The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): What You Need to Know, by Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post


On Monday, the federal government announced that it would revise the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), implementing changes that The Washington Post’s Zachary A. Goldfarb reported would “allow many more struggling borrowers to refinance their mortgages at today’s ultra-low rates, reducing monthly payments for some homeowners and potentially providing a modest boost to the economy.”

The HARP program, which was rolled out in 2009, is designed to help. Those who are “underwater” on their homes and owe more than the homes are worth. So far, The Post reported, it has reached less than one-tenth of the 5 million borrowers it was designed to help. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know about the changes.

What was announced? The enhancements will allow some homeowners who are not currently eligible to refinance to do so under HARP. The changes cut fees for borrowers who want to refinance into short-term mortgages and some other borrowers. They also eliminate a cap that prevented “underwater” borrowers who owe more than 125 percent of what their property is worth from accessing the program.

Am I eligible? To be eligible, you must have a mortgage owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, sold to those agencies on or before May 31, 2009. The current loan-to-value ratio on the mortgage must be greater than 80 percent. Having a mortgage that was previously refinanced under the program disqualifies you from the program. Borrowers cannot not have missed any mortgage payments in the past six months and cannot have had more than one missed payment in the past 12 months.

How do I take advantage of HARP?According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the first step borrowers should take is to see whether their mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If so, borrowers should contact lenders that offer HARP refinances.

When do the changes go into effect?The FHFA is expected to publish final changes in November. According to a fact sheet on the program, the timing will vary by lender.

Treasury Done ‘Very Little’ to Fix Gov’t Foreclosure Prevention Program, Says Watchdog, by Marian Wang, Propublica.org


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Making the argument that the Treasury Department has done “very little” to improve a foreclosure prevention program that has failed to meet its goals, the government’s TARP watchdog testified at a hearing on Wednesday that the case for keeping the program alive has worn thin and is “all but exhausted” .

We’ve documented many of the major weaknesses in the government’s loan modification program—not least of which is its failure to hold banks accountable for withholding permanent loan modifications from struggling homeowners that the program was intended to help.

House Republicans are now considering a bill to end the troubled program. As the Washington Post reports, consumer advocacy groups have argued for fixing the program rather than ending it at a time when so many homeowners still need housing help.

That’s also what the program’s watchdogs have advocated—though they’re now voicing doubts that Treasury will make any meaningful fixes.

“Treasury, it seems, stands alone in defending the status quo,” testified Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the TARP program. Barofsky noted that last month, a Treasury official attended a Mortgage Bankers Association conference to discuss enhancements to the loan modification program and said there would be no “major new programs coming out.”

“We may tweak around the edges,” HousingWire reported the official as saying.

The Treasury Department has continued to defend the program, arguing that while the program has fallen short of its goals, it has still helped modify about 600,000 mortgages. Ending the program, Treasury has argued, would hurt the housing market.

“It would cause a huge amount of damage to a very fragile housing market and leave hundreds and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans without the chance to take advantage of a mortgage modification that would allow them to stay in a home they can afford,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said yesterday.

Geithner may be right about one thing. As our data shows, by the end of last year, the program had given nearly 1.5 million households “a chance” of a mortgage modification through a trial modification. For most, that chance never turned developed into permanent help.

GMAC Halts Evictions Related to Foreclosures in 23 States When News of Forged and Robo-Signed Documents Comes Out, by Mandelman


I’m sorry, but is GMAC… no, wait… Ally Financial… I keep forgetting they’re my “ally” now… run by a 40 Mule Team of morons?  Don’t answer that, it was clearly rhetorical.

Okay, so here’s the story… some attorneys representing homeowners in foreclosure noticed that GAMC was saying things that weren’t true, which is sometimes referred to as “lying,” and then in a deposition it came out that a middle manager at GMAC was actually signing 10,000 foreclosures a month without reading the paperwork like he was supposed to… or, one might consider… like any normal human being would do given they had a job signing 10,000 of anything each month.  I mean… what the… can you even imagine?

Well, here’s your job.  We’ll need you to sit here and sign your name roughly 10,000 times a month.  So, if there are 21.67 work days per month, which there are, according to Amswers.com, then that would mean signing your name about 462 times per day, or 58 per hour, assuming one were to work eight hours a day without breaks of any kind.  That’s one per minute, and it assumes there’s some sort of catheter involved.

No problem you say.  Except how will I be able to read what I’m signing? “Oh, no need for that, silly rabbit,” your boss says… “kicks are for trids.”  What in the world was going on here, pray tell?  Why, it’s time to play “Fraudulent Foreclosure Mill,” of course.  It’s the game where laws don’t matter and all the houses go back to the bank no matter what!  I’m not sure, but it sounds like something that might have been developed by Saddam Hussein, no?  Or, maybe Vikram Pandit and Jamie Dimon, I suppose.

NPR reported: “The company recently halted evictions in dozens of states, after news of the robo-signer came to light.”

Oh come on… I HATE it when people treat me like I’m six.  Is this “news” to GMAC, or any of the other banksters?  That’s what I’m to believe?  Really?  Well I don’t usually say what I’m about to say but this is my blog and I don’t work for anyone but me, so… GMAC… F#@k you.

I worked in corporate America for some 20 years, and quite a few of those years I even worked for banksters, including JPMorgan, and there’s absolutely NO CHANCE whatsoever that this is “news” to anyone there.  I absolutely guarantee you that there are secretaries at GMAC that know about this practice… they’ve been having meetings about it for years.  There are enough CYA memos floating about at GMAC that if you stacked them on top of each other they’d be taller than Shaquille O’Neal standing on Lord Blankcheck’s throat in a pair of 4” stilettos while on the roof of a Yukon, an image that I’d go pay-per-view to see, I don’t know about you.

No, it’s not “news,” although I guess I have to be happy that the lamebrain media has finally caught on that something might be amiss in Foreclosure Land.  And it’s about damn time.  As I recently said to a producer at American Public Television: “Thanks for coming, media people, you’re a little late, but come on in, there’s still plenty of food.”

No, even though NPR, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and just about every news site, publication and blog on the planet reported on the story, it’s not “news,” except that perhaps because it’s us the taxpayers that actually own most of GMAC, it is.  Yep, it’s “us” that are paying that robo-signer to sign his name a gazillion times a month, thus creating fraudulent documents that are then used by lawyers with fewer ethics than pond scum to throw “US” our of our homes illegally.

We, the taxpayers, have given GMAC $17.2 billion in TARP funds, none of which have been repaid, by the way.  And I love the way the media reports that the “Treasury invested” in GMAC.  The U.S. Treasury doesn’t have any money, folks.  That’s U.S. citizen paid or borrowed tax payer money they’re “investing”.  And if we the tax payers are going to invest in companies, why do we have to invest in all the shitty ones?  (I apologize for my language in this article, but it’s just not a good day for me to play nice.)

NPR also reported that:

“The case — which could allow thousands of homeowners to challenge their evictions — has triggered other reports this week of sloppy foreclosure practices.”

Now I happen to like NPR, I’ve been listening to them on the radio for years.  But, “sloppy foreclosure practices?”  “SLOPPY?”  “SLOPPY?”  What the hell, have we all forgotten how to use the English?

Fraudulent, forged, bogus, fake, illegal, spurious, sham, false, phony, suppositious, illicit, unlawful, criminal, immoral, sinful, vicious, evil, iniquitous, peccant, wicked, wrong, vile, in violation of the law… damn it, don’t make me go find my thesaurus.

It reminds me of when that Senator was molesting that 16 year-old boy… the White House page, by at the very least, sending him repulsive, repugnant emails, and Newt Gingrich referred to them as “naughty emails”.  I mean… OH MY GOD!  “Naughty,” Newt?

Even the venerable Financial Times chimed in a couple of days ago saying:

“An official at JPMorganChase said in a deposition earlier this year that she signed off on thousands of foreclosures without verifying the details.”

Wow, really?  Who could have possibly known about that?  Oh wait… ME, among God-only-knows-how-many-others.  Here’s my story on the JPMorganChase robo-signer from LAST JUNE 4th, 2010.  Yepsiree… they call me “Scoop Mandelman,” yes they do… Oh, please.

And the Washington Post had their two cents to add:

“And an employee of a Georgia document processing company falsely claimed to work for dozens of different lenders while signing off on tens of thousands of foreclosure documents over the course of several years.”

Here’s what GMAC… oh, that’s right they’re my “ally,” had to say:

“Ally says that its review of the GMAC Finance issue has ‘revealed no evidence of any factual misstatements or inaccuracies’ in the documents that weren’t properly reviewed. And the company says it has fixed its process for reviewing foreclosure documents.”

Pardon me?  Did you just… I mean, what the… I can’t believe I just heard you say… what the… somebody oughta give you such a…  And what about the other 27 states?  Are they all fine and dandy?  People have lost homes here… God damn it…

Alright… STOP.

Look, there’s more to this story and you can bet your boots that I’m going to write about it all weekend… in great detail.  I’m going to tell you WHY they’re having to forge documents in order to foreclose on homes all over the country.  And you’re going to hate this even more than the forgeries themselves.

(Attorney Max Gardner and attorney April Charney, of Jacksonville Legal Aid, are the country’s leading experts on this and related injustices, and they’ve been gracious enough to give me enough information to write a book covering this topic on a scale of Gone With the Wind, the Next Ten Years.  I’m going to run my next piece by them before I post, but it’ll be up this weekend if it kills me.  Don’t miss it.)

But not right now, because right now I’m going to head down to my local watering hole to toss back a couple of pints.  Then I’m going to ask a friend of mine to back over me with his car to make the pain go away.

Oh, and what follows is GMAC’s “CONFIDENTIAL” memorandum… they labeled it “privileged & confidential,” but anyone want to guess how much I care about that?  Read it and weep… I know I did.

Mandelman out.

Urgent: GMAC Preferred Agents

Privileged & Confidential 9/17/10

Attorney/Client Privilege

Dear GMAC Preferred Agents:

GMAC Mortgage has determined that it may need to take corrective action in connection with some foreclosures in the following states:

Connecticut
Florida
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Nebraska
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Vermont
Wisconsin

As a result of the above, effective immediately and until further notice, please take the following actions only in the states identified above:

Evictions:

Do not proceed with evictions, cash for keys transactions, or lockouts. All files should be placed on hold, regardless of occupant type.

REO Closings:

Do not proceed with REO sale closings. GMAC Mortgage will communicate instructions to the assigned agent regarding the management of the properties in Pending status. If the contract has already been executed by both parties, the Asset Manager will request an

amendment to extend the closing date by 30 days or as otherwise designated by the Asset Manager. Please provide appropriate notice to the REO purchaser that, pursuant to Section

1 of the GMAC Mortgage Addendum to Standard Purchase Contract, GMAC Mortgage is exercising its sole discretion to extend the Expiration Date of the Agreement by 30 days at this time. If the REO purchaser wishes to cancel the contract, GMAC Mortgage will terminate the Agreement and return the earnest money deposit.

You will receive further instructions regarding the status and handling of these assets from your asset manager. There could be asset level exceptions and you will receive direct communication from GMAC on the handling of those exceptions. Please send any questions or concerns regarding these matters to your asset manager.

Please ensure your staff is aware of these requirements immediately.

GMAC Mortgage

GMAC Mortgage LLC 2711 N. Haskell Ave, Suite 900, Dallas, TX 75204

http://mandelman.ml-implode.com/