Saturday, June 12, 2010

Success! Permanent Modification Paperwork Received Today!

When I saw the thick Fed Ex envelope from IndyMac/OneWest, I ripped it open, hoping against hope that it would the permanent HAMP modification documents. To my joy, that’s exactly what I found inside.


I immediately started dancing around the house (or hopping on one foot, since I sprained my ankle the other day, lol) absolutely giddy with happiness. I felt light on my feet, in a way I hadn’t felt in a very long time, at least since before this nightmare began. I hugged my husband tightly and both of us rejoiced: that nightmare is finally over.


Here are the details of my modification:


Principal balance: $258,780.07

Deferred principal: $16,536.08

Term: 37 years

Interest rate: 2 percent

Payment (P&I plus taxes and insurance): $997.27

Modification effective date: 7/1/2010


The deferred principal will be forgiven on the maturity date, so there is no balloon payment unless we pay off early, sell, or we refinance. Since I don’t plan to sell or refinance, this works for me. If I ever have the good fortune to be able to pay off the entire balance, I’m sure, I’d have enough to pay the deferred portion anyway. :)


While we are still underwater by more than $100K, I am not troubled by that because this house is my home, not an investment. It has intrinsic value beyond dollars and cents to me and my family, so regardless of its market value, I am content to make my payments and be secure that I am no longer in danger of foreclosure. Likewise, I am also content that I have an affordable mortgage.



As I write this, my happiness is tempered by the knowledge that there are still families out there languishing in modification hell. The HAMP program needs more work and more resources need to be brought to bear on the foreclosure menace.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

HAMP Loan Modification Offer Received After A Year!

Good news! Last Thursday I received a Priority Mail package from IndyMac/OneWest. In it was a HAMP trial mod offer which would lower our payments to an affordable level, and if it is approved in the end, will result in saving my home.


Emotions are running amok inside me right now. I am happy to finally have the offer and I am also scared that it will end up being ultimately rejected either become somehow I have too much income or not enough income I can verify.


Being self-employed makes things a little harder than if I had a job with paystubs and the like, but it I can document what I earn. Whether they will accept that documentation is something I’ll have to find out.


I know if I get this mod, it will be a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. This past year has not been easy and has definitely taken a toll on my health and my sanity. It has also been difficult for my husband who is always calm, cool and collected. Even his temper is running remarkably short these days, no doubt due to too much stress.


When I think of the bankers and investors on Wall Street who created this mess and basically wrecked the economy to the point that we’re pretty much in another Great Depression, I get really angry. Most especially in light of the lack of humility and remorse among that crowd.


There is plenty of evidence that at the very least, these people were negligent. These guys are not unsophisticated folks who got taken for a ride. At all levels, it was known that the quality of the mortgages were not good and that their very design made them doomed to eventually fail.


I hope that the government takes a closer look at this and the Wall Street people are held to some degree accountable for what they’ve done. Given the climate in Washington and the amount of access to our Congressmen, Senators, and even our President that the bank lobby has, I doubt that anything will happen to them.


For myself, if I am able to get a permanent loan modification, I will be able to save my home. I will be happy with that and I will hope that other families will be able to do the same.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Really Bad Mod Offer Received

Well, I finally got a mod offer from OneWest. Only it doesn’t really modify anything about the loan. The only thing it does is take the arrearage and throw it into the back end of the loan. It doesn’t change the interest rate nor the terms. The loan would remain as toxic since the interest rate could increase and I could then wind up in the same exact position I am in today and I would still not be in a position to actually be paying the thing off, ever.


You know, had they done this back in December 2008 when they threw the escrow account in there that screwed everything up, I would have happily accepted it and I never would have gone delinquent. I would still be asking for a modification under HAMP, but there would be no rush, and my family and I would not be so stressed out.


So do I take a bad mod offer merely to get out from under the guns? Do I take this offer and hope that interest rates don’t go up in the near future to give my husband a chance to find work?  I don’t know. The loan itself is not sustainable. Even if interest rates were to stay the same, I would only be paying the interest and never paying down on the loan. I would effectively be renting my house, with no guarantee that the rent would not be jacked up to an unaffordable level at any time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Obama Doesn’t Get It

I don’t know what happened to the man I elected to be president in 2008. That man is nowhere to be found…you know the one who was talking about “change” and how business as usual wasn’t going to cut in his White House.


Well, apparently, he is ok with JP Morgan/Chase’s CEO, Janie Dimon, and Goldman Sucks, excuse me, Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s  outrageous salaries and bonuses even though both of them basically ran their companies into the ground, and if they hadn’t been bailed out by the taxpayer last year, wouldn’t have made anything.  Obama does not begrudge them their success because “that’s what the free market is about.”


Free market, excuse me? I thought the free market was about allowing the weaker companies whose leadership made poor decisions fail while allowing smaller companies with smarter leaders take their place. I thought it was about competition.


I guess I was wrong. I guess competition and things like moral hazard only apply when you’re the middle class family who has fallen into poverty and is faced with foreclosure…because I hear all sorts of talk of moral hazard when it comes to the government helping a family like this save their home.


My disappointment in Obama can’t be described in words. We needed an FDR and we got a Herbert Hoover.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Apparently I Make Too Much Money

Yes, you read that right: OneWest denied my NACA mod request because they say my payment is already below 31% of my income. Huh???

All of my paperwork clearly shows my payment is in excess of 41% of my income, so my NACA negotiator is quite baffled by this response. Of course it is in line with the fact that OneWest has no interest in helping anyone.

I am now very worried that they will start the foreclosure process, which I have thus far evaded for more than a year now, by making at least one full payment a month, although never catching up on the three months I remain behind, but this month I have received no Breach letter which gives me the date by which I must make my next payment. Moreover, they’re not calling me constantly, haranguing me about payment.

I am very afraid that the process will be starting, and once that happens, options become extremely limited. If indeed they want to start foreclosure, even though I am making every effort to pay as a gesture of good will and to show how much I want to keep my house, I will be very upset.

Of course, my being upset will change nothing and won’t help me save my home. The only reason I am fighting so hard is because of my 80 year old mother who lives with us and whose home, really, at the end of the day, this is. My mother loves this house and has put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it. So have my husband and I. But for her, there is the additional dimension of the fact that her daughter died in this house ten years ago this February 19.

I can’t allow them to take this house. That has never been an option, but I am running out of places to turn.

I actually spoke to a lawyer who was willing to sue my servicer, but he wants $5000 to start. In my heart of hearts, I know that the courts are the only place I’ll see justice here, but where I am going to get $5000?

Well, enough of this sob story. Millions of other Americans are in my position and my heart goes out to them. I hope all of you find help soon.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Protest Takes Backseat To Water Heater Trouble

I really wanted to attend the protest, but my water heater decided that it just had to break the day before, and I had to forgo attending in order to deal with that troublesome appliance.


I did check  on the Internet and I checked on TV, but I did not see any media coverage of a large protest outside of IndyMac/OneWest’s  Pasadena office, so I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if anyone actually showed up. If it was only a few people, or if there wasn’t anyone there, then it would not have gotten any coverage, and that would be a shame.


I did receive a mass-mail out from IndyMac/OneWest inviting me to apply for a HAMP mod. This is a good thing, right? It shows IndyMac/OneWest is reaching out to its troubled borrowers, you might think.


Well, yes, except for the fact that when you read the list of documents that is required, there are two blatant lies right in the modification application. Two lies that would discourage certain people from applying and that make it exceedingly hard to meet the purported documentation requirements, almost impossible, you might say. The first is a requirement for self employed persons to submit an audited profit and loss statement or one signed by a CPA and the second is that if you’re using unemployment of disability income, that it must be expected to last for at least three years to be considered as income.


First of all, there is no requirement in HAMP for an audited profit and loss statement. Initially, this was unclear, but since then, the HAMP documentation makes it clear that while profit and loss statements are required of self employed persons, it is not required that they be audited. Such a requirement would make applying for a modification prohibitively expensive, and since people who need modifications are already in financial difficulty, it makes NO sense to require them to spend even more money that they don’t have. Lacking an audit or a compilation (where a CPA looks at your books and compiles your profit and loss statement based on your books,) no CPA will simply look at your profit and loss and sign it. There is no such thing, so IndyMac/OneWest is asking for an impossibility.


As for UI benefits, HAMP provisions are clear that if there are 9 or more months remaining of UI benefits,  UI counts as income. This is a recent provision, and a good one, since jobs are scarce and more and more people are out of work.


The application is full of lies…no, not misinformation, not mistaken information, but outright lies, for IndyMac/OneWest has no interest in modifying anyone’s loans. They make too much off of foreclosures thanks to the sweetheart deal the FDIC made with them. Thanks, FDIC!


Think I am making this up? Out of 1711 trial modifications, there have been ZERO permanent ones offered by IndyMac/OneWest.  While they might talk a good game and pretend to “be there to help,” nothing can be further from the truth.

Friday, January 1, 2010

How Do You Sleep At Night?

This post is aimed at George Soros, Michael Dell, and Steve Mnuchin, the owners/primary investors of IndyMac/OneWest.

The deal you struck with the government renders any effort by me or others like me to get a loan modification in order to save our homes useless. Why? Because your loss-sharing agreement with the FDIC will certainly always make it more profitable to foreclose rather than to modify.

Instead of being honest about your intentions, you hide them by signing on to the HAMP program, and with NACA. You drag homeowners like me along for a year, extracting inflated payments that I can’t afford, and for which I sacrifice or at least juggle other necessities to pay. Your customer service representatives have the nerve to try and charge me $20 for the privilege of making said inflated payment to boot.

Why don’t you just be honest about your intentions? Yes, you’ll take public flak, but you’re already extremely unpopular anyway. Don’t think we love you or are praising you simply because we’re still in our homes…we know our days are numbered and eventually we’ll be forced out.

By being honest, you can at least let us make the proper decisions to see to our best benefit, just as you are seeing to yours. Maybe our best benefit is to stop paying you a single penny and save every time to secure a new place to live. What is not in our best interests is to be kept on the loan modification merry-go-round forever, all while you suck us dry…which I guess is the point.