Obama Pressing for a “Shock and Awe” Mortgage Mod Program, 3 Million in 6 Months

Given how well “shock and awe” worked in the Iraq war, I’d see the Administration’s use of that expression in the context of the mortgage mess as a Freudian slip.

I must confess to being surprised at the report by Shahien Nasiripour of Huffington Post, namely that the Administration is pushing for an even more aggressive-looking mortgage modification program than has been rumored. The reason I’m surprised is that this effort, even though it appears misguided on several fronts and falls far short of what is needed, represents an upping of the demands being made against banks. That is contrary to both the Obama Administration’s past behavior of making great sounding promises and walk them so far back as to wind up in a different country, and of inconveniencing the banks terribly much. But Shahien is an able reporter, so I’m sure he has the facts right.

The scorecard thus far appeared to be that the state attorneys general were the only group moving forward against the foreclosure fraud, but the bold promises of criminal prosecutions were quickly recanted. Instead, a 27 page outline of their settlement demands was leaked. As we discussed, it was a disappointment. Virtually all of it merely insisted that banks obey existing law. It has only two new requirements. One was ending dual track (if a bank is entering into a modification discussion or program with a borrower, it cannot keep moving forward in parallel with a foreclosure). The other was “single point of contact,” meaning having one person at the bank serve as case manager and be the interface with the borrower. We deemed that to be operationally unworkable even if the banks had their records and systems working well. And if they got those in order, borrowers would not need a designated person to make sure a modification request was handled properly.

There was also a rumor, which was connected to the AG negotiations, that the banks would be asked to make mortgage modifications at their own expense, and the number $20 billion was bandied about. The AGs and the Federal regulators seemed to be collaborating closely, which we also objected to; the state and Federal issues are very different. The idea that the banks would be pressured to make mods has gotten a huge amount of pushback in the media and from Republican legislators; there appears to be a full bore PR salvo underway.

Now notice all these ideas are being evaluated in a vacuum. We don’t know what liability the banks would be released from (the legal term is what form of release they would receive). Nor do we or the regulators have an even remotely adequate understanding of all the bad stuff the banks did. The media and anti-foreclosure attorneys have reported on various abuses, most importantly, servicer driven foreclosures, in which the borrower has either made all his payments, or perhaps been late on one or two, and impermissible application of payment, fee pyramiding and junk fees quickly drive a minor arrearage that most borrowers could correct into a foreclosure.

So despite my caviling, if the release covered only robo-signing and false affidavits, this deal (the 27 page term sheet plus a commitment to do mortgage mods) would be a very good deal for homeowners. But if it was a broad waiver, it would be a steal for the banks.

With that as an overlong but necessary background, the latest development looks like a ratcheting up of the effort against the banks, and perhaps a shift in who is in the driver’s seat among the Federal regulators. It had appeared that originally the Treasury was leading the cross-regulatory Foreclosure Task Force; it was the Treasury’s Michael Barr who spoke before the Financial Stability Oversight Council to launch it officially last November. Even then we deemed it to be an exercise in window-dressing that would make the bank stress tests look tough. It went from bad to worse when John Dugan of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the most bank friendly regulator, spoke at recent Congressional hearings and indicated that the task force reviewed 2800 loan files of delinquent borrowers (from the bank side only; as we have stressed, independent verification was impossible given the compressed time frame for the whitewash exams) and found all bank foreclosures to be warranted. Needless to say, those who have been paying attention to this story saw the results as proof of the lack of interest in getting to the bottom of bank abuses. And the OCC playing a prominent role seemed to be further confirmation.

So here are the highlights from the Huffington Post story:

The Obama administration is seeking to force the nation’s five largest mortgage firms to reduce monthly payments for as many as three million distressed homeowners in as little as six months as part of an agreement to settle accusations of improper foreclosures and violations of consumer protection laws….

The modified mortgages could cost the five financial behemoths — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial — as much as $30 billion…

t also could lead to reduced mortgage payments or lowered loan balances for nearly two-thirds of the 4.7 million delinquent homeowners who have yet to fall into foreclosure, according to data provider Lender Processing Services.

The aim is to ensure the number of assisted borrowers is spread throughout the country, and that banks modify both expensive and inexpensive mortgages, people involved in the talks said. Banks also would likely forgive mortgage principal in situations where a pre-determined formula dictated that it was the best way to modify a home loan. Balances on second mortgages and home equity loans — of which nearly half of all outstanding loans are owned by BofA, JPMorgan, Citi and Wells — would also have to be written down.

That would then kick-start the healing process needed to clear the large overhang of repossessed and soon-to-be-foreclosed homes that’s depressing house prices and sapping consumer confidence.

This is pretty bizarre. It reads like HAMP 2.0. Notice that the banks are NOT being required to make principal mods. The story simply states, “reduce monthly payments”. So the $30 billion is presumably for a combination of servicer costs, payment reductions, and some second mortgage writedowns (since the Administration has stressed that these modifications are to come out of the hide of banks, I am curious as to how a bank would compensate a securitization trust for a first mortgage mod).

But $30 billion for 3 million homeowners, even assuming every penny went to principal mods, is a mere $10,000 per borrower. If you assume the bottom end of the target participation range (1 million), the maximum dollar amount ($30 billion) and modest budget for servicer costs (10% of mod amount), the highest average you could expect is $27,000 per borrower. That’s helpful but unlikely to be outcome changing for borrowers in distress. So this exercise appears to be about maximizing participation rather than really rescuing anyone. So this exercise appears also to be a stress test 2.0: that the Administration can uses this initiative as a way to talk up real estate and put a floor under the housing market.

Why is this a terrible idea?

First, there is good reason to believe that mere payment reduction plans don’t work when the borrower is upside down. Homeowners are not dumb. Why should they struggle to keep a home if in the end they will still face negative equity if they need to exit in the next few years? What is keeping a lot of these homeowners in place is probably inertia: they like the house, their kids are in local schools, moving is disruptive, and exiting the house involves a lot of hassle and probable adverse impact on their credit record. A payment mod does not change the basic equation. By contrast, the one party known to have tried deep principal mods, distressed investor Wilbur Ross, has reported far lower redefault rates than for other types of mod programs.

And a lot of borrowers are upside down. A recent CoreLogic report found that as of fourth quarter 2010, 11.1 million homeowners had mortgage debt in excess of the value of their house. Moreover, the negative equity for those upside down by more than 50% was $450 billion.

So what is a puny $30 billion max (which will include servicer expenses) accomplish? By itself, nothing except some modification theater. In combination with principal mods, which would come from reduction in principal balances by investors, you could see a positive outcome. As we have stressed, when banks foreclose, the losses to investors are 70% and rising as home values continue to fall and foreclosure defense attorneys are making headway in local courts making arguments based on chain of title issues. All but a tiny sliver of subordinated bond holders would welcome deep principal mods. When you are looking at 70%+ losses, 30% to 50% would look like a screaming bargain.

Second, servicers have every incentive to make sure mods fail. They don’t get paid to mod. They do get paid to foreclose. Their income is based on fees based on principal balances (which is one of many reason they’ve rejected principal mods) plus fees they earn for various activities performed in foreclosures. Tom Adams estimates that servicing is costing 125 basis points today, versus income of 50 basis points coming from regular servicing fees based on principal balances plus 30 to 50 basis points based on late, junk, and foreclosure related fees. So having borrowers fail is economically attractive to servicers.

Third, servicers have never been any good at mortgage mods. Tom Adams again:
Giving a modification to a borrower, principal or otherwise, is basically underwriting a new loan. Obviously, many of the lenders have proven that they were not very good at that. However, at least they had staff and “guidelines” for making the loans.

Servicers have neither guidelines nor staff for loan underwriting. Principal modifications were just not contemplated by the securitization model.

I’ve visited dozens of lenders and servicers over a 20 year period and the only company I saw that had a real policy for modifications was Household Finance (now a part of HSBC). Their stated plan was a perpetual debt model (“generational”). They aggressively offered modifications, sometimes even for moderately delinquent borrowers. They claimed about a 25% re-default rate (I looked at data that more or less confirmed this). Of course, left unsaid was that they didn’t always mind re-defaults as they were an opportunity for additional servicer fees on a loan that was going south either way (investors wouldn’t have wanted to hear that).

The next closest thing to a modification plan was Litton, which was an advocate of short sales based on their confidence in their own valuation of the loans. Litton only serviced loans on which they were the residual holder, so they had an economic incentive similar to third party investors, as long as their was value in the residual (which is pretty unlikely now, for most deals).

As far as servicer factory floors – rather than sweatshops, they bore a resemblance to college dorms – young staff with a high turnover rate (20-40% in good times), lots of calling campaign contests, decorations, balloons, morale boosters. Typical call center stuff, though the mortgage servicers were more aggressive with the morale stuff than credit card, student loan, etc.

Very different from commercial loan servicing, where the concept of -re-underwriting, modification, workouts etc. are much more a part of normal business.

Note that Goldman is now trying to sell Litton….not that there is anyone who could possibly want to buy it.

Law professor and securitization expert Adam Levitin has argued that servicers should not do mods, that the task needs to be assigned to a third party. There have been approaches to compensate for the lack of servicer skills in this area, including having mortgage counselors play a prominent role as well as the NACA approach, where an independent group verifies and uploads key borrower documents and works with borrowers to prepare a household income and expenses spreadsheet which is a key input to a loan re-underwriting. But absent a new approach, why should a repeated failed experiment of unmotivated servicers doing mods lead to different outcomes? I much prefer his not quite a joke solution of having the banks spend the then rumored settlement amount of $20 billion on Legal Aid. The threat of borrowers chipping away at banks enough to develop class action theories or prove out the New York trust theory discussed on this blog (which would pave the way to asteroid-hitting-the-finanical system suits against trustees) might change their incentives.

Fourth, the six month timetable is nuts. Servicers are factories. As the late Tanta pointed out, it takes servicers six months to implement the software changes associated with meaningful new initiatives. Even if they did a full court press, the most they could compress it to is probably four months.

Although a lot of the chaos of HAMP mods appeared to be servicer “dog ate my homework” loss of borrower-submitted documents, there is every reason to believe that a lot of the screw-ups reflected deep-seated operational problems. Servicers are working with platforms, both software and procedural, that are already deficient and cracking under the volume of delinquent loans. Asking them to do something different, on an aggressive timetable, and in high volumes is just about certain to create a complete train wreck.

Even though we are deeply skeptical, the dynamics are curious indeed. The HuffPo account states that the Department of Justice is leading the negotiations with the banks, and HUD, the Treasury, and the FDIC are on board. The OCC, which recently seemed to be in the driver’s seat, has apparently been marginalized. And the upping of the rumored amount to be extracted from the banks, $30 billion (admittedly a maximum, we’ll believe that when we see it) is markedly higher than the earlier $20 billion that elicited all sorts of noise.

Even though the Foreclosure Task Force’s exam was cursory, and managed to find that all foreclosures were warranted, save in a very limited number of cases when an “intervening event or condition” took place. Nevertheless, that review found legal violations (and the language suggests they go beyond the poster child of robosigning). Of course, a literature search or database query of court filings would have shown the same thing. But Walsh’s testimony in February made no mention of Federal violations (click to enlarge):

Screen shot 2011-03-16 at 5.22.32 AM

So what is the Administration’s source of leverage against the banks? In theory, it has a ton, starting (as we have pointed out in meetings with the Treasury) violations of REMIC, the IRS rules that govern securitizations (the investors would be charged but the violations result from bank failures to adhere to their representations in the pooling and servicing agreements; they have a basis for litigation, and this is a nuclear weapon level of threat). We raised it twice in an August meeting with Treasury when officials, including Geithner, piously maintained that there was little they could do about servicers. The questions about using IRS violations to bring servicers to heel were pointedly ignored. And we knew then that the issue had already been raised directly with a senior enforcement officer at the IRS who knew the REMIC rules and was initially very interested. The result? The report back was that the matter had gone over to the White House, which said it did not want to use tax as a tool of policy. Ahem, didn’t Obama swear to uphold the laws of the land?

But the bottom line, and it certainly has been consistent with the Administration’s posture, is that it sees its authority over the banks as being narrow. But the Huffington Post article mentioned consumer law violations, and the 2003 FTC/HUD action against miscreant servicer Fairbanks was based on a broad range of violations. Perhaps the powers that be revisited some of the thinking behind that action. One can only assume they have a real smoking gun; this sudden show of spine (even if the effort falls vastly short of a sound course of action) is very much out of character (although Treasury has been bloody-minded in its Volcker rule negotiations with banks, so this is not completely without precedent).

The Administration’s argument may also be that if the banks do widespread mods, they can also get consumers to waive their rights to litigate. That may be the real rationale for a broad-but-shallow strategy. No Federal or state governmental body can waive a private party’s right to seek recourse. But do the banks buy that they have real liability from chain of title issues? They appear to be in deep denial on this front, given the lack of investor lawsuits. But we are told that the reason that those who have studied the question haven’t acted isn’t that they think they have a weak case, but if they prevailed, it would blow up the banking system, which isn’t exactly in their interest. But if they came up with a more limited basis for action, they might well proceed if only to pressure servicers to do meaningful principal mods.

But even with this new desire by the officialdom to press forward, it isn’t clear the other moving parts will line up. The Administration is also pushing the state attorneys general to wrap up their settlement. But that group appears to be fracturing, with defections expected on the Republican side and probable among some Democrat AGs as well (the article mentions New York’s Eric Schneiderman as a possible holdout; we are also told the Nevada AG Catherine Masto is not keen about the deal). The banks also want a pound of flesh to come from Fannie and Freddie, which makes sense given that we have gotten reports from readers of HAMP mods being approved by servicers and nixed by the GSEs.

This is all very curious indeed. My gut (and it could prove to be dead wrong) is that there is no negotiating space between the banks and the Administration, that the bid and offer are too far apart. The haste on the part of the Administration to wrap things up is not likely to help them in the absence of a real threat; undue eagerness to strike a deal is usually a sign of weakness. But the $30 billion may also be on the table to give room to negotiate down for the banks to save face. Since the Obama Administration has never been very good at negotiating, the results even on a level of bargaining are likely to be underwhelming.

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  1. attempter

    This is absurd. We knew going into the first HAMP that putting the servicers themselves in charge of it indicated it was a scam. Doing that a second time is adding insult to injury.

    We know exactly what’s going to happen. The banks will receive this illicit, unconstitutional retroactive charter to break the law. (And it’ll be very expansive.)

    Then their alleged obligation under the deal, to be carried out under their own supervision, and whatever “regulation” is supposed to enforce it, will come to nothing.

    Bet it.

    (And as the post says, even if it were punctiliously carried out, it would be woefully inadequate to the unfolding disaster.)

    Not that the scope of the liability release matters much anyway. This government was never going to hold the banks accountable under any circumstances.

    1. Antifa

      Obama begins negotiations with what he wants, and then immediately begins giving away the store just to get the other side to agree to something.

      Agreement is his only goal — the deal, the details, the consequences, the cost never enter his head. The other guys could be walking away with his wallet, his pants, the conference table, the horse he rode in on and the deed to the god-damned building but Obama is grinning because . . .

      He got bipartisan agreement! Again! What a guy!

  2. jake chase

    My gut tells me this is trial balloon horseshit. Obama negotiating with himself. No doubt he will soon be declaring victory, perhaps parachuting into a banker resort fiesta while the assembled fling Franklins into space. I admire your ability to continue parsing all this stupidity. I would not be surprised if housing is now down 50% from the high, but in most places nobody knows for certain since you can’t sell one.

    1. Leviathan

      Well said, JC.

      Yves, I am deeply impressed by this detailed analysis of a new program that almost certainly amounts to little more than propagandistic tripe.

      You cannot approach this as a serious program to help underwater homeowners.

      It is a political document!! As such it is addressed to three separate groups: 1) the homeowners themselves (“Don’t worry, help is on the way”–it’s not); 2) the president’s political supporters (“I understand HAMP was a failure and we’re working on a rewrite”–they’re not); and 3) the Republicans who are demanding cuts in–really, the elimination of–HAMP and the other failed “rescue” programs (“We’re very busy here saving the country”–they’re not).

      It is a sick joke from a deeply unserious administration that is trying to put lipstick on a pig to win a 2nd term. NO WAY.

  3. Tom Crowl

    The work you are doing here is so important! Another fine post pointing out how inadequate and out-of-touch our leaders in politics and finance are… and how disconnected from commons sense.

    (a caveat: that assumes they want to act in a way beneficial too the economy and nation as a whole which may be a questionable assumption)

    A Thought Experiment:

    Let’s say that I own a second home in a town and sell it to a local resident with great credit, etc. and carry the mortgage myself receiving a monthly income from it.

    Things are fine for a while. But then the town’s factory burns down and half the town is out-of-work… including the lady paying on that mortgage.

    Housing prices crash in the town. She defaults. Market is dead. No likely buyers.

    What should I do as the guy expecting that payment every month?

    Reduce her payment temporarily?

    Reduce her payment permanently but with no principal mod?

    Reduce her balance AND payment?

    Foreclose but let her stay temporarily as renter with payment at market rate till new sale completed?

    Allow her to ‘re-buy’ at new price (variation on mod)

    Or should I kick her out, leaving my house bare and unattended with zero prospects for a quick (or even slow) resale at any price remotely near its previous valuation?

    What would you do?
    How would you manage YOUR asset?
    What’s fair here? Does that matter?

    To be fair this in not strictly an analogous situation…
    Because in the real world situation… our investor’s AND former homeowner’s interests have bee poorly served by corrupted intermediaries instrumental in destroying the economy that supported the investment.

    And healthy response cannot be expected from intermediaries who constantly receive this message:

    “Don’t sweat it dudes. You guys are the real Americans! And thanks for the contribution! Rest assured, we’ll cover your asses no matter what! BTW, I’m leaving this lame government job soon… you guys got any work over there?”

  4. JP Warchild

    This 2008 FTC settlement with EMC Mortgage sure has been effective, right?



    The proposed settlement requires Bear Stearns and EMC to pay $28 million to redress consumers who have been injured by the illegal practices alleged in the complaint. In addition, the settlement bars the defendants from future law violations and imposes new restrictions and requirements on their business practices. Specifically, the settlement:

    * bars the defendants from misrepresenting amounts due and any other loan terms;
    * requires them to possess and rely upon competent and reliable evidence to support claims made to consumers about their loans;
    * bars them from charging unauthorized fees, and places specific limits on property inspection fees even if they are authorized by the contract;
    * prohibits them from initiating a foreclosure action, or charging any foreclosure fees, unless they have reviewed all available records to verify that the consumer is in material default, confirmed that the defendants have not subjected the consumer to any illegal practices, and investigated and resolved any consumer disputes; and
    * prohibits the defendants from violating the FDCPA, FCRA, and TILA.

    The proposed settlement further requires Bear Stearns and EMC to establish and maintain a comprehensive data integrity program to ensure the accuracy and completeness of data and other information that they obtain about consumers’ loan accounts, before servicing those accounts. The defendants must obtain an assessment from a qualified, independent, third-party professional within six months and then every two years, for the next eight years, to assure that their data integrity program meets the standards of the order.

    The proposed settlement also contains record-keeping and reporting provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance with the order.

    1. Stanley Putra

      EMC and Bear were the investors on a house that I just lost why was I not offered any settlemen?
      Stan Putra
      Racine, Wi

    2. Stanley Putra

      EMC and Bear were the investors on a house that I just lost why was I not offered any settlement?
      Stan Putra
      Racine, Wi

  5. vlade

    I’m wondering whether for investors it wouldn’t make sense to push the nuke button anyways. If they do, I assume that in a civil case they can still blink should they wish to, but once you get this moving all of sudden the balance of power changes very visibly.

    Yes, you don’t want the banks (or rather financial system) to blow up, but then it would be up to them to negotiate something that would work (and they would have to negotiate). Or if they wouldn’t, the govt’s hand would be forced to make them negotiate (or make it very clear that they care about banks more than investors).

    1. nonclassical

      One thing I keep experiencing as I read “ECONned” involves the ineptness of judicial response. I realize she is covering a lot of time period, but I see even less support from legal auspices. Doesn’t seem possible to rely in any way upon judicial favor for homeowners…

  6. arby

    The best ‘shock and awe” would be two thousand federal agents showing up with handcuffs on Wall Street. I believe that type of massive raid would accomplish a lot more to move these problems to a just resolution than any plan negotiated outside the prison environment.

    1. furiouscalves

      we also need to come up with a number. something that will convince everyone we are serious and we can handle this thing…how about 700 billion…

      shocked and awed at the pathetic numbers being put out. and lack of law enforcement.

    2. masaccio

      Jail is the only deterrent that works with white collar criminals. Fines are a cost of doing business, and no fine ever reaches a master of the universe. Even the threat of jail time clears the head, enabling the evil-doers to concentrate on saving themselves.

  7. Don

    i have a novel idea. its called Personal Accountability. the law breakers who made illegal transactions go to jail, the buyers who willingly agreed to debts are held to those debts, the rest of us pick up the tab to build a new system AFTER it is cleansed instead of the current love affair that costs us as much or more to try to keep piling more cards on to a cardhouse that is already falling.

    lets stop cheering for the loopholes and hold all sides accountable for what they did and are continuing to do.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      While your idea certainly has an innocent appeal, it is neither novel nor workable.

      Ideas are simple. Reality is hard.

      1. nonclassical

        my favorite quote from Yves’ book: “In theory, theory and practice are the same-in practice, they are different..”

        obviously no leadership from Obama..

  8. ep3

    The Huffington Post stinks. Once they sold out to AOL, I knew they were part of the oligarchy, not part of the resistance.

    1. masaccio

      You shouldn’t make that assertion about individual reporters. Nasripour was doing good work on this before the buy-out, and there is no reason to doubt his bona fides just because HuffPo sold out and hired Andrew Breitbart.

    2. nonclassical


      where’s “resistance” to Michigan disenfrachisement of democracy, as they impose sell-off or blatant giveaway of
      taxpayer paid for infrastructure and government for the people??

      Have people thought about where this leads? Weimar Republic(con)..

  9. lambert strether

    Bankster CEOs in orange jumpsuits doing the perp walk.

    Anything else is tinkering around the edges and sheerest wankery. Including, needless to say, this political document.

  10. Fred Beloit

    Oh no, not again. Another scheme to rob hard-working tax payers in order to pay off the fools who from their money are soon parted. Enough please.

  11. Steve Sewall

    I hate to disagree with Yves – this is such a thoughtful post of hers – but I do feel compelled to try to reframe the entire issue of the mortgage mod problem on the basis of my 24-month experience as a HAMP applicant. I may be right or I may wrong: the truth will be known only when I find out whether my HAMP experience has been exceptional or commonplace.

    Yves frames the mortgage mod problem as a matter of the President’s authority over the banks. My HAMP experience suggests that the President’s battle is not only with the banks – they have been unconscionable – but with the note holders, Fannie and Freddie, that are wholly owned entities of the government over which he presides.

    So here’s my experience. After 16 months of trying to get GMAC to explain its conflicting reasons for turning down my five HAMP applications, a succession of GMAC agents began telling me that it was not GMAC but Freddie Mac, my note holder, that had denied one or more of my HAMP applications – AND that Freddie had denied at least one of them after GMAC “may have” approved it. This raises the possibility that banks like GMAC pass on their recommendations to Freddie and Freddie for a final decision.

    Five GMAC agents have now confirmed that Freddie Mac denied my application using guidelines that are not HAMP guidelines. Indeed, GMAC wrote me as follows in its most recent letter of denial: “We service your loan on behalf on an investor [Freddie Mac] or group of investors that has not given us authority to approve your loan modification under the program [HAMP] requested.”

    The big question: is my HAMP experience exceptional or commonplace? If the latter, then the entire mortgage mod problem would have to be reframed along these lines:


    This points to a solution of the mortgage mod problem: for the President to discipline both the banks and Fannie and Freddie, which own 90% of U.S. mortgages.

    I’ve shared with Yves the possibility that Fannie and Freddie are in fact the hidden, furtive and covert culprits behind mortgage mod mess. She hadn’t heard of this deliciously conspiratorial possibility but she is passing it on to people who may be able to confirm or dismiss it. I sure look forward to getting a clear answer!

    I wonder how many other HAMP applicants have taken the time to find out exactly who made their loan mod decision. All it takes is a bunch of phone calls.

    1. furiouscalves

      I talked with a HAMP “employee” after being referred back to them from the OCC and the bank and about every other federal agency that may or may not be responsible. In this conversation I found out that this employee was a “sub contractor from Fannie Mae”. very confusing and not sure if it should even be legal. i asked who’s name was on the checks he received and he would not tell me. but he did assure me that he did not work for the bank.

      i am waiting for the “investors” to tell me yea or nay. The “investors” contact information that I was given by a legal request was a generic address for Freddie – very helpful. am having trouble rapping my head around the 80% ownership of the GSE’s and whether or not all requests to them should fall under FOIA – I know there are court cases along these lines for information on political contributions from Fannie. not sure where that stands.

      the collusion between the treasury, the GSE’s and the banks is as deep and long as the mississippi. and i admit they are very good at three card monty.

    2. Yves Smith Post author


      Fannie and Freddie have become 98% of the mortgage market in the wake of the crisis. They are under Federal conservatorship. The idea that Team Obama can’t make them do what it wants them to do is pretty implausible. Treasury really didn’t care until it became a huge embarrassment whether HAMP worked or not. It now appears to at least want this next plan (assuming it happens) not to threaten their authority so visibly.

      1. Steve Sewall


        Wow, great to hear from you. I have a question about your comment. I have been working on the assumption, out of ignorance perhaps, that the President himself could be ignorant of Fannie and Freddie’s possible role (as yet unproven and unknown to the public) as final determiners in a large number of HAMP loan mods.

        I wrote my comment, above, mainly on the assumption (confirmed by bankers I know) that what Freddie did with my HAMP application, it has done and is doing with other HAMP applications. Perhaps lots of them. So exactly how many? Ah, that’s the $64 dollar question. All I know for sure is that 10,000 homes are being foreclosed daily in this great land of ours.

        You noted that the Fannie and Freddie are under Federal conservatorship and that Team Obama has considerable authority over them. By this did you mean to suggest that the President’s new Shock and Awe focus on the banks alone, to the exclusion of the note holders, implies Team Obama’s knowledge that the F twins have NOT been making large numbers of HAMP loan mod decisions and requiring the banks to present them to HAMP applicants as bank decisions?

        I don’t think this is what you meant but I would like to know for sure. Perhaps you can clarify. What I really want to know is the exact role(s) Fannie and Freddie’s have been playing in the HAMP loan mod process. I suspect this role may be considerable. I hope your people get back to you on this point.

        If so, the President must come clean about it and put his Shock and Awe on the F twins, where, as you say, his team has authority to deliver SHOCK and AWE. Thanks much for this great forum – THE BEST!

    3. Mildred Wilkins


      I am so glad to have someone post here their personal story of having a mod turned down and EVENTUALLY being told that it was based on guidelines set by Fannie or Freddie.

      That is absolutely the case and I am one of the few folks who stated when HAMP as announced that it could not work because:
      a. it was voluntary
      b. lenders/servicers were allowed to write their own
      tailored procedures
      c. the investors behind the loans (especially Fannie and
      Freddie) were not going to stand for it

      Both HAMP and HAFA programs have been an exercise in futility. I am still not quite certain whether the current Administration did not understand the interplay between lender/servicer/investor and who truly holds the cards in that game (investor) or whether they were just looking for positive press and thought we wouldn’t notice when there were no positive results.

      You are totally on target when you mention that the lender/servicer pass the buck when denying their role in any decision which is made and pass it off as something which is required by the mysterious, invisible investor.

      This works to both their advantage:

      1. Supposedly the nice bank wants to help you (obviously they do or they would not have requested your paperwork 19 times)

      2. And the mean servicers won’t let them.

      The truth is that NEITHER of them wants to help anyone. But, they certainly can’t come right out and say that. So they play games and play the public with the goal of wearing folk out while continuing the foreclosure process.

      As a national trainer, teaching thousands of REALTORS, attorneys and housing counselors over the past 6 years I have heard hundreds of stories of “pass the buck back to the lender on everything from short sale decisions to modifications.”

      This is the truth:

      Lenders have in their possession very clear, written guidelines for how, when and under what circumstances they are able to make a decision on either a permanent disposal via short sale or deed-in-lieu as well as equally clear instructions which cover special forbearance or modification agreements.

      For HUD backed loans these guidelines are available at the HUD website, in the library, hidden in many thousands of pages of what is called “Mortgagee Letters”. Try http://www.hudclips.org. I am not good at attaching links so I can’t help you with that.

      Similiar guidelines are IN WRITING on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed loans and they are available, on line, for public consumption.

      The problem: You didn’t know they exist and neither do the folks who are working at the lenders and servicers across the country.

      They are required to follow them but the ‘collectors’ who are calling you have never heard of them, much less taken a class to understand them and how and when to apply them.

      I taught from these regulations for several years before I began consulting more than a year ago. *No one, in any of my classes knew there were federal regulations for handling loans in default.

      Until the general public is made aware not only that there are currently some pretty fair guidelines in place and starts to demand that lenders follow them we will remain strangled by the servicers.

      Until Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were bailed out by the federal government they could claim that they were privately held organizations and therefore exempt from disclosing their rules and regulations. That is no longer the case since the taxpayers of the US are now funding them.

      Investors who truly are ‘private investors’ do not have to share their guidelines and that is as it should be.

      I understand the “BANK GAME”. I have taught a significant number of professionals how it works and how to successfully navigate it for the benefit of their customer.

      I have no expectation that this Administration, nor the next, is going to implement anything close to broad enough, deep enough, well-funded enough or sincere enough to help get America back on track.

      If you are in a house with a mortgage:

      A. Stay there, no matter how long you have not paid and no
      matter what they tell you

      B. Know that f you bought within the past 15 years and the
      home was securitized or anyway associated with
      MERS–your title is clouded

      C. If MERS is mentioned in your mortgage, note, or deed of
      trust, there is a strong possiblity that the lender
      can NEVER provide a clear chain of title sufficient to

      D. That their inability to provide proof of ownership
      sufficient to foreclose means the loan is
      unsecured, (you still owe t, but they can’t throw you

      E. Because of all the crazy, frequently fraudulent things
      which have been done by some entity associated with
      your loan there is an incredibly good chance that you
      can get a loan modification (including a principal
      reduction to CURRENT fair market value)if you are
      persistent and savvy enough to hold out for that.

      F. If you EVER sign any more papers related to a mortgage,
      please be sure you:
      a. absolutely understand every word in the document
      b. got terms which take care of your best interests
      c. have not waived your right to legal recourse
      d. exactly have researched thoroughly what you need
      in terms of looking down the road to help you
      survive the national crisis we are yet to face

      I am respectfully, a former Fannie Mae Broker

      Author of: “Title: Clouded At the Core”
      Author of: “Avoid Foreclosure: Using a Qualified Written

      (317) 507-5105

      1. I'm Mad as Hell

        So what do I tell the sherrif when he comes to my door with the evicition notice? I’m not leaving. He’ll have other ideas.

    4. financial matters

      As with other areas of trying to paper over the financial crisis it seems like the wild west with virtually no regulation or law enforcement


      WL Ross bought American Home from its bankrupt lender parent in 2008, and later added operations and servicing contracts from H&R Block Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. Servicers collect payments from homeowners, negotiate loan modifications and foreclose on properties when borrowers default.

      In an Oct. 23, 2008, interview with Bloomberg Radio, Ross said American Home was the second-largest servicer of subprime mortgages in the U.S. and was “eager” to continue expanding. The company has servicing operations in Irvine, California, Jacksonville, Florida, and Pune, India, according to its website.

      In his lawsuit, the Ohio Attorney General said American Home required borrowers to sign loan modifications, forbearance agreements and security-retention agreements that contain “illegal and unfair provisions and are unconscionably one- sided” in the company’s favor. American Home also provided “incompetent, inadequate and inefficient customer service,” lost documents and failed to respond to requests by borrowers for assistance, according to the complaint.

      “The acts of some mortgage servicers have gone beyond the point of being negligent — they have become predatory financial practices and in Ohio, they won’t be tolerated,” Cordray said in a statement on Nov. 5, when the lawsuit was filed.


      greengiant February 5th, 2011 at 5:29 pm 24
      “Out of curiosity I searched ‘HomeSolutions’ and ‘Blue Spruce’ and found that these entities have been buying foreclosures all over the country, typically for under $10,000 each, and many of them from Fannie & Freddie. Sometimes they sell the homes onward without even registering the title in their own names. Is this a fencing operation? It would be interesting to learn what connections these entities may have to major banks.”

  12. steelhead23

    I simply cannot fathom how loan modifications could possibly alleviate the pervasive fraud in residential real estate. Would a loan mod., made by a bank, alleviate the crimes of the appraisers, loan brokers, or the banks themselves? What about the bondholders? Would the originators be obligated to eat the losses and make each and every mortgage trust whole? (no way). What about recreating faith in system for the investing public?

    This may sound like “burning down the house in order to repair it”, but what I want most is not a “good deal”, I want the perps to do hard time. Those who are underwater should simply stop paying. Let the servicers foreclose. But start sending perps to jail. It will be remarkable how fast the FIRE industry becomes more accommodating. There is simply no other solution to a financial economy which has destroyed investor trust. A note to Obama – you have misconstrued the role of government in this mess. This is not a Kumbaya situation. Real, flesh-and-blood human beings were injured by the actions of the elite on Wall Street. Millions of them. Your campaign was a beneficiary of Wall Street largess and you are trying to save their houses (yachts, Gulfstreams, etc.) Do you wish to win in 2014? Do you recognize that the original impetus for the Tea Party movement was the TARP bailout under the Bush Administration? Do you want to keep toting Wall Street’s water and straining under the Bush Administration’s yoke of failure? If you wish to win, burn down that house!

  13. Dean Sayers

    I don’t think its that complicated. Seems to me like Obama’s backers have a vested interest in the stabilization of the housing market. Given how mortgage-heavy financial institutions have been primary backers of Obama (including UBS which threatened to sell-off US-based mortgages earlier last year), it makes sense that he might be working to resolve this crisis.

  14. DanJS

    This whole thing is a “shakedown” ala Jesse Jackson and his “Rainbow Coalition” and ACORN’s “Big Nut” himself, Obama, working out his “communuity organizer” persona to “perfection.”

    The banks will “adjust to the environment” and the communities and all homeowners will see the quality of their neighborhoods continue to plummet.

    The “Jesse-types” will strut like peacocks, the “Messiah” will “claim his ‘victory'” and the PR departments of the banks will spin this into the illusion of “corporate philantrophy at its best.”

    Meanwhile the bank attorneys will continue to garner billions along with the MERS-enabled Wall Streeters who will continue to assemble “A+ investment ‘opportunities.'” The “securities” they hawk will continue to be acquired by “all-knowing” institutional investors whose “abilities” to do due diligence prudently has already been exposed as extremely faulty.

    Nations will fall to hordes of vulgar pagan who “know not the true God and His ways.”

    The wisest man in history, King Solomon, had it right…
    “All is vanity.”

    …. But all this will pass away.

    True Justice will prevail.

  15. BlaqRubi

    Any resolution that results in VICTIMS of subprime activities PAYING the banks any sums is GROSSLY ERRONEOUS on several fronts. 1. CONTRACTS are CANCELLED, VOID, MOOT and DEFECTIVE based upon FRAUD; 2. BANKS HAVE received insurance monies on 60 million foreclosed homes. Further payment will give them further unjust enrichment; 3. CRIMES such as fraudulent assignments and other documents are not addressed; 4. Homeowners and NOT compensated for the STRESS and HARDSHIPS of defending their homes, the comparitavely FEW who have done so; 5. the homeowners who walked away suffer financial devastation, loss of employment and other financial burdens, which a major reduction in mortgage payment will NOT satisfy – especially if you have NO JOB; 6. Any loan modification will STILL leave the slimy ass banks with the RIGHT to wrongfully foreclose and the banks are most likely working on a plan to THWART any loan modifications in the works; and 7. THis is simply a RIDICULOUS plan.

    If the Government wants to help the people it must first REMOVE all former bank employees (crooks) from government Including Hillary Clinton and her Goldman cronies. It must THEN make the banks pay for their crimes – in REAL jail not a federal country club. Homeowners who can prove FRAUD must be EXEMPTED from loan mondification and their homes awarded to them, period. Anything short of immediate relieve, not 6 months NOW is a complete waste of time. The banks will thwart any play within that time frame.

  16. Diogenes

    Only way to fix this mess is to cut principal balances to fair market value. And even that may not do it, as prices are still falling.

    We did a strategic default on our home in Phoenix, down in price about 50% from the peak. We have not paid for 6 mos and the servicer referred us for foreclosure. I called the investor, Freddie, and offered a deed-in-lieu. If they’re going to foreclose anyway, why not save the $50k in legal and filing fees? Nope, they said the servicer makes that decision. Servicer said you have to try a short sale first before they will accept a deed-in-lieu, per law from Congress. Short sales have about 0 chance of selling here -I know one guy who has been trying for 2+ years.

    Thing is, I also know a lot of people here still sitting on the sidelines, able to pay their mortgage, but well aware that the Mortgage Debt Relief Act and its non-taxable treatment of discharged debt expires at the end of 2012. I think a lot of these people will walk.

    And why would anyone agree to a payment mod when they see in the papers that some banks will foreclose anyway?

  17. Bravo

    With regard to investors leading the legal charge, don’t hold your breath, as way too many of them are in Freddie and Fannie sponsored trusts and are only too happy to see more homeowners go into default. Rather than take a deep principal mod, defaults allow them to get made whole by the government. I still like Adam Levitin’s suggestion of a Legal Aid fund, let’s make it $30 billion, to disburse to state attorney generals in their individual states as they see fit. Let each state then form class action groups based on similar characteristics of homeowners wronged. Couple the $30 billion legal fund with the ability for each individual homeowner to do their own investigation into wrongdoing. Jump start that process by requiring that each servicer produce clear chain of title upon request, dispensing with the current status quo that requires homeowners to go into foreclosure or bankruptcy in order to determine the extent of the fraud in their circumstance. Empower homeowners to determine the truth themselves. And to the extent that the securitization fiduciaries have committed fraud in covering their tracks, let it be known that the state attorney generals will retain the ability to pursue them criminally. The underfunded homeowners clearly need legal funding to protect themselves as noone else out there is going to do it. The federal government finds itself in the unenviable position of negotiating for and against its own interests. Better to get out of the middle of the mess and give the homeowners and the state attorney generals the legal means to fight the battles against the out of control securitization juggernaut on their own turf. Let the chips fall where they may.

  18. So Cal 7

    Adam Levitin again touches on the core issue that is really the only solution: Legal Action. He states it as providing a legal aid “Fund” to States, etc., but the essence of what he is saying is that they ONLY way the banks are going to respond is by bringing legal action against them. That is truly the only coercive weapon. It’s the weapon they use against property owners via the contract.

    If 100 new law suits were filed each week, whether individual, represented, Pro Se, Class Action, Mass Litigation, etc., and that effort were sustained, then you’d start seeing the banks talk turkey. Even property owners who are current, yet underwater have causes of action.

    Yves is right in her analysis. The servicers can’t possibly handle any deal like this, even if were real and beneficial and it would take forever and would certainly be fraught with abuses. It’s all posturing and grandstanding crap and doesen’t address the core issues. A lawsuit does.

    On the other hand…didn’t the major banks recently announce billions set aside for litigation? That’s where the action is. I say go get em. That’s what they understand and can respond to…although it could mean staff reductions…hopefully at the C-level.

  19. Drew

    OK, so why use a “foreclosure fraud compensation fund” to compensate homeowners who have not yet been “foreclosed” on? Homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage but have not yet been foreclosed on, have not been “harmed” by the robo-signing scandal (their still in their homes, how have they been harmed?). Homeowners that servicers used robo-signer to foreclosed AND TAKE POSSESSION of their homes are the only true victims in this whole mess, so far….? I don’t get it..!

    Drew T

  20. Mothra

    We need to press for impeachment, and turn our backs on a totally corrupt system. I seeth each time a writer portends an administration of enablers and employees is going to offend Manhattan.
    This “bubble” has been anaylzed endlessly, Bush III should have been impeached the moment his hoods crushed cram down. A special “fuck-you” needs to go out to Fannie Mae executives past and present. I would never wish the same hell on any of them as a multitude of American families have been through.
    Doesn’t Tom Dilion now work as ‘National Security Advisor’? – wake the hell up, these folks are acting like your enemies!!

  21. Fancy Lad

    who is still paying? don’t you see how we can destroy them?
    Can’t get out of hell withe the leg work – General Strike!!

  22. Mothra

    We need to press for impeachment, and turn our backs on a totally corrupt system. I seeth each time a writer portends an administration of enablers and employees is going to offend Manhattan.
    This “bubble” has been anaylzed endlessly, Bush III should have been impeached the moment his hoods crushed cram down. A special amount of contempt needs to be held for a few Fannie Mae executives past and present. I would never wish the same hell on any of them as a multitude of American families have been through.
    Doesn’t Tom Dilion now work as ‘National Security Advisor’? – wake the hell up, these folks are acting like your enemies!!

  23. Paul Repstock

    Yves is correct. The prime evidence of intent is the scale. $10,000 per affected household, minus fees and legal costs equals “zero”. That is somewhat less than the blanket $30,000 bribe offered by the king of Saudi Arabia in his attempt to quell disenters.

    Watch out, next come the tanks, shotguns, and Fema Camps..

  24. TONY

    MOD = Make OWN Docs
    HAMP = Hinder Any Major Prosecution
    Tarp = Tainted Assignments Require Protection
    all the above = corruption
    all of this equals violation of our rights : Due process under the law!
    Too Big to Fail,Too Big to Jail.

    1. Steve Gillan

      By doing what you suggest mean greatly increase supply (below market inventory)which only hurts the people that are “prudent”. There was a reason HAMP was for 5 years – this was to give the over all economy a chance to recover, but we can not have a recovery until we stabilize real estate values. There is also the issue of illegal activity in the foreclosure process.

      1. Paul Repstock

        As I read it, only a handfull of people ever got a benfit under HAMP. Very very few!

  25. cd

    How about we go back to the 80’s and 90’s and let foreclosures take 90 days and find some kind of bottom.

    Banks, lenders, ratings agencies, loan officers, real estate agents and borrowers were all complicit in this ponzi.

    As someone who saw the bubble, Didnt participate and sacrificed to remain prudent. Rewarding greed is a path to a failed state. How about we reward the prudent.

    Most of the borrowers took in more than they can chew. If you modify a loan for a credit abuser, while the homeowner who paid on time right next door is saddled with a higher mortgage than the credit mooch. Their will be anarchy and the situation will grow worse not better..

    End the programs, get back to reality and time for many to learn that renting is not that bad. You dont deserve a house, you earn it.

    1. So Cal 7

      Correct. Blood sweat and tears. But say you put 25% down on a $400k home, was approached by CW who said your home was now worth $750 (3 yrs later) and offered a refi at a lower (initial rate) and allowed you to access to the equity they said you had and you believed them and took a $75K HELOC (kids school, new car, crystal meth, whatever).

      Fast forward to now: Home is worth $275K, no equity, your $100k has gone *poof*. In regular market appreciation, your home should be worth around $480k or so, maybe more?

      How did that happen? The crazy bastards who were leveraging your securitized loan at 10-1 or more did, not you or your neighbor. They inflated a market and crashed it. That might be acceptable for soybeans, but family homsteads? THAT is criminal and is what is coming home to roost and has Geithner and the Banks beside themselves.

      Now say you got laid off from your job of 10 years? What do you do?

      YOU SUE THE BANKS AND ORIGINATORS OF THE FRAUD. Or just put your tail between your legs and squeeze your family into a 900 sf apt.


      1. cd

        So Cal 7,

        I understand your point of view. Someone in my family has already had their home foreclosed on..450K owed, bofa wouldn’t modify at 350K, sold at auction for 150K..but she made a conscious choice to chase the market. Sure, it was buy now or be left behind pitch. But do you jump off a bridge because someone told you to?

        I offered advice but the lure was to great..I left New Century financial in 99 after a dble bk was bought after I declined…the Ponzi was beginning, it was masked by dot.com boom and bust..yet it was visible…you just had to get past the real estate evangelist selling you the elixir of prosperity…you had to check your self before you wreck yourself….

        I’m frankly tired of hearing the poor homeowner story. What about the renter, the saver, the prudent, the hard worker who saved for reality pricing. I’ve made bad decisions, no one was there to help me, nor did I expect it. It was a choice. The market is that way! We all lose when we enable the addict. Time for the reality. Foreclosures have worked for a 100 years..Pretend and extend is taking us down an ugly road..

        I’ve lost hundreds of thousands by changing jobs, though warned I did. My mistake, I moved on. Money is just that, nothing more.

        Greed sleeps with the devil. My bed is wrapped in linens of white…

        Time for grown ups to be grown ups..Time to find the bottom and earn the way up..

        No more crying homeowner stories, sisters and brothers you made a choice, a decision and I’m sorry to say you will have to take the punches. I’m done paying for greed.

        1. So Cal 7

          CD –

          I understand what you are saying and I actually agree with much of what you have to say (or infer). I really do. My point is that if you were truly out of line in terms of “jumping” as you say, well hell, suffer the consequence.

          If you didn’t “jump”, but made a sound business decisions based on presented facts, then by all means, sue the bastards that misrepresented or hustled you.

          That’s the way we go in NY, even tho now I’m in Cal. Point is, if they Fu**ed up, they gotta pay. That is American, that is what we are made from. They can’t hide, either (the banks).

          I agree that there are cases where the “system” is abused and used to gain ends that are unjust. But there are also many cases where if people who were legitimately wronged can stand and fight, I say GO FOR IT.

  26. Steve Gillan

    All we are seeing is more delays in the process. Even if the AG’s can agree the servicers still have to sign off on the agreement. This does not help the people that need help now.

    The best option at this time is to support the 18 Senators that sent a letter to Geithner on Mar. 3rd which calls for three simple changes – they do not handle all the problems but would keep the process moving forward.

    We need to support the Senators an a plan has been developed to do that but we need many people. We are you to visit http://aahmp.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-we-need-for-soh-to-succeed.html

  27. Hugh

    Modification theater, what a great description. If the past is any indication, this is another example of the Administration announcing a major program which then proceeds not to amount to anything at all, like HAMP. The telltale signs are there. It doesn’t get into cramdowns. It’s too small, and its goal looks to support housing prices not help homeowners, all of which Yves notes. Perhaps it is simply a ploy to sell the joke global settlement under discussion. It makes good headlines and can be quietly forgotten later.

  28. Doug Terpstra

    “Since the Obama Administration has never been very good at negotiating, the results even on a level of bargaining are likely to be underwhelming.”

    I’m guessing the assessment of Obama’s negotiation skills is slightly tongue-in-cheek. Rather than a well-meaning fool or good-hearted idiot, Obama once again has Republicans and banksters right where they want him and vice versa. No Harvard lawyer could possibly be so savvy and articulate on issues and so utterly naïve, I mean STUPID, at the poker table. He’s a consummate Chi-town operator, an ivy-league street hustler and con artist who, with a sadist’s winsome smile, knows exactly what he’s doing to his marks—sodomizing the sheeple. He’s proven himself a neoliberal quite at home his self-imposed post-midterm briar patch, jostling with radical Regressives like those he helped to get elected in Wisconsin and Michigan.

    From that perspective, HAMP 2.0 is clearly underwhelming by design, nothing but more can-kicking theater. Adding to Yves calc’s on negative equity, CoreLogic notes that “the total negative equity held by the nation’s homeowners rose to $751 billion for the fourth quarter …” So then even the higher $30 billion is still less than 4% of total negative home equity, now climbing toward a trillion dollars. This is the only thing moving them to do something so hopelessly futile—to pretend to have tried and tried again, when the pooh finally hits the fan. We should also remember that the Huffing Post is now under mega-corporate editorial control.


  29. Glen

    Obama will say whatever lie he has to say to get re-elected. After that it’s back to screwing Americans just like he does now by bailing out the crooks on Wall St that caused this mess.

    1. Parallel FORECLOSURE

      I agree with Glen, by waiting almost two years from when HAMP was first announced, Barack Obama can use any give back scheme to help himself get re-elected.

      Hillary Clinton would have been a much better president.

  30. marc sobel

    This is Kabuki. (or trial balloon, or posturing, or fake stress test or Obama pretense)

    Never happen. Remember the three laws of Obamics:

    1 Obama may not injure a Bankster or, through inaction, allow a Bankster to come to harm.

    2 Obama must obey any orders given by a Bankster, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

    3 Obama must protect his own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

  31. Mary Owens

    My story is similar , I fell behind 4 months because my company I worked for 11 years closed due to the recession.I called my servicer Litton Loan Servicing to let them know I started my new job and continued to make payments .Litton would call me a few times a week each time I spoke it was a different person with a different story, anyways they told me I could qualify for a Obama Loan Modification I said is there anyway you could just put this towards the back I made every payment on time for 8 years ??? Litton said to save my house It would be better doing the modification so agreed I made every payment for over a year on time and got a letter stating I was all set. Great I thought BUT a year later I got another letter saying I did not qualify because of my credit report??? then I got another letter saying I did not make my trial payments on time??? In fact I did and they knew i did NOW I’m several months behind( BECAUSE LITTON TALKED ME INTO THIS) but I still make my payment on time every month to find out they want to short sale my house I was told my credit will be ruined if I don’t come up with the money??? At this point my house is worth half of what I owe and THEY(LITTON) must be making money on SHORTSALES OR FORECLOSURES! because what other reason would they be doing this??? THERE WEBSITE says they help out homeowners??? The truth will come out soon! it makes no sense short sale my home ??? I’m paying every month WHY? my home needs work ,houses are not selling , no one can get approved for a mortgage(banks are not lending) IS THERE A PROFIT ON FORECLOSING ?? please someone break it down for me! I love my house but if they want to steal it I will go to the attorney general/media/ sell my diamond ring to get the best lawyer to fight this ! PLEASE SOMEONE MAKE THESE SERVICERS AUTOMATICALLY LOWER PAYMENTS A UNIVERSAL 3.5 THEY ARE MAKING PLENTY OF MONEY WHY DO THEY NEED TO MAKE PEOPLE SUFFER! I KEPT ALL MY PAPERWORK EVEN WHEN TITANIUM SOLUTIONS BOTHER ME CONSTANTLY WITH A NEW MORTGAGE WITH 40,000 ADDED !

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