Mar 06

Nice that Chase has foreclosure.com Are they trying to tell you something.

#
Chase
Highlights from JPMorgan Chase’s ongoing efforts to improve our economy’s health. … Please contact us if you need assistance with your Chase accounts. …
http://www.foreclosure.com

Feb 19

Obama to tout housing help Friday in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – President Barack Obama is unveiling $1.5 billion in housing help, a boost timed to his appearance in the city with the worst foreclosure crisis in the nation.

Click to enlarge
President Barack Obama salutes during his arrival at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama’s move, detailed by aides in advance of his town hall here Friday, is the latest by a White House determined to show it is helping families rebound from a deep recession. The downturn is taking an election-year toll on Obama’s party as voter frustration builds.

Obama was to announce that housing finance agencies in the five hardest-hit states in the housing crisis will receive $1.5 billion to help spur local solutions to the problem. Those five are Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada.

The policy wrinkle comes during a two-day Western trip with different agendas for the president. He will be back in town-hall mode, a venue that aides say allows him to connect with people and distance himself from the messy process of Washington governing.

The president is also out to help vulnerable senators protect their seats and, in turn, gain as much legislative leverage as he can.

At the town hall and a business speech he will be lending his support to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, a top 2010 election target of Republicans.

Obama’s political involvement comes as the Democrats’ command of the Senate grows shakier, jeopardizing the president’s agenda. The tide of change that Obama rode to office is threatening to slam against his own party.

The first day of the trip was all politics. Obama campaigned Thursday for Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado in Denver, then held a $1 million fundraiser for Democrats in Las Vegas. Reid is one of Obama’s allies, despite a flap over the president’s tendency to refer to Las Vegas as a symbol of imprudent spending, which has the city’s mayor fuming at the president.

For Obama, slowing the foreclosure rate is a key step in the recovery of the overall economy. Millions of people have lost their homes because they couldn’t afford the mortgages anymore, and millions lost jobs because of the associated slowdown in new home building.

Reid’s state leads the nation in home foreclosures; Las Vegas was the metro area with the highest foreclosure rate in January, with one in every 82 homes receiving such a filing.

The money for the new rescue effort will come from the $700 billion financial industry bailout program, according to a senior administration official who spoke anonymously Thursday night because the formal announcement had not been made.

Economic issues, such as unemployment or reduced income, are expected to be the main catalysts for foreclosures this year. Initially, subprime mortgages were mostly the culprit, but homeowners with good credit who took out conventional, fixed-rate loans are the fastest growing group of foreclosures.

Obama will cap his Las Vegas trip with a speech to the city’s Chamber of Commerce before returning to Washington later Friday.

Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Adrian Sainz contributed to this report.

Dec 09

“will not file the documents,” Jamie Dimon,

Take you hands away from your eyes Mr. Dimon.

Mortgage industry executives say homeowners simply are not complying with the program’s requirements, despite their best efforts to reach out. Homeowners “will not file the documents,” Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s CEO, said this week. “We need the documents. We are trying to simplify it.”

There are so many storys of people sending paperwork into Chase and Chase will lose it. Mr. Dimon only blames the home owner and never his company. Chase has lost my paper over 4 times in last year.

Dec 01

Feds step up pressure on mortgage companies

WASHINGTON — Faced with sluggish progress in its foreclosure-prevention effort, the Obama administration will spend the coming weeks cracking down on mortgage companies that aren’t doing enough to help borrowers at risk of losing their homes.

Treasury Department officials said Monday they will step up pressure on the 71 companies participating in the government’s $75 billion effort to stem the foreclosure crisis. They will start this week by sending three-person “SWAT teams” to monitor the eight largest companies’ work and requesting twice-daily reports on their progress.

The mortgage companies, also known as loan servicers, have had a hard time getting borrowers to complete the needed paperwork for the administration’s loan modification program. Nearly 60 percent of the 375,000 borrowers who qualify to have their loan modifications completed by year-end have either submitted incomplete paperwork or none at all.

“Borrowers must understand the urgency of getting their completed paperwork in so they do not miss out on the opportunity for more affordable mortgage payments,” said Phyllis Caldwell, who recently was named to lead the Treasury Department’s homeownership preservation office.

The program, announced by President Barack Obama in February, allows homeowners to have their mortgage interest rate reduced to as low as 2 percent for five years.

The administration is feeling intense pressure from lawmakers and consumer advocates to speed up progress. As of early September, only about 1,700 homeowners had finished all the paperwork and received a new permanent loan. About one-third of borrowers who have submitted complete applications are still waiting for a decision.

Treasury will publish a list next week of the mortgage companies that are lagging. While big lenders like Citigroup and Wells Fargo have made double-digit gains in the percentage of eligible borrowers they have signed up for trial modifications, other companies like Ocwen Financial and American Home Mortgage Servicing have only increased their borrower participation by 6 percentage points or less since July.

Paul Koches, executive vice president of Ocwen, said his company had already saved 90,000 of its roughly 370,000 distressed homeowners from foreclosure before the government program began. As of October, Ocwen had started trial modifications for 11 percent of its borrowers, up from 5 percent in July.

At American Home, spokeswoman Christine Sullivan said the company has a “large, dedicated team” working on the Obama plan, but also noted that the company modified more than 60,000 loans outside the Obama plan over the past year.

Some companies have barely made any inroads. HomEq Servicing, a division of Barclays Capital, only signed up in August. As of October, it had only started 91 trial modifications out of a pool of nearly 41,000 eligible homeowners.

The participating mortgage companies signed contracts earlier this year that give the government the right to withhold incentive payments or end their contracts with Treasury. But mortgage companies don’t receive those payments until they make a modification permanent, so there is little leverage over companies that aren’t performing well. That difficulty, consumer advocates say, highlights the program’s key flaw: Since participation was voluntary, the government has little it can do besides shaming the industry into doing better.

“There’s no meaningful accountability,” said Diane Thompson, counsel at the National Consumer Law Center. “If you just aren’t doing the loan mods, so what?”

And then there’s lender limbo. About one-third of borrowers have submitted complete applications but haven’t received a decision.

“In our judgment, servicers to date have not done a good enough job” of making the modifications permanent, said Michael Barr, an assistant Treasury secretary. Companies, he said, “that don’t meet their obligations under the program are going to suffer consequences.”

Industry executives acknowledge there have been problems.

“The documents were confusing. Borrowers did not understand the process wasn’t closed until the documents came in,” Sanjiv Das, chief executive of Citigroup’s mortgage unit, said earlier this month. “Even when the documents came in, they were not always complete.”

Mortgage finance company Freddie Mac has hired an outside company, Titanium Solutions Inc., to send real estate agents around the country to knock on borrowers’ doors and help them complete the paperwork.

“It can be a little bit intimidating,” said Patrick Carey, Titanium’s chief executive. “They don’t, in many cases, understand exactly what is being asked of them.”

Analysts, meanwhile, say the foreclosure crisis is likely to persist well into next year as rising unemployment pushes more people out of their homes.

About 14 percent of homeowners with mortgages were either behind on payments or in foreclosure at the end of September, a record level for the ninth straight quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Nov 28

Obama’s Administration plans new efforts on foreclosures. Great more money down the toilet.

Search & Win

The Obama administration, battling a foreclosure crisis that shows no signs of relenting, will step up pressure on mortgage companies to do more to help people remain in their homes, officials said Saturday.

The administration will announce its expanded program on Monday, Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said.

“We are taking additional steps to enhance servicer transparency and accountability,” Reilly said. She said the goal was to increase the rate that troubled home loans were converted into new loans with lower monthly payments.

Industry officials said the new effort would include increased pressure on mortgage companies to accelerate loan modifications by highlighting firms that are lagging in that area.

The Treasury is also expected to announce that it will wait until the loan modifications are permanent before paying cash incentives to mortgage companies that lower loan payments.

Under the $75 billion Treasury program, companies that agree to lower payments for troubled borrowers collect $1,000 initially from the government for each loan, followed by $1,000 annually for up to three years.

The government support, which is provided from the $700 billion financial bailout program, is aimed at providing cash incentives for mortgage providers to accept smaller mortgage payments rather than foreclosing on homes.

The program has come under heavy criticism for failing to do enough to attack a tidal wave of foreclosures. Analysts said the foreclosure crisis is likely to persist well into next year as high unemployment pushes more people out of their homes.

Rising foreclosures depress home prices and threaten the sustainability of the fledgling economic recovery.

A report last week from the Mortgage Bankers Association found that 14 percent of homeowners with mortgages were either behind on payments or in foreclosure at the end of September, a record level for the ninth straight quarter.

The Congressional Oversight Panel, a committee that monitors spending under Treasury’s bailout program, concluded in a report last month that foreclosures are now threatening families who took out conventional, fixed-rate mortgages and put down payments of 10 to 20 percent on homes that would have been within their means in a normal market.

Treasury’s program, known as the Home Affordable Modification Program, “is targeted at the housing crisis as it existed six months ago, rather than as it exists right now,” the report said.

Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government affairs for the Financial Services Roundtable, said the industry supported many of the changes Treasury was proposing.

But he said the foreclosure problem, which began with heavy defaults on subprime mortgages, was expanding to more traditional types of mortgages because of unemployment which has now hit a 26-year high of 10.2 percent.

“The subprime problem has regrettably morphed into an unemployment problem,” Talbott said. He said there was no government program to help the unemployed who are in danger of losing their homes but “many private lenders are modifying loans for the unemployed on their own.”

Treasury’s Reilly said the expanded program would, among other steps, make more aid available to struggling borrowers and expand the number of organizations providing help.

___

Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 AP News

Nov 23

Renters hit by foreclosure crisis

A new wave of foreclosures stands to hurt people who may have never taken out a mortgage: renters. In cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where many investors are carrying upside-down mortgages on large rental buildings, some tenants are watching their homes fall apart along with the financing.

Janeia Sandiford, a 24-year-old GED student in New York, has two young children and a deteriorating apartment. When a leak over Sandiford’s bathroom and kitchen caused the ceiling to flake off and then cave in, nobody came to fix it for a year, she said. She lacked heat most of last winter, and she has duct-taped her loose-fitting windows in place to cut down on drafts.

“I’m really worried about the kids,” she said.

The real estate investment company Ocelot Capital Group bought the building where Sandiford lives and about two dozen others in the Bronx in 2006 and 2007. As the new owners struggled to keep up with payments, 10 of the buildings appeared on the city’s list of most dilapidated rental properties in 2007 and 2008. Last winter, as Ocelot defaulted on its loans amid the deepening financial crisis, the buildings plummeted further into decline. Together, they racked up thousands of Code C violations — the most serious kind — from housing inspectors.

Fannie Mae, which had bought much of the debt from the original lender, entered foreclosure proceedings for Sandiford’s building early this spring. The State Supreme Court appointed receivers.

In the meantime, the building has been beset by problems, according to tenants and their advocates, whose accounts were confirmed by the crumbling walls and damaged plumbing apparent on a tour of the property and its neighbor, also owned by Ocelot. Vandals stole the lock on the front door, giving squatters access to vacant apartments to sell drugs. Plumbing in the building was disrupted after the squatters broke through the walls and stole pipes to sell as scrap metal.

Similar conditions could crop up across the country this winter as foreclosures climb for large rental-unit buildings. In Chicago’s Cook County, 328 multifamily rental buildings were in foreclosure by the second quarter of this year, compared with 185 last year, according to a yet-unreleased study by the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University.

In Los Angeles, foreclosures for buildings with five or more units totaled 78 — encompassing 1,344 units — in the first three quarters of 2009, compared with 49 buildings and 432 units over the same period last year, and 13 buildings and 239 units in the same period of 2007, according to the city’s housing department.

The pattern is also showing up in smaller cities. Apartment buildings and complexes are entering foreclosure in Lexington, N.C., and Des Moines, Iowa. In East Palo Alto, an investor bought about 1,800 units, or about half the rental properties in town, failed to pay the loan, and one weekend “tore up all their computers, shut down their offices and left,” said Mayor Ruben Abrica.

A recent study by Richard Parkus, the head of research in commercial mortgage-backed securities at Deutsche Bank, found that loan performance on multifamily buildings is deteriorating at a dramatic pace. Some 65 to 75 percent of multifamily buildings could face problems refinancing at their current rates, he said in an interview. These problems could “sit and fester” for a while, he said, or result in a burst of loan failures.

“We’re at the front end of that wave,” said Raphael Bostic, assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Are we concerned? Absolutely.”

Analysts say international speculators and private equity firms took on mortgage payments larger than their income from rents in such buildings. Some may have hoped they could eject rent-regulated tenants in favor of higher-paying ones.

“It was a sugarplum notion,” said David Jones, president and chief executive of the Community Service Society, an advocacy group for low-income New Yorkers, who calls this “predatory equity.”

Other buyers may have simply been overexuberant in a market that seemed as though it could boom forever.

“There was this pervasive view: ‘We’re all going to the moon, it’s going to be a big party from here on out, somehow this could last,’ ” Parkus said. “Nobody should have lent on these strategies. They’re ridiculous.”

Other factors have intervened as well. A decline in property values has made it difficult for owners to refinance. High unemployment has pushed up vacancies, cutting into landlords’ income.

Yet analysts agree that the potential crisis is different from the one that devastated single-family homeowners.

“It wasn’t as outright reckless or abusive or fraudulent as single-family lending,” said Jack Markowski, president of the Community Investment Corporation in Chicago and the city’s former housing commissioner.

The impact on tenants is uneven. New York City officials say the owners of the vast majority of buildings in foreclosure there are likely to maintain decent standards of living. Yet, of the 200 properties on the city housing agency’s 2008 list of buildings with the worst maintenance problems, at least 77 had been in foreclosure, according to data from PropertyShark.com.

In buildings where a landlord is struggling to make loan payments, maintenance is often the first thing to go. Garbage can pile up, lists of overdue repairs get longer, and vermin multiply.

“I went on vacation to California for a week and a half and put out 20 mouse traps and caught 20 mice,” said Gloria Robinson, 51, the head of the tenants’ association at a Bronx building where tenants say maintenance has declined as the landlord manages an upside-down mortgage.