Loan Modification Jury Trial Against Well Fargo

I just wrapped up a jury trial in New Jersey Federal Court against Wells Fargo. The litigation was lengthy and complicated and is hard to summarize in a blog.   It was settled during closing arguments after A LOT of time and energy went into it—Wells Fargo, as usual, was represented by Reed Smith.   In 2009, my clients were current with their mortgage, but asked Wells for a refinance.  Instead they were pushed into applying for a loan modification so long as they paid an up-front fee of $2,415.  One more thing—Wells said that they’d have to be delinquent in their mortgage to qualify (I’ve heard the same thing from many of my clients).  My clients thought that sounded strange, but followed Wells’ representatives instructions. They paid the $2,415 application fee and stopped paying their loan.

Wells also told them, and then wrote to them, that the fee would be returned to them if the loan modification was denied.  Which it was a few months later—but Wells never returned the money.  Wells then confused my clients’ paperwork with others, but told my clients that they’d keep trying to get them a loan mod.  While this was happening, Wells filed a foreclosure lawsuit against my clients, but didn’t even notify them of that important event until 2 months later.  Wells eventually denied the loan modification, and then took a foreclosure judgment.  Wells was lining the home up for Sheriff Sale when my clients retained me.  I got Wells to hold up on the Sheriff Sale, and then I filed the federal court action for NJ Consumer Fraud for 1) not returning the $2,415 and 2) for foreclosing when they should’ve been working with my clients to modify their loan.

The end result was that Wells and my clients agreed to a modification and Wells agreed to pay a confidential sum of money to settle the case.

Avoid Foreclosure by Modifying Your Mortgage

When you hire us to help you with a loan modification, we will become your voice in all dealings with your lender. If we are unable to immediately get the process moving with loan or bank officers, we will work directly with attorneys for the bank to get the modification process moving forward. We have a comprehensive understanding of the programs available to help you refinance or restructure your loan and avoid foreclosure. We will carefully evaluate your circumstances to determine what programs you qualify for, and we will explain your options as well as the benefits and consequences of different strategies.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or contact us online. Your first consultation is free of charge. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home if necessary to meet with you.

 

Homeownership Obstacles

There are many obstacles that stand in the road to homeownership. Prospective buyers need to take many preventative measures to ensure their deal. A simple precaution a buyer can take is evaluating all financial information with their lender. Any surprises could disrupt the lending process. Another step to take would be not to make any major purchases when the deal is being closed. This is because lenders can recheck the buyers credit history right before closing, and any new credit obligations may cause for concern.

In today’s competitive market, buyers must obtain more than just pre-approval, but also obtain a loan commitment. A loan commitment is a guarantee that the needed money will be made available to the buyer. This commitment can help ensure the buyers success in this competitive house market.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier – Protecting Homeowner Rights

The law firm of Shaffer & Gaier protects the rights of those who are facing foreclosure or seeking mortgage modifications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.

SoFi and Online Mortgage Lending

SoFi – How Millennial Usage of Online Mortgage Lending is Changing the Home Lending Landscape

A young couple each in their early 30’s found themselves buying a house outside of San Francisco. Being first time buyers, they searched for sources of financing on the Internet. Online they found a lender called social finance (SoFi). They received pre-qualification in 15 minutes and then got the documents for pre-approval and submitted a formal offer within a week. Because of SoFi’s simplicity, they were able to easily close on their new home.

Large groups of millennials are changing the mortgage industry because more and more lenders are using technology that enables borrowers to submit documentation online. This allows more non-bank start a blenders to compete in the mortgage industry and it also gets mortgage brokers out of the mix (who many blame on the crisis of the last decade) . Online lenders like SoFi are so appealing to millennials because of their online tools and fast closing times. Borrowers feel much more in control of their financial status due to the DIY system provided by online lenders. This freedom is what banks are unable to match.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier – Protecting Homeowner Rights

The law firm of Shaffer & Gaier protects the rights of those who are facing foreclosure or seeking mortgage modifications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.

The Home Affordable Modification Program’s Paltry Lifeline

A Slack Lifeline for Drowning Homeowners

JULY 31, 2015 By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

“After Lucy Circe became disabled and could no longer work, she applied to Bank of America for a mortgage loan modification on her Vermont home. Over more than two years, starting in 2012, the bank repeatedly requested copies of documents that had already been provided, asked for proof that she was no longer married to a man she did not even know, and made other errors, like asking why Ms. Circe had indicated that she didn’t want to keep her property when she had actually told the bank she did….” READ MORE HERE.

Contact an Aggressive Foreclosure Defense Lawyer at Shaffer & Gaier Today

We provide a free initial consultation to anyone with concerns about foreclosure or who is involved in foreclosure proceedings. To schedule an appointment, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or contact us online. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home if necessary to meet with you.

U.S. Supreme Court Finds in Favor of Homeowners

In 2007, a couple from Minnesota, Larry and Cheryl Jesinoski, refinanced their mortgage with Countrywide. Exactly three years later the Jesinoskis tried to rescind the loan by writing a letter to Bank of America Home loans, which purchased Countrywide during the housing crisis. This meant that Larry and Cheryl, through the Truth in Lending Act, had the right to cancel their mortgage as long as they did so within three years after the transaction was completed.

Yet, Bank of America tried to block the rescission and the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of the bank, stating that the borrower must not only give notice but also file a lawsuit within three years. However, on Tuesday Jan 13, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the couple, with Justice Antonin Scalia interpreting the law, stating that it without a doubt requires only a notification of rescission within three years and not litigation. Please note that when a loan is rescinded, however, the homeowners often have to give the mortgage loan funds and fees back to the bank or lender.

Contact Philadelphia Foreclosure & Mortgage Modification
Attorneys Shaffer & Gaier

To set up an appointment, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or contact us online. Your first consultation is free of charge. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home if necessary to meet with you.

Make Your Home Affordable

According to the US Census bureau, there are over 75 million homeowners in America; homeowner, however, is a broad term used to encompass many Americans on all different “levels” of homeownership. Based on a study conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, of these 75 million homeowners, only 40% of the homes were paid off. Therefore 60% of US homeowners are essentially still paying a monthly bill for their homes and do not hold the deed that equates to actual ownership.

Be it that 45,000,000 American homeowners do not in fact actually own their homes, foreclosure is an ominous threat lurking at a vast number of doorsteps. With the aftershock of the recession still weighing heavily on our economy, an increasingly large number of Americans are finding their once affordable monthly mortgage payments are now incredibly unaffordable. As overwhelming as it is to realize that once seemingly reasonable mortgage payments now exceed your budget, it is important to never forget that help is available through a variety of channels for homeowners just like you. Specifically, a loan modification is a permanent change in the original terms of your loan that result in a payment you can afford. The Home Affordable Modification Program, commonly known as H.A.M.P., is a federal program specifically designed to offer loan modifications to eligible homeowners in mortgage debt

Been turned down before? Don’t panic. Many changes have been made to these programs to maximize the eligibility and assist as many borrowers as possible in retaining their homes. Don’t lose your home to due to circumstances out of control. It’s worth it to get the help that you deserve.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or contact us online. Your first consultation is free of charge. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home if necessary to meet with you.

Recovering from a Short Sale

Borrowers who owe more money than their homes are worth sometimes can get out from under by negotiating a short sale with their lender. A short sale is when a lender agrees to accept less than is owed on a property and in result, the borrower can walk away and avoid foreclosure. Yet, short-sellers are branded as high-risk borrowers, so new loans will not come quickly or easily. Fannie Mae, the federally controlled mortgage investor, sets a minimum amount of time that must elapse before a short-seller is eligible for another loan. For example, for those who can only put down 10 percent on their next home, Fannie Mae requires a four-year waiting period. Yet, borrowers who can put down 20 percent of their next home, the waiting period is shortened to two years. This waiting period is a penalty on borrowers who did not fully repay a previous loan and even if you could put 30 or 40 percent down, you would still have a two-year borrowing period. Short-sellers who are getting back into the housing market should keep detailed records of their income sources and should avoid loans which require very little money or no money down.

A Fix for the Mortgage Market?

The Senate Banking Committee is set to vote on a bipartisan bill, which aims to rejuvenate the housing market while guarding against the excesses of the past. This bill has been named the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014, with the goal to ensure broad and steady access to sustainable and affordable mortgages by providing an explicit government guarantee to attract investment in 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and other loans. In addition, this bill includes a new financing provision, a fee on government-guaranteed securities, to generate money for affordable housing. Essentially, this bill would end Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—federally backed mortgage companies with implicit government guarantees and confusing ownership status—but would continue vital federal support for mortgages though the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation. Overall, this bill hopes to ensure that mortgage loans are broadly available, while giving taxpayers a housing market that serves the long-term interests of families and the broader economy. Yet, this bill is overly complex and is subject to being misinterpreted and falling short, especially on the subject of fostering affordable mortgages.

Fallout from Refinancing

Homeowners who refinanced when fixed mortgage rates dropped below 4 percent are less inclined to put their homes on the market as interest rates increase. As a result, the limited property supply already impending sales in many markets may not ease anytime soon. A recent survey by Redfin showed that even recipients of low-refinance rates who decided that they want to move may want to make money by renting out their own homes while waiting for prices to rise, rather than selling right away. Most borrowers cannot afford to buy another home without using equity from their first down payment. Yet, those who take advantage of low refinance rates tend to be “premium consumers” with very good credit and stable income. Before these people decide to rent out their homes, they may want to consider a few other factors. For example, managing a rental property is a very large effort. In addition, there is a greater financial risk for those who own two homes in the same market if home prices take a dive. Lastly, the reasons for renting a home always change.

Contact Our Office

We provide a free initial consultation to anyone with concerns about foreclosure or who is involved in foreclosure proceedings. To schedule an appointment, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or contact us online. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home if necessary to meet with you.

THE ELUSIVE HOUSING RECOVERY

With all the happy talk recently about the nation’s housing recovery, much of eastern Pennsylvania and central and southern New Jersey real estate markets still have a significant amount of homes that are underwater (when the mortgage balance is greater than the value of the home). Many of these properties were purchased or refinanced by homeowners during the housing bubble which collapsed in 2007.

Recent reports continue to suggest that the best solution for all parties (banks, homeowners, investors, states and municipalities) is for the approach of “principal reduction.” By this method, if lenders rewrote the loans to reflect fair market values, then owners would have lower monthly payments which would put more money and tax dollars into local economies. Cities and towns could have more stable property tax revenues and lenders may ultimately benefit by having fewer delinquent loans.

The solution is not so simple because many banks no longer own the loans they made. Many of the underwater home loans have been pooled into private securities, and sold off to investors. The companies who service these securities and loans generally will not reduce the principal because, since they do not own the loan, they do not have the authority to reduce the principal balance. With all the talk over the last 12 to 18 months about settlement agreements between the Justice Department and the big banks, none of these initiatives require the banks or their investors to reset loans as a condition of getting Federal funds. Even the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has helped barely 25% of the 4 million homeowners it was supposed to reach. Worse still, the Federal Government itself is an obstacle to a lot of the reform measures because the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will not allow these two mortgage giants to reduce the principal on any of the underwater mortgages they own or guarantee. The new FHFA director, former-Representative Melvin Watt, could change that policy and he could do it without Congressional approval. It remains to be seen if the Administration will embark on principal reduction.

Contact Our Office

We provide a free initial consultation to anyone with concerns about foreclosure or who is involved in foreclosure proceedings. To schedule an appointment, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or contact us online. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home if necessary to meet with you.

FORECLOSURE ERRORS CONFIRMED

On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, a Federal regulator confirmed that the biggest banks committed widespread errors when dealing with homeowners who faced foreclosure at the height of the mortgage crisis. The report released by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was really a post-mortem of the earlier-released Independent Foreclosure Review, a very expensive review though limited in scope, of how the banks mistreated homeowners in the foreclosure process.

Almost 10% of the errors discovered in the review involve situations when banks improperly denied loan modifications that would have prevented a foreclosure filing in the first place. Many of these errors involved administrative flaws and improper fees being charged to the homeowners during the foreclosure process. In 2013, however, 15 banks settled with banking regulators making payments that totaled $3.9 billion, paid out to more than 4 million homeowners (averaging about $1,100 per household). These settlements ended the Independent Reviews, and the banks agreed to pay homeowners regardless of whether they had been harmed. The banks and regulators agreed to halt the review process because it was so expensive and lengthy, even though only a small fraction of the mortgage files were reviewed.

The report released on April 30 showed that the banks had made even less progress in the reviews than was previously disclosed. For example, Bank of America reviewed only 6% of its files, yet revealed a financial error rate of nearly 9%. Wells Fargo examined less than 10% of its records, and found an error rate of nearly 11.5%. Parties on both sides of the crisis were not pleased, and one reason could be that the decision to cut short the review left regulators with limited information about actual harm to borrowers, even though there was a multi-billion dollar settlement.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier – Protecting Homeowner Rights

The law firm of Shaffer & Gaier protects the rights of those who are facing foreclosure or seeking mortgage modifications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.

New Jersey Resident Wins Damages Against Predatory Lending Practices

The average homeowner does in fact have recourse against the big banks when it comes to mortgage fraud and foreclosure defense. Goods news comes this past January from a ruling by New Jersey Chancery Judge Peter Doyne that says Wells Fargo committed actionable fraud and predatory lending.

The case involves Oscar Montesdeoca, of New Jersey. Evidently, Montesdeoca was persuaded to borrow $600,000 pus dollars for a three-bedroom home at interest rates that ranged from 7.75 percent to 14.35 percent.

The ruling is considered a significant victory in the battle against predatory lending practices in New Jersey, where another home foreclosure occurs every eight minutes! In the case in question, the mortgage for the home was $4800 a month. However, Montesdeoca earned between $500 and $600 a week, with his wife working for $7.00 per hour. They could not possibly have covered the mortgage, which ended up being $5700 a month, including insurance.

It was determined that the loan officer who worked with Montesdeoca had promised that “if he paid the loan and maintained good credit (for two years) he would receive refinancing” to reduce the high interest rates.

The couple couldn’t read the paperwork, which was in English, and learned only later that the bank listed their income as over $10,000 a month, when it was far from that amount. When the couple’s son requested that the bank refinance the mortgage in order to lower the high interest rate, as the officer had promised, the bank officer never responded.

The good outcome is that the bank was made to refinance the loans, and pay all the couple’s legal fees, as well as three times his damages, as required by New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier: Protecting Homeowner Rights

The law firm of Shaffer & Gaier protects the rights of those who are facing foreclosure or seeking mortgage modifications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.

Source: http://www.responsiblelending.org/tools-resources/headlines/opinion-nj-court-resurrects-american-dream-from-foreclosure-nightmare.html

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