April 3rd, 2013
***The OCC and Federal Reserve released additional guidance regarding the Independent Foreclosure Agreement payments on April 9, 2013. To view the newly announced payment categories, click here. To view the full announcement from April 9th, click here.
Over the past few days, we’ve received several comments on our blog from readers asking about the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) agreement and, specifically, the recent mailing of postcards to those who are eligible for compensation. First and foremost, we suggest that all those with questions visit the OCC’s website and read its list of “Independent Foreclosure Review Settlement Frequently Asked Questions,” which provides detailed answers to many of the questions that were posted on our blog. The FAQ also includes a breakdown of the servicers that are participating in the IFR agreement and those that are continuing with the review process.
April 2nd, 2013
Within the last two weeks, more than four million families who were hurt by unfair foreclosure practices and had requested remediation through the OCC’s Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) program received postcards about anticipated settlement checks to compensate them for some portion of their loss. HPF’s HOPE Hotline is listed as a source of information for anyone who might have questions about the IFR program. Continue Reading…
March 13th, 2013
NeighborWorks America last week announced findings from a new independent study, which found that homebuyers who receive pre-purchase counseling and education are one-third less likely to become seriously delinquent within 24 months of loan origination. Not only does that bode very well for homeowners who, with the proper guidance, are experiencing homeownership success, it may also make counseling a more attractive offering for lenders, who can suffer losses estimated at more than $50,000 if a delinquent loan goes into foreclosure. Continue Reading…
March 8th, 2013
Kudos to CNBC anchor Becky Quick for her Fortune column in the February 25th issue about homeowners not taking advantage of the government-sponsored HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program), which has been expanded several times to allow for more homeowners to qualify. The plethora of mortgage scams and wrongdoings has made consumers weary of even government-sponsored programs, leaving them to conclude that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Continue Reading…
March 6th, 2013
As it is National Consumer Protection Week, I thought I’d use the occasion to give a shout out to David Segal, an intrepid New York Times reporter who investigates egregious acts of consumer abuse in a bi-weekly column called “The Haggler.” Sadly, Mr. Segal has no shortage of hair-raising material. Continue Reading…
March 3rd, 2013
Today marks the beginning of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), a nationwide campaign dedicated to encouraging people to better understand their consumer rights and make more informed financial decisions.
As a partner of the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network – a national anti-scam effort comprised of multiple organizations that runs the Loan Modification Scam Alert Campaign – HPF is supporting NCPW by educating homeowners on loan modification scams and directing them to free, legitimate mortgage resources, including our HOPE Hotline.
HPF reminds consumers that one of the leading signs of a loan modification scam is when an individual or organization requires an upfront fee for a loan modification service; doing so is illegal, which is why consumers can call our professionally trained counselors to receive loan modification counseling free of charge.
HPF also encourages consumers to be wary of web-based loan modification services that “guarantee” modifications, since only lenders can guarantee a mortgage solution.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a scam, call 888-995-HOPE (4673) to speak with an HPF counselor for free. You can also visit our scam warning signs page to learn more about how to avoid being scammed.
Click here to read the news release about the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network’s support of National Consumer Protection Week.
February 13th, 2013
In 2012, HPF’s HOPE Hotline received over one million calls for the fifth consecutive year. That means that over one million consumers picked up the phone last year to call a crisis hotline regarding their finances and, specifically, their ability to pay their mortgage.
These statistics are contrary to the many indications that the housing market is in recovery: CoreLogic reported that housing prices are up; RealtyTrac says foreclosures are down; and the US Census Bureau announced that homes are once again being built. These improvements, all reported by extremely credible sources, are very good news for homeowners, especially those who are underwater on their mortgages or whose home values have depreciated because of an abundance of distressed properties in their neighborhoods. Continue Reading…
February 11th, 2013
HPF is proud of the wealth of talent on our board. Our directors have very diverse and accomplished backgrounds in public service, the financial services industry, and academia. The common attribute that binds them all together is a commitment to public service. The only compensation our directors receive is the satisfaction that comes from helping oversee an organization whose primary mission is to help financially distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure and to strengthen the institution of homeownership nationally.
As our directors don’t get public recognition for their HPF board work, we take satisfaction when they are honored for their other accomplishments. So we are incredibly proud that founding member and longstanding board member Sharon Sayles Belton is having a Minneapolis bridge named in her honor. Continue Reading…
February 5th, 2013
In addition to assisting homeowners with their mortgage needs, HPF’s counselors often refer homeowners to other community resources such as job training, food assistance, and utility aid. HPF accesses information on these additional resources through a company called MortgageKeeper Referral Services, which was created by President and Co-Founder Rochelle Nawrocki Gorey to link consumers who are struggling financially with local community services that they might not be able to find on their own. Here is a recent Q&A with Ms. Gorey:
February 1st, 2013
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris recently announced arrests related to six fraudulent websites that allegedly targeted struggling homeowners with claims of reducing mortgage debt for an upfront fee. Not only is charging an upfront fee illegal, but the individuals behind the websites then did nothing to satisfy the debt with the lender, instead allegedly creating fraudulent legal documents that made homeowners believe they were getting the help they needed. HPF compliments Attorney General Harris for taking action to shut down these sites before more homeowners fall victim. Continue Reading…