Q: Help! I have been faxing, mailing, over-nighting all kinds of paperwork to my lender. I have a well documented phone conversation log and receipts of documents I have sent my lender.
I’ve been applying for a loan modification since last October. From October until the end of December was a big waste of time. After sending in all my documents, this past January, the bank wanted all new paperwork. Then they took 60 days before we heard from them again.
My husband is a carpenter who is laid off. We are a family of five and now with this layoff there is very little income is coming in and it’s killing us. We need heating oil. We’re two months behind in our bills and I now have hives from worrying!
Do I hire an attorney? Do I borrow more money from friends for next month’s payments? Or, should we walk away from our house now?
A: I’m confused why you didn’t get a yes or no on a loan modification within 30 days. The new loan modification rules are in effect, and your lender is supposed to comply with these rules.
Unfortunately, the loan programs have not been structured to assist borrowers quickly and there are still lenders out there that have not gotten their act together in working with their borrowers or processing the loan modification paperwork.
Please file a complaint with the OCC (which regulates your big box bank) at www.helpwithmybank.gov. Please send me the case number and I’ll forward it to my contact.
That said, you have to understand that not everyone gets a loan modification and that you may ultimately lose your house. You should also know that very few borrowers actually got permanent loan modifications, and that the loan modification program is an “opt-in” for banks and is entirely voluntary.
Start to formulate a plan B so that you know where you’re going to go if you don’t get a loan modification. While you can hire an attorney, the real question for you is whether hiring an attorney and paying any money to that person would get you a different result. I’m not sure it would. (If you can’t afford an attorney, please contact a legal aid society in your area.)
Given that only about ten percent of people that applied under the federal program received permanent loan modifications, the odds are not in your favor. Furthermore, if you have already provided the bank with the necessary paperwork, an attorney may not have much to do to help you.
If your lender committed a fraudulent act when you were given your loan or there are other legal circumstances surrounding how and when you got your loan that would require you to seek legal assistance, you might want to do that.
If you stop making payments and do nothing, you’ll wind up in foreclosure. You may need to understand the foreclosure process in the state you live in to determine what your next step will be during this housing crisis.
Good luck, and let me know what happens.