It is National Consumer Protection Week, a week when consumer protection agencies and organizations across the country make extra efforts to promote awareness about consumer rights. In light of this, the California Monitor Program reminds California homeowners that we are ready and willing to help. Click here to learn more about how to submit a complaint or question to the California Monitor Program. Our website also offers extensive information about the Settlement and Settlement modification programs.
The mortgage companies that agreed to the National Mortgage Settlement have informed the California Monitor that they have finished contacting homeowners who are eligible for the Settlement’s refinancing program. Check your eligibility here. If you believe you are eligible and you have not heard from your bank, you can call your bank to ask about the program or contact us.
The federal government established the HAMP and HARP programs to allow certain eligible homeowners the opportunity to modify or refinance their mortgages. Each program has its own rules that mortgage companies must follow in reviewing homeowners for modification or refinancing. The Settlement helps homeowners applying for HAMP and HARP by establishing customer service standards and protections against unnecessary foreclosure that apply after you request relief under either program.
The Settlement’s Refinancing Program requires all five mortgage companies that are parties to the Settlement to offer refinancing to certain eligible borrowers who are current on their mortgages and underwater. Learn more about the Refinancing Program’s requirements. If you believe you are eligible and your mortgage company has not offered you refinancing that meets the Refinancing Program’s requirements, please contact us.
UPDATE: As part of the settlement, a cash payment was available for some Californians whose loan was owned or serviced by Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank or GMAC and whose home was foreclosed upon between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011. The deadline to file a claim was January 18, 2013 and claims are no longer being accepted. If you have questions, you may call the Settlement Administrator at 1-866-430-8358. Please note that the California Monitor Program does not oversee this restitution process.
Information about the settlement administrator is available at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.
A settlement was announced this week between the several banks that signed the National Mortgage Settlement and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). This new settlement does not replace or reduce any benefits under the National Mortgage Settlement. To find out more about the OCC Settlement, including whether you may qualify for a cash payment, visit http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2012/nr-occ-2012-20.html. The California Monitor does not administer the OCC Settlement.
The National Mortgage Settlement provides special protections and benefits for servicemembers. For example, if you receive a Permanent Change in Station (PCS) order, you may be eligible for a loan modification even if you are not in default on your loan. Servicemembers who were foreclosed on in violation of a federal law called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act may be eligible for significant financial payments.
Have you been waiting for months or years to get a loan modification, only to receive an offer the mortgage company says you have to accept immediately? The Settlement’s standards, which went into effect on October 3, 2012, require mortgage companies to allow you at least 14 days to accept an offer if you submitted your complete loan modification application at least 37 days before your foreclosure sale date. If you meet this requirement and you received an offer on or after October 3, 2012 that violated this rule, submit a complaint.
On November 19, 2012, Katherine Porter, the California Monitor, released her second report, Dollars to Date: The California Mortgage Agreement. Based on data provided, she anticipates that Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo will complete or exceed their promised $12 billion in homeowner assistance within just the first year of the California agreement.
Communicating with your mortgage company is crucial, but it can be difficult. The National Mortgage Settlement requires the nation’s five largest servicers to provide homeowners struggling with their payments with a designated customer service representative, called a single point of contact. This person is required to be knowledgeable about the homeowner’s situation and foreclosure alternatives.