Monday, June 25, 2012

Mortgage Payments and Duluth Flooding

The Minnesota Homeownership Center has received word that Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has established a process to help homeowners that are dealing with the after-effects of the devastating flooding from last week's rain in Duluth.

Wells is offering up to a 45-day moratorium on loan accounts - provided homeowners notify them that they have been impacted by the flooding.  According the Wells, the moratorium stops all payments, reporting to credit bureaus, late fees, collections and any foreclosure action.

What should Wells Fargo Home Mortgage clients do if they've been affected by the flooding?  There are two options:

  1. Homeowners can call a specialized customer service agent at 1-888-818-9147.  These agents can assist customers with a forbearance or workout plan if needed. They also assist with any insurance questions or claims. 
  2. Customers can visit the "Getting Disaster Assistance" page on the Wells Fargo Website.  This page highlights the disaster assistance hotline and other ways Wells can help customers with claims questions or payment options.

In addition, homeowners affected by the flooding should also contact a member of the Homeownership Advisors Network if they are find themselves struggling with payments due to the flooding... or need other assistance with finding reputable help to rebuild.  For Duluth, homeowners should contact 1 Roof Community Housing.

We'll update this post, and others, as we learn what other lenders, servicers and mortgage insurers are doing to help their clients recover from the flooding.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Foreclosure Review Deadline Extension and Details Released

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), one of the Federal regulators that took enforcement action against large residential mortgage servicers for unsafe and unsound practices related to residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing, announced today that they have extended the deadline for borrowers to request an Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) until September 30th, 2012.

This announcement is so new that as of today, even the official IFR website still states that the deadline is July 31st.

More importantly, the OCC and the Fed have released a Financial Remediation Frameworkdocument which outlines the possible remedies borrowers can expect to receive - and the financial compensation they may be eligible for - as a result of the IFR process.

For months, consumers and their advocates have asked us - why bother??  And now the answer is clear... the financial 'remedy' consumers may receive if the independent review finds that their lender committed an error in their foreclosure process can be SUBSTANTIAL - - Up to $125,000 plus equity losses!

For additional information about IFR... view our past blog posts here and here.

If you were in the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010... don't let this opportunity slip by.  Contact us today to learn more.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Preforeclosure Notices Continue Downward Trend

Special thanks to Aaron Dickinson for reminding us that we hadn’t released our first quarter pre-foreclosure data.  THANKS AARON!

On  Thursday, June 7th, the Minnesota Homeownership Center released its data on the aggregate number of Preforeclosure Notices received by foreclosure counselors in the Homeownership Advisors Network for the first quarter of 2012 (January through March).  The numbers, while increasing slightly from Q4 2011, show that the number of struggling households in Minnesota continues its downward trend. 

In the first quarter of 2012, members of the Homeownership Advisors Network received 12,106 preforeclosure notices, up very slightly (.75%) from Q4 2011, but 17% fewer than during the same time period in 2011:

Click To Enlarge

Encouragingly, the number of pre-foreclosure notices is down in every area of the state… except for two areas that seem to have bucked the downward trend.  We’ll continue to monitor these two areas to see if this is a trend… or just an anomaly:

  • Scott & Carver Counties reported an increase of 7% (From 558 to 599 notifications); and
  • Wilkin & Clay Counties reported a 40% increase – although small numeric changes in this area can show large variations in the percentage (40 households received a notice in Q1 2011, while 56 households received a notification in Q1 2012). 

While these numbers are encouraging, there were still over 12,000 households that received a preforeclosure notice in the first quarter of 2011:

Click To Enlarge

Here's the breakdown for the number of preforeclosure notices received by members of the Homeownership Advisors Network in the 7-county metro area:

Click To Enlarge

As background, Minnesota state law (MN Statute 580.021) requires that the foreclosing party provide information regarding foreclosure prevention counseling services to the mortgagor (homeowner) and provide the homeowner’s name, address, and most recent known telephone number to an approved foreclosure prevention counseling agency before filing the notice of pendency.

Once the Minnesota Homeownership Center's network of foreclosure counselors receives notification from the lender/servicer/homeowners association, they then contact the homeowner, and track the number of notifications received during the month in their monthly reporting to the Center.

Most importantly, if you or someone you know is struggling with their mortgage payment, new programs, resources and assistance are becoming available all the time. Don’t give up… contact a foreclosure counselor that is a member of the Homeownership Advisors Network today to see if there’s help available for you to avoid foreclosure. Even if you’re not yet behind, now is the time to call. To find your local foreclosure counselor, click here.