Mr. Black WILL BE HEADING FOR CAPITOL HILL in April on his annual lobbying trip as a member and State Chairman of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). So many clients have been complaining about their frustration with trying to obtain a Loan Modification from their mortgage companies, particularly through the government’s Making Home Affordable (HAMP) program, that Mr. Black will be taking letters from these clients to give directly to the Members of Congress.
Mr. Black constantly hears stories of people having to submit their Loan Modification paperwork numerous times, only to be told it was lost. Or, mortgage companies continuing with foreclosure while the Loan Modification process keeps dragging on, sometimes for many months, or other problems.
If you are one of these people, someone that has tried to get a Loan Modification but have failed, and you want Mr. Black to make sure Congress receives your letter, write or type a letter, explaining what happened. Try to keep it to a maximum of 4 pages. Address the letter to “Member of Congress” and tell us in the letter if you are willing to speak with a reporter or other member of the media about your story.
Mortgages used to be made by your local savings and loan, and if you had a problem you could go down and speak with the loan officer in person and straighten it out. No longer! Now mortgages may be “originated” by someone local, but then they are “securitized” or wrapped into bonds and sold to investors, who may be your neighbors or may be people in China or big mutual funds or pension plans.
The “mortgage company” that you know, is really only “servicing” the loans, sending out monthly bills, collecting the payments and seeing that the investors receive their money, in exchange for a % of the loan, usually .25 to .50% of the loan principal per year, plus the escrow “float” interest, and all the late fees and other charges that they can collect.
If you call some mortgage servicers these days, if you can reach anyone at all, you may find yourself speaking to someone in Mumbai, India and find it very difficult to solve a problem, if not impossible. Why? The mortgage servicer that bought your servicing rights wants to spend as little as possible for customer service.
You have rights to have your complaints heard by your mortgage servicer, through a federal law known as the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA). Your complaint must be in writing and sent to the address that your mortgage company uses for “Qualified Written Requests.” For information about how to do this, go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/ consumer/homes/rea10.shtm.
If you are in deep trouble with your mortgage or other debts and want to discuss your alternatives, call and speak to Mr. Black at 713-772-8037, or email [email protected] ■
Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking. — J.C. Watts, Jr., Politician
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. — Plato (c. 427-347 B.C.) Philosopher and Educator
Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal. –Mike Ditka former Pro Football Coach
Don’t Pay For Loan Modification Services!
A client told Mr. Black last week that she had paid almost $3000 to a service that claimed that they could get her a Loan Modification of her mortgage. They did not do anything! Folks, don’t do that!
If you need help getting a Loan Modification, go to www.hud.gov and click on “I Want To Talk To a Housing Counselor” or call 1-800-569-4287 to locate a certified housing counselor. Their services are low-cost or free.
Foreclosure prevention counseling services are available free of charge through HUD’s Housing Counseling Program. Housing Counseling agencies participating in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program are not permitted to charge consumers for these specific housing counseling services. Counseling recipients should not pay for these services. However, housing counseling agencies are permitted to charge reasonable and customary fees for other forms of housing counseling and education services, including pre-purchase, reverse mortgage, rental, and non-delinquency post-purchase counseling services.
A little humor
The Donkey Racing Edition (rated PG)
A preacher wanted to raise money for his church and, being told that there was a fortune in horse racing, decided to purchase a horse and enter the races. However, at the local auction, the going price for horses was so steep that the preacher ended up buying a donkey. He figured that since he had it, he might as well go ahead and enter it in the races. The donkey came in
The next day, the daily racing form carried this headline: “PREACHER’S ASS SHOWS”
The preacher was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the race again. This time the donkey won the race, and the racing form read: “PREACHER’S ASS OUT IN FRONT”
The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the preacher not to enter the donkey in another race. The racing form carried this headline: “BISHOP SCRATCHES PREACHER’S ASS”
This was too much for the Bishop, and he ordered the preacher to get rid of the animal. The preacher decided to give it to a nearby convent. The headlines the next day read: “NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN”
The Bishop fainted. He informed the nun that she would have to dispose of the donkey and she found a farmer who was willing to buy it for $10.00. The next day’s headlines read: “NUN PEDDLES ASS FOR $10.00″
They buried the Bishop, who had died of a heart attack, and the next day the headline read:
“TOO MUCH ASS RESPONSIBLE FOR BISHOP’S DEATH” ■
Call Us If You Need Us. We Also Welcome Referrals —
Are bill collectors threatening to take your home or garnish your wages? Are they threatening to do anything else that they are not allowed to by law?
Is your mortgage company charging you fees and costs that are not due? Are you just overwhelmed with debt?
Facing a foreclosure or repossession? Is the I.R.S. threatening to levy your wages or other property? If any of these situations describes you, contact Mr. Black at 713-772-8037 or make an appointment to go see him. ■
ARE YOU IN CHAPTER 13 NOW?
Always keep the law office updated with your current address, telephone numbers, and email address. We may need to reach you quickly.
You can check on the status of your Trustee payments, how much you still owe on your case, etc., by going to www.13datacenter.com to set up your user ID and password.
Lose job or overtime? Expenses increase? Want to give up property to lower payments? Call the office for a Motion to Modify worksheet. Complete it and fax it to the office at 713-772-5058. We’ll review it and contact you if a change to your plan is possible.
J. Thomas Black was licensed as an attorney in Texas by the Texas Supreme Court in May, 1982. Mr. Black is Board Certified in Consumer Bankruptcy law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.