Attention Homeowners & Lawyers: AG Mortgage Settlement Launches Online Complaint Sites
Finally, there are places online where homeowners, lawyers and other advocates can go to lodge complaints about a mortgage servicer’s handling of mortgage modifications, et al. And all I can say is, it’s about time.
A story by Ben Hallman in the Huffington Post, quoted Joseph Smith, the ex-banking commissioner charged with enforcing the national mortgage settlement…
“This allows me, as monitor, to hear complaints and learn more about advocates’ impressions of how the settlement is working,” he said. “Although I’ll extensively review reports and monitoring from the banks and my own team of auditors, it is still critical for me to receive information from the heart of each community this settlement serves.”
Now, it’s probably at least somewhat important to remember that Smith has no power to investigate individual complaints or help individual homeowners in any way. Here’s what it says on the complaint form in bold…
“Please note that the Monitor cannot intervene with the servicer on behalf of your individual client.”
Of course, I’d also guess that he doesn’t have the manpower to read the hundreds of thousands of complaints the sites would no doubt receive if homeowners and their lawyers were actually to hear about the website. (I’m also betting that there’s not much of an advertising budget with which they’ll be getting the word out across the nation.)
But, so what? There may be another way to view these new online complaint sites.
Sure, there won’t be any action taken based on the complaints filed online, and nothing will likely change as a result. And I realize that if a homeowner is being dual-tracked, can’t get a response from a mortgage servicer for months, or is losing a home to a wrongful foreclosure, these sites may only represent websites effectively dedicated to ignoring complaints online.
But, wait… there may be more. Here’s what it says on the new sites…
“The Monitor and the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight can assist you by providing information about the organization in your state that is appropriate for you depending on your situation. By filling out the simple form below, you will open a webpage that has state-specific contact information of various organizations that may be able to help you. The Monitor will use this information to better understand how the servicers are treating their customers and detect any patterns in violation of the agreement.”
So, I really do hope that everyone takes advantage of the new websites should they have problems with their servicers related to the National Mortgage Settlement. Here’s what Mr. Smith says about the two new sites…
“Lawyers, caseworkers and other consumer advocates are the eyes and ears on the ground who will know first, and know intimately, what kind of difference these payments, adjustments and programs are making,” Smith said. “That’s why we’ve created this dedicated tool -– to see what they’re seeing.”
Look, people… the man used to be the banking commissioner in North Carolina, but now Mr. Smith has gone to Washington and he says he needs us to be his “eyes and ears on the ground,” as far as the AG settlement’s effectiveness goes. So, let’s not let him down, okay?
Besides, if you consider the math, the whole thing becomes that much more fun…
Assuming one person can read a complaint in 10 minutes, and they were to read them 6 hours each day, working the standard 2080 hours a year, it would take 1.3 years to read 100,000 complaints.
So, if the same numbers applied and there were a million complaints, it would take 13.3 years for one person… they’d need to hire a thousand people to get it done in 1.3 years. And that assumes everyone is writing fairly short complaints. Stretch those babies out to a 20-minute read and now we’re talking two thousand people to read them in 1.3 years.
So, look… do you want to help create jobs in this country or what? Oh, and don’t forget to attach a large file to your complaint, I’m sure the servers are quite robust, and someone may want to read the details. Like they said back in the 60s… can you dig what I’m saying here?
So, for HOMEOWNERS who want to file a complaint having to do with the National Mortgage Settlement, click here: WHERE CAN I FIND HELP?
For LAWYERS or ADVOCATES. click here: REPORT CLIENT ISSUES HERE.
Here’s a list of topics under which your complaint may fall, as listed on the new sites…
Documentation: Documentation problems with foreclosure, bankruptcy or your loan file
Fees: Improper assessment of fees, including default, foreclosure, bankruptcy, attorney, late, or third party fees.
Loan Modification: Failure to modify or refinance loan.
Customer Service: Poor customer service, including no single point of contact or no customer portal.
Third Party Firms: Failure to properly oversee firms working for servicer on your mortgage.
Military Personnel: Failure to comply with legal protections afforded military personnel.
Bankruptcy: Improper failure to provide relief to homeowners in bankruptcy.
Force Placed Insurance: Required purchase of property insurance unnecessarily or improperly.
Community Blight: Failure to minimize community blight.
Tenant Rights: Violation of the rights of tenants in foreclosed properties.
Other: __________. No issues. I just would like further information
The Huffington Post story also pointed out that the federal government has also made available two other avenues where borrowers can appeal for direct assistance.
One is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), which you can access here: File a Mortgage Complaint. According to the Huffington Post, the CFPB,
“… promises to forward a grievance to the financial institution, assign it a tracking number and keep borrowers updated on the status.”
So, that’s very exciting, I would think. I mean, if nothing else it sounds like you’ll have your very own individual tracking number, so that’s something right there. I wonder how effective it will be when trying to persuade a judge not to have you evicted?
“But, hold on Your Honor… not so fast… have I showed you my tracking number?”
2. The OCC
And for homeowners who were in foreclosure during 2009 and 2010, don’t forget about the OCC’s infamously dishonest and entirely corrupt, Independent Foreclosure Review, which you can access here: Submit a Request for Review. I visited the site to check out what would be involved and the best part was that right in the middle of the page there’s a warning for homeowners that reads:
“Watch out for scams – There is only one Independent Foreclosure Review.”
So, for parents reading this who have been looking for a really good example with which you could teach your children the meaning of the word “IRONY,” I’d have to say that your search has ended.
The deadline to submit your complaint is July 31st, so if you’re planning to be condescendingly placated by the equivocation of your claims, you don’t want to put it off. Fewer than three percent of eligible homeowners have submitted their cases for review, so the Obama Administration is no doubt planning to announce that 97 percent of those foreclosed on during those two years were okay with it. I think that’s really taking one for the team, and I, for one, salute you.
And although it would seem that no flaws have been uncovered as yet, that’s no reason not to participate in the process. I mean, look… someone has to win something, right? Like the lottery. Or, maybe not in this case… I really don’t know.
Here’s what the OCC’s site says about the review:
“The Independent Foreclosure Review will determine whether individual borrowers suffered financial injury and should receive compensation or other remedy because of errors or other problems during their home foreclosure process.”
The OCC’s site also STRONGLY WARNS HOMEOWNERS who want to file their case for independent review NOT TO PAY A LAWYER to help them do it under any circumstances.
Good heavens no… who would ever think of doing such a thing? I mean, give us some credit, would you?
I think everybody knows by now that when it comes to authoring a document that alleges the suffering of financial injury for which damages or other remedy may be assessed in conjunction with errors committed by a party purporting to be the holder in due course or to have been assigned the rights of a beneficiary to a deed of trust, and or the substitute trustee who is seeking to enforce said rights as part of a foreclosure or unlawful detainer action… the last thing you’d ever want to do is hire a lawyer.
Sheesh, it’s not like we’re children.
After all, we handled getting our mortgages all by ourselves, initialing and signing all those contractual pages containing 3 point type about how our snapping turtle, spring loaded mortgage might result in payments that exceed our monthly income by three-fold at a time when the credit markets would require a 780 FICO and 30 percent equity to refinance.
And if we can competently handle that sort of complicated transaction, surely we all know not to pay a lawyer a nickel for something as simple as filing a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Look, even if the OCC finds nothing was wrong with the foreclosures in 2009 or 2010, I think we’ll all be able to join in a giant collective sigh of relief. At least we’ll know that no one “suffered financial injury” because of errors in the foreclosure process during those two years, and we can finally move from insult to injury as we close the chapter on the unnecessary destruction of some two million family’s lives.
It reminds me of the stress tests they use with the banks… you know, the ones where every bank always passes. Like something from a Monty Python skit. Aren’t those the best?
Move along people, there’s nothing to see here.