Fannie Mae Will Directly Resolve Short Sale Issues

March 14, 2013

shortsale1

Fannie Mae recently introduced an expanded HomePath for Short Sales tool to resolve short sale challenges. The tool, a new short sale escalation process, is open to any real estate professional working on a short sale involving a Fannie Mae-owned loan. Once a case is escalated, Fannie Mae will directly engage with the agent or servicer to address challenges such as when you are ready to list a property and need a recommended list price; you want to contest a value Fannie Mae has assigned to a listed property; you haven’t heard back from the servicer; and/or you have an issue with an offer currently under negotiation.

Contacting Fannie Mae about an Active Short Sale

A Job Aid for Real Estate Professionals

If you are a real estate professional seeking assistance with an active short sale, you have the option of escalating certain issues directly to Fannie Mae to get the answers you need.

When should you contact Fannie Mae about a short sale?

  • I’m ready to list a property and need a recommended list price.
  • I want to contest a value Fannie Mae has assigned to a listed property.
  • I submitted an offer to the servicer more than 20 days ago and have not received acknowledgement of it.
  • My request for a valuation has been pending with the servicer for more than 30 days.
  • I have not received an acceptance, rejection or counter to an offer I submitted more than 60 days ago.
  • I have an issue with an offer.
  • I have a question about a Fannie Mae policy related to short sales.

To contact Fannie Mae about a short sale:

  1. Determine if Fannie Mae owns the loan using our Loan Lookup tool.
  2. Read about what information you’ll need to provide on the checklist below.
  3. Ask your client to complete Fannie Mae’s Borrower Authorization Form.
  4. Submit your short sale issue directly at http://www.homepathforshortsales.com/hpshortsaleinquiry.html

Important Info

Know What You Need Ahead of Time
Required Information

Before you contact Fannie Mae about a short sale, make sure you have all of the information you need. The information you need depends on the request you are making. Some information is required for Fannie Mae’s dedicated short sale team to be able to help you.

After verifying Fannie Mae owns the loan, Fannie Mae will need your contact information (listing agent name, agency name, phone number, and email), the Fannie Mae and/or servicer loan number, and a completed Fannie Mae Borrower Authorization Form, which you will need to upload when you begin the process.

In addition to this information, here’s what Fannie Mae will ask you for when you inquire about an active short sale. *Note that the information marked with an asterisk is required*

Publication1


Bank of America Short Sales and Bankruptcy: What Agents Need to Know

December 24, 2012

home_vs_lender_on_judicial_scale

Bank of America can review a short sale offer while the loan is in an active bankruptcy. To complete a short sale and issue the approval letter, the bankruptcy documents must be filed and approved by the court. Any final agreement will require Bankruptcy court approval.

Homeowner(s) should consult with their Bankruptcy Counsel about how these programs could affect their mortgage and their bankruptcy case.

When a loan is in bankruptcy, there is an Automatic Stay, also known as a “hold,” of any collection activity placed on any and/or all debts to which the debtor is a party. Before the short sale specialist can discuss the short sale, Bank of America must have written authorization from the Homeowner(s’) Bankruptcy attorney on the law firm’s letterhead to discuss loss mitigation options with the borrower. This is in addition to the Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form needed from the borrower to speak to the bankruptcy attorney and the listing agent.

If Homeowner(s) is/are currently in a bankruptcy proceeding, or have previously obtained a discharge of this debt under applicable bankruptcy law, all communication and notices are for information purposes only and is not an attempt to collect the debt, a demand for payment, or an attempt to impose personal liability for that debt. The Homeowner(s) is/are not obligated to discuss their home loan with Bank of America or enter into a short sale agreement or other loan-assistance program. Customers should consult with their bankruptcy attorney or other adviser about their legal rights and options.

For a short sale to be processed to completion for a loan in bankruptcy, Bank of America must receive one of the following releases issued by the bankruptcy court:

  • Granted Motion to Sell*
  • Granted Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay with noted short sale negotiation*
  • Dismissal
  • Discharge with Abandonment, Closing Order, Final Decree, Trustee No Asset Review

*A granted Motion differs from a requested Motion.

Note: If Homeowner(s) receive(s) a discharge under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding: discharge releases the Homeowner(s) from personal liability for certain specified types of debts. The Homeowner(s) is/are no longer legally required to pay any debts that are discharged. The discharge is a permanent order prohibiting the creditors of the Homeowner(s) from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts, including legal action and communications with the Homeowner(s), such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts.

Although a Homeowner is not personally liable for discharged debts, a valid lien (i.e., a charge upon specific property to secure payment of a debt) that has not been avoided (i.e., made unenforceable) in the bankruptcy case will remain after the bankruptcy case. Therefore, a secured creditor may enforce the lien to recover the property secured by the lien.

Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions:

What additional documents will be needed to complete this short sale?

Bank of America must have written authorization from the Homeowner’s bankruptcy attorney (on the law firm’s letterhead) to discuss loss mitigation options with the Homeowner. The customer and the attorney may determine that they do not want to give this authorization and the short sale can be negotiated through the attorney. This attorney authorization permitting Bank of America to speak to the Homeowner(s) is in addition to the Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form needed from the Homeowner(s) to speak to the bankruptcy attorney and agent. Communication cannot occur with the real estate agent/Homeowner(s) until the bankruptcy attorney’s written authorization on the firm’s letterhead and the Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form are received.

When will I receive the approval letter?

An approval letter cannot be issued until the releases, identified above from the Bankruptcy court has been received. Once the release is received, the file can be submitted for approval to the appropriate investor(s) and/or mortgage insurance company. The file will then follow the normal approval process to ensure it meets investor requirements.

Why can’t you approve a short sale file while waiting for the bankruptcy to be released?

An approval must follow the direction provided in the release by the Bankruptcy court. That is why a short sale will not be approved unless a court order permitting the sale is first received.

What fees can be paid related to the bankruptcy proceeding?

Any fees that are directly associated with the bankruptcy would be subject to further review and approval. For example, if Bank of America incurs fees to file a pleading to approve the short sale in the Bankruptcy court, Bank of America may seek permission from the Bankruptcy court to allow such attorney and filing fees.

Can a homeowner qualify for a Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) incentive while in bankruptcy?

Yes. However, any funds going to the Homeowner(s) through state incentives or other incentive programs must be properly disclosed and handled in accordance with bankruptcy legislation and local rules.

Are additional documents required for a short sale when the homeowner is in active bankruptcy?

Yes. Two additional documents are needed for a short sale that is in active bankruptcy:

  • An attorney authorization letter from the Bankruptcy attorney providing permission to speak with the Homeowner(s) is required. This is separate and in addition to the required Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form signed by the Homeowner(s) permitting Bank of America to speak with the bankruptcy attorney and the real estate agent.
  • Bank of America must receive a release issued by the Bankruptcy court (listed above).

If you have questions, first contact your short sale specialist (or closing officer) through Equator messaging. If there’s no response after two days, escalate to the team lead.

For urgent needs (such as a foreclosure postponement) or for escalation beyond the team lead, contact Short Sale Customer/Agent Care at 1.866.880.1232.


Bank of America Short Sale Agent Update

December 4, 2012

short sale house

Understanding Short Sale Agent Commissions

Bank of America pays commissions to licensed real estate professionals who close acceptable short sale transactions.

Commissions are:

  • Allocated from the sale’s proceeds to qualifying real estate agents or attorneys at closing
  • Calculated as a percentage based on the total/gross sales price of the property
  • Usually divided between the buyer and seller agents, as per mutual agreement

The maximum commission for all acceptable transactions is as follows and is paid when the short sale reflects positive mitigation:

max commission

Flexibility is allowed in the commission structure when the short sale does not reflect positive mitigation* or if the minimum acceptable net proceed** is not met. In these circumstances, the real estate agent may choose to reduce his/her commission to meet minimum mitigation requirements.

Exceptions:

  • Dual agents unrelated to either party will receive a 4% commission
  • In some situations, commission is limited per investor guidelines/investor approval and may vary

 Acceptable and Unacceptable Short Sale Transactions

In an acceptable transaction, commissions will always be paid within the following guidelines:

acceptable and unacceptable boa short sales

* Positive mitigation is the amount of loss Bank of America will mitigate by accepting the short sale as opposed to foreclosure.

** Minimum acceptable net proceed is the amount the investor requires to complete the short sale transaction.

An eligible short sale transaction is made on an arm’s-length basis, meaning the buyer and the seller have no personal, familial or professional (business associate, business interest) relationship and the property is listed for sale on the open market at fair market value. There may not be any actual or implied conflicts of interest.

If you have questions, first contact your short sale specialist (or closing officer) through Equator messaging. If there’s no response after two days, escalate to the team lead.

For urgent needs (such as a foreclosure postponement) or for escalation beyond the team lead, contact Short Sale Customer/Agent Care at 1.866.880.1232 between 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. (EST), Mon- Fri,  and 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (EST), Sat.


Are you Eligible for Relief under the National Mortgage Settlement?

September 3, 2012

OVERVIEW

The National Mortgage Settlement will offer various forms of relief for distressed families who qualify. As provided by the Center for Responsible Lending, the below is a preliminary guide that offers information for those who may be eligible for relief.

The Settlement administrators (designated by participating states*), state attorneys general and the mortgage servicers** involved in the lawsuit will identify homeowners eligible for benefits. These benefits may include immediate cash payments, loan modifications with mortgage balance reductions, or refinancing. If you are eligible, you should receive a letter from the administrator in your state. All actions resulting from the settlement are scheduled to take place over the next three and a half years.

Please note that benefits are not guaranteed even if you meet eligibility requirements; every case will be considered individually. However, you may be eligible for help under the national mortgage settlement if any one of these situations applies to you:

  1. You lost your home to foreclosure between 2008 and 2011; OR
  2. You are current on your mortgage payments, but underwater (you owe more on your mortgage than the current value of the house); OR
  3. You are behind on your mortgage or at immediate risk of falling behind.

For the most up-to-date information, click here.

*All states are participating except Oklahoma.
**Mortgage servicers are the companies or banks that receive and process mortgage payments and handle other administrative tasks related to home loans.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR HELP?

Scenario 1: You have already lost your home to foreclosure.

Potential Benefits

Cash payment of approximately $1,800-$2,000 If you still owe any money on the mortgage because of an outstanding balance after a foreclosure sale, you may have an opportunity to have some or all of that debt forgiven.

Preliminary Checklist for Eligibility

  • When you owned the home, you occupied the house as the owner, and the property had no more than four separate units.
  • Your foreclosure sale was completed between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011.
  • Your mortgage was serviced or owned by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo or Ally Financial (formerly GMAC).

Process

  • If you are eligible for benefits, you should receive a claim form in the mail from the settlement administrator.
  • If you are concerned you will be difficult to locate, you should contact your Attorney General’s Office, and they will forward your information to the appropriate person to ensure you are contacted if you are eligible.

Scenario 2: You are current on your loan, but underwater.

Potential Benefits

Eligible underwater borrowers may have an opportunity to refinance loans at lower interest rates.

Preliminary Checklist for Eligibility

  • You own and occupy your property, and your property has no more than four separate units.
  • Your mortgage is serviced and owned by one of these banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC). Note that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-owned loans may be eligible for refinance under a separate program called HARP. To see if your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, go here.
  • Your mortgage is underwater—i.e., you owe more on the loan than the current value of the house.
  • You have not made any late mortgage payments within the last 12 months.
  • You have not been through a bankruptcy or foreclosure in the last 24 months.
  • Your current interest rate is at least 5.25%
  • The refinance would reduce your interest rate by ¼ of a percentage point or your monthly payment by at least $100.
  • Your mortgage is not a manufactured home loan, and it is not insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Veterans’ Administration (VA).
  • There are no restrictions on when your mortgage was made – could be any date.

Process

  • The participating banks (BoA, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Ally Financial) are required to notify eligible borrowers of the availability of the refinance program, but borrowers may also contact the banks directly for information.
  • The application process has yet to be determined.

Scenario 3: You’re late on your mortgage or at imminent risk of missing payments.

Potential Benefits

  • Loan modification. You may have opportunity to receive a loan modification with a principal write-down (i.e., a reduction in the amount you owe) that would reduce your monthly payments.
  • Forbearance. If you are unemployed, you may have an opportunity to get mortgage payment forbearance (the lender will delay foreclosure and offer a plan for allowing you to catch up on payments).
  • Short sale. You may have the opportunity to have the bank facilitate a short sale (i.e., you would sell your property for less than the amount of the mortgage to avoid a foreclosure).
  • Deed in lieu. You may have an opportunity to proceed with a “deed in lieu of foreclosure” (i.e., you give the lender all legal rights to the property in exchange for its agreement not to pursue foreclosure formally).
  • Relocation assistance. You may be able to get funds to help pay relocation expenses following a foreclosure.
  • Relief from further financial obligations after home sale. You may have an opportunity to receive relief from paying some or all of the amounts that might still be legally owed on the mortgage loan following a foreclosure sale or short sale.

Preliminary Checklist for Eligibility

  • You own and occupy your property, and your property has no more than four separate units.
  • Your mortgage is serviced or owned by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo or Ally Financial (formerly GMAC).
  • Mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are not eligible. To see if your loan is owned by Fannie or Freddie, go here.
  • There are no restrictions on when your mortgage was made – could be any date.

Process

  • You may be contacted directly by one of the five participating mortgage servicers, but you should also contact your servicer to request consideration for the range of options that might be available to you.
  • You may want to consult a HUD-certified housing counselor for assistance.
  • Some details of the process are yet to be determined.

WHAT ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW?

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board are overseeing an Independent Foreclosure Review. This is a separate effort from the National Mortgage Settlement. This initiative could result in cash payouts to borrowers who suffered financial harm due to improper foreclosures.

Potential Benefits

You may be eligible to receive cash remedies if the Review shows (1) your loan was serviced by one of the banks or companies listed below, and if (2) if you suffered financial harm due to errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process. If you are a candidate for this benefit, you must apply and submit paperwork to participate in the Review. Deadline for submitting a request for review is December 31, 2012.

Basic Eligibility

  1. You were in any stage of the foreclosure process on a home that was your primary residence from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.
  2. Your mortgage servicer (the company that received your mortgage payments) was one of these businesses:
  • America’s Servicing Company
  • Countrywide
  • National City
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • EMC
  • PNC
  • BAC Home Loans Servicing
  • Everbank/Everhome
  • Sovereign Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Financial Freedom
  • SunTrust Mortgage
  • Beneficial
  • GMAC Mortgage
  • U.S. Bank
  • Chase
  • HFC
  • Wachovia
  • Citibank
  • HSBC
  • Washington Mutual
  • CitiFinancial
  • IndyMac Mortgage Services
  • Wells Fargo
  • CitiMortgage
  • Metlife Bank
  • Wilshire Credit

Find Out More about the Independent Foreclosure Review

Answers to questions about the process and borrower eligibility are available at (888) 952-9105, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (ET), and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET). You can also get more information about the review at the website.

Click here to see Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.


How the Money Will be Distributed in the National Mortgage Settlement

September 2, 2012

In February 2012, 49 state attorneys general (except Oklahoma) and the Federal Government announced the largest consumer financial protection settlement in U.S. history with the country’s five largest loan servicers, known as the National Mortgage Settlement:

The five servicers will provide at least $25 billion in consumer relief to distressed borrowers and directs payments to states and the Federal Government.

The agreement settles state and Federal investigations finding that the country’s five largest loan servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct.  Both of these practices violate the law.  The settlement provides benefits to borrowers whose loans are owned by the settling banks as well as to many of the borrowers whose loans they service.*

*Borrowers from Oklahoma will not be eligible for any of the relief directly to homeowners because Oklahoma elected not to join the settlement.

As stated in the Settlement Fact Sheet, the money in the settlement will be distributed in several ways:

FINANCIAL RELIEF FOR HOMEOWNERS:

The servicers will be required to dedicate $20 billion to various forms of relief to borrowers.

  • Principal reduction. At least $10 billion will be dedicated to reducing principal for borrowers who, as of the date of the settlement, owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth and are either delinquent or at imminent risk of default.
  • Refinancing. At least $3 billion will be dedicated to a refinancing program for borrowers who are current on their mortgages but who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. All borrowers who meet basic eligibility criteria will be eligible for the refinancing, which will reduce interest rates for borrowers who are currently paying much higher rates or whose adjustable rate mortgages are due to soon rise to much higher rates.
  • Other forms of relief. Servicers will be required to dedicate up to $7 billion to other forms of relief, including forbearance of principal for unemployed borrowers, anti-blight programs, short sales and transitional assistance, benefits for service members who are forced to sell their homes at a loss as a result of a Permanent Change in Station, and other programs.

To encourage servicers to provide relief quickly, there are incentives for relief provided within the first 12 months – and additional cash payments required for any servicer that fails to meet its obligation within three years. Servicers will receive only partial credit for every dollar spent on some of the required activities, so the settlement will provide direct benefits to borrowers in excess of $20 billion.

PAYMENTS TO STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS:

In addition to the $20 billion of financial relief for homeowners, the servicers will make $5 billion in cash payments to the states and the Federal Government. Of the $5 billion:

  • Payments to Foreclosed Borrowers. Through the settlement, a $1.5 billion Borrower Payment Fund will be established to provide cash payments to borrowers whose homes were sold or taken in foreclosure between and including Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, and who meet other criteria. This program is distinct from, but complimentary to, the restitution program currently being administered by Federal banking regulators to compensate those who suffered direct financial harm as a result of wrongful servicer conduct.
  • State and Federal payments. The remaining funds of $3.5 billion will go to state and Federal Governments to be used to repay public funds lost as a result of servicer misconduct, fund housing counselors, legal aid, and other similar purposes determined by state attorneys general. The funds coming to the Federal Government will primarily be allocated to the FHA Capital Reserve Account, with portions also going to the Veterans Housing Benefit Program Fund and to the Rural Housing Service.

FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF INDIVIDUAL SERVICERS:


Independent Foreclosure Review FAQs

November 16, 2011

 

Q1. What is the Independent Foreclosure Review?

As part of a consent order with federal bank regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) (independent bureaus of the U.S. Department of the Treasury), or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 14 mortgage servicers and their affiliates are identifying customers who were part of a foreclosure action on their primary residence during the period of January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is providing homeowners the opportunity to request an independent review of their foreclosure process. If the review finds that financial injury occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the servicer’s foreclosure process, the customer may receive compensation or other remedy.

Q2. What is a foreclosure action? What foreclosure actions are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Foreclosure actions include any of the following occurrences on a primary residence between the dates of January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010:

  • The property was sold due to a foreclosure judgment.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process but was removed from the process because payments were brought up-to-date or the borrower entered a payment plan or modification program.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process, but the home was sold or the borrower participated in a short sale or chose a deed-in-lieu or other program to avoid foreclosure.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process and remains delinquent but the foreclosure sale has not yet taken place.

Q3. How do I know if I am eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Your loan must first meet the following initial eligibility criteria:

  • Your mortgage loan was serviced by one of the participating mortgage servicers in Question 4.
  • Your mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
  • The property was your primary residence.

If your mortgage loan does not meet the initial eligibility criteria outlined above, you can still have your mortgage concerns considered by calling or writing your servicer directly.

Q4. Who are the participating servicers? What mortgage servicers and their affiliates are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review process?

The list of participating servicers includes:

  • America’s Servicing Co.
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • Bank of America
  • Beneficial
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • CitiFinancial
  • CitiMortgage
  • Countrywide
  • EMC
  • EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company
  • 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 (WaMu)
  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Q5. What are some examples of financial injury due to errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

Listed below are examples of situations that may have led to financial injury. This list does not include all situations.

  • The mortgage balance amount at the time of the foreclosure action was more than you actually owed.
  • You were doing everything the modification agreement required, but the foreclosure sale still happened.
  • The foreclosure action occurred while you were protected by bankruptcy.
  • You requested assistance/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.
  • The foreclosure action occurred on a mortgage that was obtained before active duty military service began and while on active duty, or within 9 months after the active duty ended and the servicemember did not waive his/her rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Q6. How does my mortgage loan get reviewed as part of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Homeowners meeting the initial eligibility criteria will be mailed notification letters with an enclosed Request for Review Form by December 31, 2011.

If you believe that you may have been financially injured, you must submit a Request for Review Form postmarked no later than April 30, 2012. Forms postmarked after this date will not be eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review.

If you have more than one mortgage account that meets the initial eligibility criteria for an independent review, you will receive a separate letter for each. You will need to submit a separate Request for Review Form for each account. It is important that you complete the form to the best of your ability. All information you provide may be useful.

Q7. How can I submit the Request for Review Form?

Homeowners meeting the initial eligibility criteria will be mailed notification letters with an enclosed Request for Review Form before the end of 2011. If you received the notification letter, you can send in your Request for Review Form in the prepaid envelope provided, postmarked no later than April 30, 2012.

If your loan is part of the initial eligible population and you need a new form by mail, have questions, or need help completing the form you have received in the mail, call 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.

Q8. Who can submit or sign the Request for Review Form?

Either the borrower or a co-borrower of the mortgage loan can submit and sign the form. The borrower signing the Request for Review Form should be authorized by all borrowers to proceed with the request for review. In the event of a finding of financial injury, any possible compensation or remedy will take into consideration all borrowers listed on the loan, either directly or to their trusts or estates.

Q9. What if one of the borrowers has died or is injured or debilitated?

Any borrower, co-borrower or attorney-in-fact can sign the form. In the event of a finding of financial injury, any possible compensation or other remedy will take into account all borrowers listed on the mortgage loan either directly or to their trusts or estates.

Q10. Do I need an attorney to request or submit the Request for Review Form?

No. However, if your mortgage loan meets the initial eligibility criteria and you are currently represented by an attorney with respect to a foreclosure or bankruptcy case regarding your mortgage; please refer to your attorney.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is FREE. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a service to complete the Request for Review Form.

Q11. If I have already submitted a complaint to my servicer, do I need to submit a separate Request for Review Form to participate in this process?

If your mortgage loan meets the initial eligibility criteria, you should submit a Request for Review Form to ensure your foreclosure action is included in the Independent Foreclosure Review process.

Q12. What happens during the review process?

You will be sent an acknowledgement letter within one week after your Request for Review Form is received by the independent review administrator. Your request will be reviewed for inclusion in the Independent Foreclosure Review. If your request meets the eligibility requirements, it will be reviewed by an independent consultant.

Your servicer will provide relevant documents along with any findings and recommendations related to your request for review to the independent consultant for review. Your servicer may be asked to clarify or confirm facts and disclose reasons for events that occurred related to the foreclosure process. You could be asked to provide additional information or documentation. Because the review process will be a thorough and complete examination of many details and documents, the review could take several months.

The Independent Foreclosure Review will determine whether financial injury has occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process. You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy.

Q13. How do I know who my servicer is? How do I find them?

The company you sent your monthly mortgage payments to is your mortgage servicer. It is not necessarily the company whose name is on the actual foreclosure documents (although in most cases, it is). If you don’t remember the name of the servicer for your foreclosed property, we suggest you review cancelled checks, bank statements, online statements or other records for this information.

If you are still unsure of who your mortgage servicer is or do not see their name listed in Q4, please call 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.

Q14. If I request an Independent Foreclosure Review, is there a cost or will there be a negative impact to my credit?

The Independent Foreclosure Review is a FREE program. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a service to complete the Request for Review Form.

The review will not have an impact on your credit report or any other options you may pursue related to your foreclosure.

Q15. Where can I call if I need help completing the form or have any questions about the review process?

Call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET. If you have already submitted a Request for Review Form, please have your Reference Number available to expedite your call.

Q16. How are military servicemembers affected by the Independent Foreclosure Review?

In the review, servicers are required to include all loans covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that meet the qualifying criteria. However, servicemembers or co-borrowers may also request a review through this process. Financial injury may have occurred if the foreclosure action occurred on a mortgage that was obtained before active duty military service began and while on active duty, or within 9 months after the active duty ended.

Q17. How am I affected if I submit a Request for Review Form while in active bankruptcy?

If you submit a Request for Review Form and a review is conducted of your foreclosure process, this will have no impact on your bankruptcy. The letter being sent to you about the Independent Foreclosure Review is not an attempt to collect a debt. If you are in bankruptcy, please refer this letter to your attorney.

Q18. I’m still working with my servicer to prevent a foreclosure sale. Will I still be able to work with them?

Yes, continue to work with your servicer. Participating in the review will not impact any effort to prevent a foreclosure sale. The review is not intended to replace current active efforts with your servicer.

Q19. How long will the review process take and when can I expect a response?

You will be sent an acknowledgement letter within one week after your Request for Review Form is received by the independent review administrator. Because the review process will examine many details and documents, the review could take several months. The Independent Foreclosure Review will determine if financial injury occurred as a result of the servicer’s errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process. You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q20. What happens if the review finds that I was financially injured as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy. The compensation or other remedy you may receive will be determined by your specific situation. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q21. What happens if the review finds that I was not financially injured as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

You will receive a letter with the findings of the review. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q22. What if I disagree with the eligibility requirements or the result of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

The decision of the review is considered final and there is no further recourse within the Independent Foreclosure Review process. The Independent Foreclosure Review will not have an impact on any other options you may pursue related to the foreclosure process of your mortgage loan.

Q23. Does filing a Request for Review Form prevent me from filing other litigation or action against the servicer?

No. Submitting a request for an Independent Foreclosure Review will not preclude you from any other options you may pursue related to your foreclosure.


Independent Reviews of Foreclosure Cases Begin

November 16, 2011

Independent third-party reviews of foreclosure cases at the 14 largest mortgage servicers and their affiliates began Tuesday, November 1st, 2011.

Consultants hired by the banks and approved by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will evaluate whether eligible borrowers who were foreclosed between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 suffered financially due to improper practices.

Borrowers are considered eligible if their loan meets the following initial eligibility criteria:

  • Your mortgage loan was serviced by one of the participating mortgage servicers below.
  • Your mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
  • The property was your primary residence.

If your mortgage loan does not meet the initial eligibility criteria outlined above, you can still have your mortgage concerns considered by calling or writing your servicer directly.

Eligible customers will be mailed a letter by December 31, 2011 that explains the Independent Foreclosure Review process and a Request for Review Form that identifies some examples of situations that may have led to financial injury. The borrower has until April 30, 2012 to request a review. There is no cost to the borrower, and the OCC warned against any firm that would charge a fee up front for the review.

If eligible borrowers believe that they were financially injured as a result of servicer errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process on their primary residence, they can request a review of their foreclosure file to verify that their foreclosure process was handled properly.

Throughout this process, servicers will continue their efforts to help homeowners who have not yet gone through a foreclosure sale stay in their homes, where possible.

The reviews are a requirement under consent orders signed between regulators and the servicers. The reviews could cover more than 4.5 million cases and take more than a year to complete.

The participating servicers are:

  • America’s Servicing Company
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • Bank of America
  • EMC
  • EverBank/Everhome Mortgage Company
  • First Horizon
  • National City Mortgage
  • PNC Mortgage
  • Sovereign Bank
  • Beneficial
  • Chase
  • GMAC Mortgage
  • HFC
  • SunTrust Mortgage
  • U.S. Bank
  • Citibank
  • CitiFinancial
  • HSBC
  • IndyMac Mortgage
  • Wachovia
  • Washington Mutual
  • CitiMortgage Services Wells Fargo
  • Countrywide MetLife Bank

If your loan is part of the initial eligible population and you need a new form by mail, believe you may be eligible for a review but did not receive a mailing, have questions, or need help completing the form you have received in the mail, call 1-888-952-9105, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. EST or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. EST.


DC Approves Saving DC Homes from Foreclosure Act

November 24, 2010

On October 27, 2010, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles issued a Statement of Enforcement.

On November 17, 2010, the Mayor of the District of Columbia signed the Saving DC Homes from Foreclosure Emergency Act of 2010.

The Act states that a foreclosure sale under a power of sale provision contained in any deed of trust, mortgage or other security instrument, can not take place unless the holder of the note secured by the deed of trust, mortgage, or security instrument, or its agent, gives written notice of the intention to foreclose, by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, and by first‐class mail, of the sale to the borrower and, if different from the borrower, to the person who holds the title of record, of the real property encumbered by the deed of trust, mortgage, or security instrument at his last known address. A copy of the notice must also be sent to the Mayor, at least 30 days in advance of the date of the sale.

Further, the Act requires the following actions BEFORE a foreclosure sale takes place:

  • After a notice of default of a residential mortgage has been given and a mediation election form is mailed to a borrower in default of a mortgage loan, the lender will be required to engage in mediation if the borrower elects to participate ;

Note: A notice of default from the lender must include: (a) contact information the borrower may use to reach an agent or representative of the lender with authority to explain the mediation process, (b) a statement recommending that the borrower seek housing counseling services (c) contact information for at least one local housing counseling agency approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), (d) information about loss mitigation programs available from the lender, and (e) a mediation election form, in a form prescribed by the Mediation Administrator, with one envelope addressed to the lender, and one envelope addressed to the Mediation Administrator. A copy of the notice of default would also be provided to the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB)

  • The lender is required to pay a fee of $300 for each notice of default issued on residential mortgage. If the power of sale a property is exercised, the lender is allowed to recover the $300 fee from the proceeds of sale if there is any amount remaining after the payment of all amounts due and owing by the borrower on the residential mortgage and the costs of the sale. The lender is not permitted to recover mediation fee paid if there is a deficiency upon the sale of the foreclosed property;
  • Within 7 days of mailing of the notice of default by the lender, the Mediation Administrator will mail the specified information to the borrower about the mediation process, a statement recommending the borrower seek housing counseling services and information about these services, and a request for the borrower to return the loss mitigation application to the lender and the mediation election form to the Mediation Administrator and lender in the envelopes provided no later than 30 days from the date of the mailing of the notice of default by the lender. The Mediation Administrator will also include a statement that the borrower will lose the right to participate in mediation if the mediation election form and the loss mitigation application are not returned within the specified 30 day timeframe, a statement that borrower has to pay a $50 fee to the District of Columbia to participate in mediation; otherwise, the borrower will be considered to have forfeited the right to mediation, and a statement that mediation will be held 45 days after the date of the mailing of the mediation election form;
  • Within 20 days of mailing of the mediation election form to the borrower by the lender, the Mediation Administrator will send a 2nd notice to the borrower with all the information specified above, including a statement that the borrower must take immediate action to avoid foreclosure;
  • The Mediation Administrator will assign a mediator and schedule a mediation session within 45 days of the mailing of the notice of default for each borrower electing to participate in mediation, and will issue a mediation certificate to the lender if a borrower chooses to waive the right to mediation. The power of sale under a mortgage will not be exercised until the Mediation Administrator has issued a Mediation Certificate;
  • If the lender or a representative fails to attend the mediation, fails to participate in the mediation in good faith, or does not bring to the mediation all required documents, the Mediation Administrator is authorized to impose a $500 penalty against the lender. Any lender who breaches the terms of the settlement agreement would pay a penalty of $1,000 and be required to perform the terms of a settlement agreement;
  • If the borrower breaches the terms of the settlement agreement entered into during mediation, the lender will be allowed to apply to the Mediation Administrator for a Mediation Certificate;
  • The mediation will conclude within 90 days of the mailing of the notice of default and mediation election form by the lender, unless extended for an additional 30 days by the mutual consent of both parties;
  • If the mediator determines that the parties, while acting in good faith, cannot agree to any loss mitigation options in lieu of foreclosure, the mediator will submit a form to the Mediation Administrator recommending the matter be terminated. Within 5 days of receiving the mediator’s report, the Mediation Administrator may issue a Mediation Certificate to the lender or refer the matter to another mediator;
  • Each foreclosure sale in violation of the Act is considered void;
  • All foreclosure sales occurring November 17, 2010 or after, a Mediation Certificate must be recorded among the DC Land Records PRIOR to the issuance and recordation of the Notice of Foreclosure.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Foreclosure sales which are completed PRIOR to the effective date of the Act should not be subject to the provisions of the Act.
  • The participation in mediation shall NOT waive any other legal claims the lender or borrower may have against each other
  • The Act expires February 15, 2011 unless extended

D.C. Attorney General Issues Statement of Enforcement to Combat Foreclosure

November 22, 2010

On October 27, 2010, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles issued a Statement of Enforcement regarding deceptive foreclosure sale notices.

Foreclosure sale notices, when sent to homeowners to commence foreclosures of their homes, violate the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act if they have a tendency to mislead homeowners either by misrepresenting a material fact or by failing to state a material fact. D.C. Official Code § 28-3904 (e) and (f).

The Attorney General is responsible for bringing enforcement actions in D.C. Superior Court against violations of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act and is authorized to seek injunctive relief, consumer restitution, and civil penalties. D.C. Official Code § 28-3909.

A foreclosure proceeding in D.C. begins when an owner of real property is sent a notice of foreclosure sale on a form prescribed by regulation and issued by the Recorder of Deeds. 9 DCMR §§ 3100.1 and 3100.2. The Notice of Foreclosure Sale form requires identification of, among other things, a “Security Instrument recorded in the land records of the District of Columbia,” a “Maker(s) of the Note secured by the instrument,” and a “Holder of the Note.” The “Holder of the Note” is the noteholder whose security interest in the real property is the basis for the foreclosure proceeding.

Under District law, a noteholder’s security interest in real property should be reflected in the property records maintained by the Recorder of Deeds, even if the noteholder was not the original maker of the note. In contrast to the laws of many states, District law imposes a recordation obligation on each transferee of a security interest in real property:

“Within 30 days after the execution of a deed or other document [by which] an economic interest [or] a security interest in the real property is conveyed, all transferees of, and all holders of the security interest in, real property shall record a fully acknowledged copy of the deed or other document . . . with the Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia.” D.C. Official Code § 47-1431(a).

While most assignments of security interests “from one lender to another, on the secondary market” are expressly exempted from the District’s recordation tax, D.C. Official Code § 42-1102.01, these assignments are not exempted from the District’s basic recordation requirement, which is presumed to apply to every transfer of an economic or security interest in real property. D.C. Official Code § 47-1432.

When a homeowner receives the notice of foreclosure sale on the form required by District law, the notice is representing to the homeowner, at least by implication, that (1) the identified “Holder of the Note” in fact has a security interest in the homeowner’s property and (2) the noteholder’s security interest is duly “recorded in the land records of the District of Columbia.” The homeowner who receives such a notice is entitled to presume that the recordation of the security interest complies with District law, and that each intermediate transfer of the security interest between the original maker of the note and the current holder of the note is documented in the public record.

If the land records of the District of Columbia don’t in fact demonstrate that the “Holder of the Note” identified in the foreclosure sale notice has the security interest identified in the notice, then use of the required notice form is misleading. The notice misrepresents to the homeowner that the noteholder has a recorded security interest and fails to disclose the material fact that the “recorded” security interest described in the notice is not that of the noteholder. Homeowners who receive such notices may fail to take prudent steps to protect their homes, such as seeking legal advice to determine whether there may be a basis for challenging the foreclosure proceedings in court. In the District, as in other jurisdictions with a non-judicial foreclosure process, the onus is on the homeowner to develop facts supporting judicial review.

Misrepresenting to homeowners that noteholders’ security interests are recorded in the District’s land records violates the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, even if the security interests are tracked in the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) registry. The MERS registry, which is privately maintained and fully accessible only to paying members and subscribers, does not allow users to research the intermediate transfers between the original maker of the note and the current holder of the note. Therefore, in contrast to the public recordation system prescribed by District law, the MERS registry does not allow users to confirm that reported noteholder interests are supported by a chain of conveyances originating with the maker of the note.

Prior to initiating a foreclosure involving a District of Columbia homeowner, a trustee or noteholder is obligated to confirm that the District’s land records demonstrate that the noteholder has the security interest that will be listed in the foreclosure sale notice. Each assignment of interest (or other document) by which the security interest was transferred to the noteholder, or to one of the noteholder’s predecessors in the chain of conveyances from the maker of the note, must be recorded with the Recorder of Deeds. A document that lists MERS as a nominee, but does not identify the actual holder of the security interest, will not suffice.

If homeowners or their advocates provide information to the Washington, D.C. Office of the Attorney General establishing that foreclosures continue to be commenced or pursued with deceptive foreclosure sale notices, the Attorney General may bring enforcement actions under the Consumer Protection Procedures Act to enjoin foreclosure proceedings, secure restitution for injured homeowners, and seek appropriate civil penalties.

To report the continued use of deceptive foreclosure sale notices, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at (202) 442-9828.


Fannie Mae Retires Payment Reduction Plan Program

November 1, 2010

On October 29, 2010, Fannie Mae issued Announcement SVC-2010-16 to servicers stating they are retiring the Payment Reduction Plan (PRP) program effective December 31, 2010.

The PRP program, introduced in 2009, was designed to provide borrowers ineligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) with temporary payment relief while the servicer and borrower worked together to find an appropriate permanent foreclosure prevention solution.

Under the program, a homeowner’s mortgage payments can be reduced up to 30% of the contractual monthly payments of principal and interest. The program covers owner occupied properties, as well as investment properties and second homes.

According to the Announcement, all PRPs must be initiated on or before that date and must end by July 1, 2011, or within 6 months of commencement, if earlier.

Servicers must continue to report PRP data on a monthly basis in the HomeSavers Solution® Network. Servicer incentives will continue to be paid on eligible PRPs upon the successful completion of a permanent foreclosure prevention alternative.

A spokesperson for Fannie said recent volumes in the program were relatively small, and borrowers experiencing hardships such unemployment and problematic drywall, can still be put into regular forbearance plans and extensions.

Servicers should continue to use other foreclosure prevention options available, as indicated in the Servicing Guide, Part VII, Chapter 6: Foreclosure Prevention Alternatives, and as updated by subsequent announcements.


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