Already facing possible defunding in Congress in the coming weeks, the government’s foreclosure assistance programs seem to have abandoned all pretense.
Indeed, our loyal bloggers and foreclosure researchers keep a close eye on changes in the foreclosure industry, particularly when it pertains to programs that could help our clients. And yet the Treasury department announced new changes almost a month ago that we didn’t even notice until today. Did you miss it?
Here’s Laurie Maggiano, the so-called mastermind behind HAMP, speaking to the Mortgage Bankers’ Association on the new changes:
“You won’t see any major new programs coming out. We may tweak around the edges, but our primary objective in 2011 is excellence in the program we have. You have changed your systems at great agony. But we are ready to execute and execute really, really well. Borrowers have been jacked around the last few years. We need to improve that.”
Servicers are now to have an “escalation team” that will forward clients who have been given the run-around or denied to special Treasury Department call centers. Also, if homeowners fail their Net Present Value test, servicers will provide the data by which they came to that assessment for borrowers to double check. The government is also rolling out the “Hardest Hit Fund,” where unemployed homeowners who can’t pay their mortgage can temporarily have their mortgage paid directly to the bank by the Treasury Department.
Perhaps the reason they’re not trumpeting the news of these changes is that they’ve yet to change any of the real problems in loan modifications. Foreclosure is still incentivized for servicers. They still work in an environment where lying and deceiving is considered “customer service.” The Treasury Department and the other federal regulators continue to put the profit of these banks far above the needs of the homeowners; the tens of billions in the “Hardest Hit Fund” can in no way solve anyone’s mortgage problems, instead it is yet another thinly veiled bank handout.
The Story of Bank Crime Now An Award Winning Film
The collusion between the government’s financial regulators and our largest banks is not exactly a big secret anymore; a film on the topic has just won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
“Inside Job” delves into how the banks and regulators created the housing bubble with every intention of grabbing as much money as possible and leaving the bill to everyone else. Uncompromising in its criticism of Presidential administrations and corporate policies alike, director Charles Ferguson began his Oscar acceptance speech by saying: “Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong.”
Our firm, Amerihope Alliance, has been a part of this struggle for years. One of the most pernicious roles government officials played was to recommend to their constituents to trust the system and not hire a lawyer. Now we’re looking at the possibility of a foreclosure crisis without the government even trying to solve it. Our perspective hasn’t changed; banks will pick out borrowers who could pay and do everything they can to drum them out of their house, with the government’s approval. We implore those faced with foreclosure to fight back!