Loan modification or refinance hell continues for homeowners even when a lender invites a borrower to refinance.
Q: I’m not sure where to turn with respect to what’s going on with our mortgage. I have been with my lender (a big national bank) for almost 13 years and I have been trying unsuccessfully to refinance with them for the past couple of years.
I applied for a loan modification, and during the original process I told it looked very good. But had to keep re-submitting papers and different proof of this and that for several months with the final determination we didn’t qualify because we weren’t behind on our mortgage.
Last year they sent us two different overnight packages asking us to submit a request for refinancing. We did and spent several months working with them only to be turned down again because they claimed we had too many assets. We are still current but having trouble.
Our interest rate is about 7.25 percent and we live in Georgia in an area hit hard with foreclosures. Many of our neighbors have walked away from their mortgages. We have no intention of defaulting but at 65 years old we do not have a great deal of income and need help. I heard your recent radio show and am asking for your help and guidance.
A: Your story and situation with your bank is not unique. We’ve heard it quite a bit from many of our readers and listeners. With newer regulations and mortgage programs (a reformulated HARP 2.0 (home affordable refinance program), not to mention an election year), you might want to try again.
In a way, you are in what we describe a loan modification hell. That’s where you are given a set of instructions to follow, you do as you are told, you wait and wait, and you hear nothing, only to be told to start the process over and over again.
You might also want to file a complaint against the bank with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency at www.HelpWithMyBank.gov. You can file your complaint online and see if you get a response from the bank. The OCC has been quite useful lately in prodding lenders into taking action. It could help get your loan refinance over the hump with your lender.
Many lenders have been swamped with calls and requests from borrowers to refinance their loans. In your case, you should have never been told that you needed to default on your loan to get a loan modification or a loan refinance under the Making Home Affordable programs.
And yet, we have heard over and over that lenders told borrowers that they would not refinance them or give them a loan modification unless they stopped making payments on their loans.
During the last several months, new rules have been worked out to help borrowers that are deep underwater with their loans to assist them in refinancing those loans with their lenders. Whether these plans work is yet to be seen. Based on past experience with the government sponsored plans, their results have been poor. We can hope that it gets better, but you may need to get that added help from the OCC to get it done.