bogus affidavits.
According to the Wall St. Journal:
Questions about Martha Kunkle first popped up in 2008 after her name appeared in thousands of affidavits generated by a unit of Providian National Corp. The credit-card issuer sold an undisclosed number of delinquent account balances to Portfolio Recovery Associates and other debt collectors, which then sued the borrowers to collect the debt…..
Concerns about Ms. Kunkle’s affidavits were raised in 2008 by lawyers for Jeanie Cole, one of thousands of Montana residents sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates to collect debts. After failing to locate Ms. Kunkle, lawyers for Ms. Cole interviewed her daughter, who worked at Providian in a document-processing division.
The daughter testified in a deposition that other Providian employees used the name Martha Kunkle when signing affidavits. Along with other employees, the daughter was responsible for signing affidavits. After countersuing Portfolio Recovery Associates for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Ms. Cole was the lead plaintiff in a 2008 federal-court suit in Montana alleging the company targeted 16,000 borrowers using “false and misleading” affidavits.
These dodgy documents were for debt collections, not foreclosures. However, this does show how sloppy and overly automated the lending industry has become.
Some judges say robo-signing, in which affidavits are signed without fully reviewing underlying documentation, is more common in debt-collection cases than foreclosures. In July, the Federal Trade Commission recommended that state regulators require the disclosure of “more information” by debt collectors and buyers, concluding that they might be relying on erroneous or incomplete paperwork when suing to recover money.
“I’ve watched and wanted to tell defendants in these suits to demand proof of the underlying debt because that proof is so often flimsy,” said Jeffrey Lipman, a magistrate judge in Polk County, Iowa, which includes Des Moines, the state’s capital. Court rules give him little leeway to instruct borrowers in court.