James came into our office in the last several days with a story about his mortgage woes, which we are seeing with all too much regularity. With his only source of income being his $1,550 Social Security benefit, James was extremely hard-pressed to keep up with his $750 per month payment on his $100,000 mortgage. That being the case, he approached his bank early this year about refinancing his mortgage to lower his 8.375 percent interest rate.
Over the course of the next several months, his bank led James to believe it would work with him in allowing him to obtain a lower monthly mortgage payment. It even sent him several financial packages to complete, furthering his belief that help was on the way. Based upon that belief, James stopped making his mortgage payment. Unfortunately, James’ trust was misplaced, as the bank never really even considered him for a modification or refinance of his mortgage.
And here’s the really important part of James’ story for many homeowners struggling with their mortgages – James in fact does qualify for relief under several federal programs. First, under the HAMP guidelines, it appears clear that James’ payment should be no more than $500 per month, including taxes and insurance. Further, since his is a Fannie Mae loan, Fannie’s servicing guidelines mandate that the loan servicer work with James to help him to be able to stay in his home by offering him mortgage relief.
Of course, these programs were not offered to him, which is a very common phenomenon. Violations of federal law in the mortgage relief area are extremely common for two reasons: 1) It is profitable for the banks to foreclose; and 2) there is no enforcement of the federal laws. No doubt these factors have led to millions of people losing their homes when they should have been offered relief which would have allowed them to save them.Therefore, if you are a homeowner struggling with your mortgage, the question you must ask yourself is, “Do I qualify for federal mortgage relief?”
Copyright 2013 Daniel L. McGookey