Mandelman’s Monthly Museletter Issue #3.0

What’s the difference between a bank and a terrorist?

You can oftentimes negotiate with a terrorist.

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1. Do I Qualify for Obama’s Jobless Recovery Program?

I’ve heard that we’re having a jobless recovery and I wanted to make sure I got my application in, assuming I qualify for the program, of course.  I hope I do, for whatever that’s worth.  I’ve been working my behind off for some time, and if I can just coast into the recovery without need for a job, well… I’m in… GO Barack!  I knew I was right when I cast my vote for him.  Just in time too, because I was starting to worry.

I’m not sure of the program’s details or anything.  It’s not something with which I’m familiar.  I took economics classes, but I must have been out sick or something.  Well, however he’s doing it, who the heck am I to question that Ivy-league brain trust he’s got running around in the White House?

So, let me know if you hear anything.  I guess I’ll keep working at least until someone sends me the forms.  After that… all bets may be off.  I wonder if I can arrange to spend my jobless recovery on Oahu?  Maybe they’ll give me one of the clunkers they recently took in on trade, you never know.

You can go ahead and keep attacking Obama for not fixing the housing crisis.  Me… I’m getting on board.  I need the time off.

2. Prime Jumbo – The New Sub-Prime Mortgage?

If this is a “sub-prime” crisis, then Prime Jumbo is the new sub-primer, because these loans are now going into foreclosure at a rate 634% higher than last year.  I wonder if these people are also irresponsible homeowners with jet skis in the garage and one too many flat screens.

Cure rates are frighteningly low. According to LPS Applied Analytics, foreclosure starts were up 7.1% in July, the second highest month on record, and the numbers are going nowhere but up.  Nothing is working particularly well… to put it mildly.  And there’s not much on deck to work well either, truth be told.

The HOPE NOW people reported a six percent jump in homeowners delinquent by 60-days plus. That means that 3.1 million more Americans are now behind on their mortgage payments, one step closer to losing their homes.

But we’ve also hit bottom and are entering a recovery.  And speaking of that sort of thing…

3. The NAR Is At It Again… Reports Skyrocketing Home Sales Index in July!

These guys just do not quit.  The NAR’s Chief Economist during the boom, David Lereah referred to housing as “an infallible investment” in interviews on television and in print, and then wrote a book, “Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?” in 2005. As late as in January 2007, he made the statement: “It appears we have established a bottom.”  Oh, he’s a bottom all right.  A new low.

“The pending-home-sales index calculated by the National Association of Realtors rose 3.2 percent in summer’s middle month, settling at 97.6 – the highest figure seen since June 2007,” according to the NAR.  They really are funny people.  Must be a hoot at a party.

4. Unemployment is continuing to rise.

And it will likely continue to rise well into 2010.

5. Two San Jose Men Accused of Loan Mod Scamming

Rene Alvarez, 39, of San Jose was taken into custody Thursday by investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. The investigators are looking for co-owner Mariano Ortega, 34, also of San Jose.  The two have owned M & R Contemporary Solutions since mid-2008.

Apparently, they got 500 homeowners, mostly Hispanic according to the Mercury News, to participate in a “principal reduction” program that may have added up to more than $2 million in fees for the company, according to the San Jose DA.

Ready for this?  The Mercury News said that prosecutors are claiming that Alvarez and Ortega promised clients they could save their homes from foreclosure by arranging for the purchase of their loan by a third-party at a discounted rate. Then, they offered the clients a new principal loan that would lower their monthly mortgage payments.  And it goes without saying that the clients paid thousands of dollars each in upfront fees.

And this is the type of thing that people in Sacramento think of when they talk about stopping loan modification scams.  I’m not a lawyer, but I’m thinking that we have existing law to take care of those guys.  Could our legislators be any more out of touch?

6. According to The New York Times: Judge’s Frustration Grows With Mortgage Servicers

The New York Times ran a story late last week that almost made me stand up and cheer.  Apparently a Federal Bankruptcy Judge in New York, had about enough from a mortgage servicer by the name of Wells Fargo.  Besides giving the Wells senior executive a stern talking to, the judge let the homeowner cross-examine the bank exec, and helped her do it.

According to the Times, “the defense fell apart.  Score one for the good guys!  Read it… it’s worth it.  Click the link to the Times above.

7. A law firm who represents homeowners attempting to obtain loan modifications in California reported to Mandelman Matters that  they were told this past week by a BofA/Countrywide representative that they are intentionally slow-pedaling a decision on loan mods in which the consumer has 3rd party representation.  To quote the bank representative:

“We put files where the consumer has a 3rd party negotiator to the back of the line. Consumers who come to us directly get helped first.”

Wow… so if I hire an attorney to help me negotiate with Bank of America, they will punish me by putting my file to the back of the line.  Fascinating.  And that’s okay with everyone?


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