Do I Qualify for a HAMP Loan Modification? Does it Really Matter?
NOT HEMP… I SAID “HAMP.” Do I qualify for a HAMP loan modification? HEMP is the thing that’s made from marijuana. HAMP is the thing that drives everyone to smoking marijuana.
But seriously… do you qualify for a HAMP loan modification doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult a question to answer, right? Like, it’s not rocket surgery, or anything like that… is it?
The question of whether a homeowner qualifies to have his or her mortgage modified under the rules of HAMP, the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program, is one that’s been asked literally tens of millions of times since the program began back in June of 2009, and still, few people in the entire country know the right answer.
It’s worth noting that prior to 2008, I would have to say that the question of qualifying for a loan modification had never been asked of anyone, because for all intents and purposes, loan modifications didn’t even exist as part of the American lexicon until 2007 at the earliest.
What’s both remarkable and tragic about the question is that it continues to be answered incorrectly more often than not, and I continue to hear from dozens of homeowners every week who’ve tried for literally years to get an accurate answer in their specific case, to no avail.
And it’s not for lack of trying. I don’t think I’m exaggerating even slightly to say that untold millions upon millions of dollars have been spent by homeowners in pursuit of an accurate answer to this question, and even having spent thousands of dollars, they come away no closer to knowing whether they qualify than the day they first began their inquiry.
It may not matter at this point, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s ever been a question that compares with the one about qualifying for a HAMP loan modification, in terms of being so widely unanswerable and in terms of the resulting uncertainty, causing so much human suffering. The only other comparable question that even comes to mind would have to do with the existence of God, and even that age old inquiry rarely comes with such high monetary costs.
Well, in this article I’m going to address, and answer definitively, four aspects of the issue:
- Why the question is difficult, if not impossible for anyone to answer with certainty;
- What can and can’t be answered about qualifying for a loan modification;
- Whether getting an answer to the question even matters;
- And is it even the right question for consumers to be asking?
As my long-time readers know, I’ve written a great deal over the last six years on the subject of the mysterious and to large degree illusive HAMP loan modification, starting with popular posts like, “How Banks View Loan Modifications,” which has been viewed over 45,000 times on my Mandelman Matters blog alone since first appearing in January of 2011. But, there were many that led up to that one, for example, in July of 2009 I posted an article under the headline: “Loan Modifications: Is this What I’m Supposed to Believe?”
Only something like 4,500 people read that one on my blog, but those that did sure were appreciative of my having written it, with one homeowner’s comment saying: “I have been checking your blog on a daily basis since I “discovered” you. This is the best, well-put, frank & honest comment/blog I have ever come across… YOU GO, MANDELMAN!!!! KEEP ON BRINGING IT ON!!!!”
And I suppose it was largely because of that sort of sincere encouragement that I did just that… I brought it on… and on… and on.
A few weeks later I posted: “A Day in the Life of Four Homeowners,” which documented the stories of four real life homeowners as they metaphorically circled the drain while seeking to have their loan modified and avoid foreclosure.
And it was that very same month that I was compelled to write about the first suicide that touched my life resulting from the loan modification process, “Another Victim of the Foreclosure Crisis,” was the vanilla headline… I remember not knowing what else to say and not wanting to be seen as exploiting his death to gain readers, or whatever.
And a few days after that, I remember spending at least 40 hours documenting Diane Thompson’s testimony in front of a Senate Banking Committee hearing. It was one of the first of many articles that I’d post knowing that it would be way too long for most folks to get through, but for one thing, I wanted to get it all down on paper, and for another, it took so long to write that by the time I had it all there, I was too tired and sick of working on it to edit it any further.
Even the title of that post was way too long, it read: “MY SWAN’S SONG: Testimony Before the United States Senate on the State of Foreclosures & Loan Modifications.”
What’s truly astonishing about that article from the latter part of 2009 is that her testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee explicitly outlines the significant problems servicers were causing for homeowners by routinely violating the HAMP guidelines, including…
Participating servicers violate the HAMP guidelines:
- Some participating servicers offer non-compliant loan modifications.
- Some participating servicers refuse to offer HAMP modifications.
- Servicers are continuing to initiate foreclosures and sell homes at foreclosure sales while the HAMP review is pending.
Servicer staffing and training still lag behind what is needed.
- Homeowners and counselors report waits of months to hear back on review for a trial modification, followed by very short time frames to return documents.
- Staff of participating servicers continue to display alarming ignorance of HAMP.
Lack of transparency and accountability is resulting in summary denials and other unreasonable acts by servicers. Certain HAMP Policies Must Be Changed to Provide Sustainable Modifications and Save Communities.
Transparency must be improved.
- The Net Present Value model for qualifying homeowners must be available to the public.
- The layers of documents governing HAMP, the guidelines, the Supplemental Directives, the various FAQ’s, and the servicer contracts, should be consolidated, reconciled, and clarified.
- Participating subsidiaries must be clearly identified.
Mechanisms for enforcement and compliance should be adopted.
- All foreclosure proceedings must be stopped upon the initiation of a HAMP review, not just at the point before sale.
- Homeowners should be provided with an independent review process when denied a loan modification.
- Homeowners should have access to an ombudsman to address complaints about the process.
The HAMP guidelines should be adjusted to provide more meaningful relief to homeowners without reducing their existing rights.
- Homeowners need principal reductions, not forbearance.
- Homeowners suffering an involuntary drop in income should be eligible for a second HAMP loan modification.
- Homeowners in bankruptcy should be provided clear access to the HAMP program.
- Mortgages should remain assumable as between spouses, children, and other persons with a homestead interest in the property.
- HAMP application procedures should better recognize and lessen the impact of exigent circumstances.
- The trial modification program should be further formalized and clarified, such that homeowners receive assurances of the terms of the permanent modification and homeowners are not put into default on their loans if they are current at the onset of the trial modification.
- The final modification agreement should make clear that the homeowners do not waive any rights nor are required to reaffirm the debt in order to enter into the modification.
- The second lien program should be further developed to promote coordination with first lien modifications; servicers should be required to participate in both programs.
Well, isn’t that something?
I hadn’t read that article about Diane Thompson’s testimony since I wrote it back in August of ’09… until now, that is. And as it’s something that I posted over five years ago, one would think that reading it today would have constituted some sort of walk down memory lane… like watching a movie made more than five years ago and chuckling at how hairstyles looked back then, or how much older and heavier Tom Hanks looks today… that sort of thing.
Instead, however, Diane Thompson’s bullet points read to the members of the Senate Banking Committee as summer came to a close in 2009, seemed like they might have been written this past August… as in August of 2014.
It makes one wonder if we’re dealing with some sort of learning disability in congress, or something like that, because it’s inconceivable that her testimony on something so important as millions of American homeowners being badly screwed around could not possibly have been ignored.
And it is particularly telling that here I am more than five years later writing to address the same question that is still unanswerable by homeowners, and therefore continuing to drive the uncertainty in the loan modification process that causes homeowners such stress and discomfort…
“Do I qualify for HAMP loan modification?”
It makes one realize that our elected representatives take the fun out of dysfunction, does it not? I’m pretty sure that it’s the sort of experience that not many writers ever get to have… reading something they wrote more than five years ago and finding it as current and significant as something CNN’s Headline News might have reported on yesterday.
Am we stuck in some sort of Groundhog Day-type movie script? Because if that’s the case then I think tomorrow I’ll start taking piano lessons.
(Click play here if you didn’t get that reference.)
I’m not saying that nothing has changed or that nothing has improved at all, because it has in both cases… some things have changed and many things have improved since 2009 as related to getting a loan modified… but when you read Diane Thompson’s testimony you realize not nearly enough has changed… enough.
There are new standards for mortgage servicing and they are in place to make things better for consumers applying for a loan modification. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was established as a new federal agency to protect consumers, offers an electronic booklet to help homeowners understand what the new servicer standards mean, and you can find it here: “What the new mortgage servicer standards mean for consumers.”
However, I can’t help but wonder… is it that our elected representatives didn’t believe Diane Thompson’s 2009 testimony… is it that they did believe her, but didn’t view what she said as being that big a problem for the country… or are they simply incapable of fixing what has obviously been broken since the very beginning of the loan modification era… and remains broken today?
Regardless of the answer to any of those questions, one thing appears certain… it’s not an easy problem to solve, because I think it’s safe to say that if it were easy we wouldn’t be talking about any of this stuff five years later.
So, now… to the questions: Do I qualify for a HAMP loan modification? Does the answer even matter? And is it the right question for homeowners to even ask?
So… do I qualify for a HAMP loan modification or not?
First of all, let’s define a few things. The Obama Administration’s loan modification program is called HAMP, which stands for Home Affordable Modification Program.
(If you were refinancing through the government’s program, instead of modifying, the program would be called HARP, which stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program. And both programs fall under the government’s Making Home Affordable housing assistance program.)
The basic eligibility criteria for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) are that, because of a financial hardship, you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, and now you are delinquent or in danger of falling behind on your payments.
You also have to have obtained your mortgage on or before January 1, 2009. Your property cannot have been condemned, and you have not been convicted of a crime in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction within the last 10 years.
In addition, the amount you owe on your first mortgage must be equal to or less than:
$729,750 if it’s a single-family home.
$934,200 if it’s a 2-unit property.
$1,129,250 if it’s a 3-unit property.
$1,403,400 if it’s a 4-unit property.
The HAMP Waterfall…
There is also a financial process servicers are to follow when determining whether you’re eligible to have your loan modified. (Notice I said “eligible” and not “qualified.”)
The waterfall for HAMP Tier 1 begins by the servicer determining the unpaid principal balance by capitalizing allowable arrears, including accrued interest and allowable fees and costs, which means adding the fees, costs and any missed payments into your loan’s balance.
Next, the servicer sets a target payment at 31% of your gross monthly income. The target payment must include principal, interest, taxes, insurance and association fees. After making these determinations, the servicer performs the waterfall in an attempt to support the unpaid principal balance with the target payment… and here’s how that works:
First the servicer reduces the current interest rate in decrements of 0.125% down to 2% in an effort to reach the target payment. If a reduction all the way down to 2% is insufficient to achieve the target payment, then the servicer sets the initial interest rate to 2% and moves to the next step of the waterfall, which is “term extension.”
In the term extension step, the servicer extends the mortgage term in one-month increments to 480 months in an attempt to reach to the target payment. If extending the loan’s term to 480 months is insufficient to reach the target payment, then the servicer sets the term of the loan to 480 months and moves to the next step of the waterfall, which is called “principal forbearance.
In the principal forbearance step, the servicer forbears a portion of the unpaid principal balance until the payment on the remaining interest-bearing balance reaches the target payment. However, the servicer is not required to forbear more than of 30% of the capitalized unpaid principal balance, or an amount resulting in a modified interest-bearing balance that would create a mark-to-market loan to value ratio equal to 10%… whichever is greater.
If the servicer is unable to achieve the target payment, then the borrower does not pas the HAMP waterfall and is deemed ineligible for HAMP Tier 1 modification, however, does that mean that you can’t or won’t get your loan modified… NO.
All of the servicers have in-house or proprietary loan modification programs that they use at various times for various reasons, none of which are ever disclosed to the public. So, just because HAMP doesn’t work, don’t give up. In fact, since 2009, there have been four times the number of in-house modifications granted as HAMP modifications, so it’s not like your odds go down when HAMP doesn’t apply.
Does Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac own your loan?
It’s a good idea to know whether Fannie or Freddie owns your loan for a couple of reasons. One is that they have their own slight variations on the HAMP program, and the other is that they both can be sticklers for the rules, so you have to be on your toes when trying to get your loan modified with either of them as the loan’s owner.
You can find out the answer to that question by clicking HERE, and then simply click on the Fannie Mae link and the Freddie Mac link… enter your information, and in a few seconds you’ll know whether either one owns your loan.
The (Infamous) NPV Test…
The NPV test associated with a HAMP loan modification, or actually any modification, is slightly mysterious as to its specifics, but at least you can know a lot more about it today then you could have found out back in 2009.
For one thing, you can link to the government’s site that will allow you to check to see if you pass the NPV Test here: CHECK MY NPV. The result won’t be perfect or absolute, but it will be close enough to give you some confidence that you will or won’t pass, which is better than nothing.
Today, all you really need to know about HAMP’s NPV Test is that, assuming you don’t have a lot of equity in your home… you’ll pass. If you are told that you’ve failed HAMP’s NPV Test, and you don’t have a lot if equity, there are two things you can do to potentially change that outcome.
First, ask the servicer to send you the inputs used and make sure there weren’t any data entry errors involved, because in many, many instances there are. If there aren’t any such errors, then get a BPO from a local Realtor. BPO stands for Broker Price Opinion… it’s like a mini-appraisal and shouldn’t cost more than $75, from what I’ve been told.
Assuming it shows that you don’t have a lot of equity, send it to your servicer as part of your appeal, and chances are good that you’ll pass the second time around. And don’t expect your servicer to tell you why you failed the test, because they won’t and it’s because they honestly don’t know.
I certainly haven’t seen all of them, but the servicer systems I have seen only show a pass/fail outcome… pass is green and fail is red. They don’t know what led to either outcome.
NPV stands for Net Present Value, and it’s a test that’s intended to conclude two things:
- Whether the investor that owns your loan will come out ahead financially by modifying your loan as opposed to not, which would mean foreclosing and re-selling your home.
- The probability that you will re-default on the loan once it’s modified.
The details of the NPV Test created by the Treasury Department have never been fully disclosed, and although I didn’t understand what I’m about to say until the last year or two, the truth be told it wouldn’t have mattered if they had been disclosed.
As formulas go, it’s far too complex for anyone to be able to do anything with it that would yield any meaningful advantage, and secondly it involves variables that can change all the time, as in monthly, so it’s likely that releasing the formula wouldn’t have caused anything but more confusion.
Not only that but in addition, the larger servicers are allowed to vary the formula they use by raising one component referred to as the “discount rate,” and by using a different valuation for the property.
The Trial Modification…
At the end of the day, assuming things go well, all of this will result in a “trial modification” being granted, and that will mean you’ll start making the trial payments and assuming you make them on time and as agreed, you’ll be granted a permanent modification.
It used to be that people would make their trial payments and often still get turned down for a permanent modification, but today that very rarely happens… in fact, I haven’t seen it happen in the last two years at all.
The purpose of the trial modification is so that the bank can make sure that you’re going to return to making regular payments, after not making mortgage payments for some period of time… and not everyone does, by the way. It costs the bank money to permanently modify your loan, and there’s accounting work involved, so they don’t want to incur that expense if you’re not going to start paying regularly again.
However, during the trial period, you won’t be in the bank’s regular payment system, so you won’t be getting mortgage statements like you were used to getting before you stopped making payments. And because of that, you shouldn’t be surprised when your Customer Service Representative can’t answer many of the questions you may have about your loan’s balance, payments, late fees or interest rate.
He or she is not being cagey when they say they can’t answer your questions… they actually don’t know the answers at that moment because your loan is not yet back in the system that would provide the information your seeking.
Once you make your trial payments and sign off on your permanent loan modification, your loan will find its way back into the main system, and you’ll start getting statements each month once again, and that’s when your servicer will be able to answer whatever you want to know about your loan.
So, DO you qualify for HAMP?
Here are the facts of the situation…
- You can easily figure out if you meet the basic eligibility criteria for HAMP…
- You can check to see whether you should pass the HAMP NPV Test…
- And, you can even plug your numbers into the HAMP waterfall and see if they make sense…
However, none of those things will provide you with a definitive answer to the question of whether you qualify for and will receive a HAMP loan modification or not.
The reasons are simple… and several. For one thing, there are a lot of numbers involved that can knock you out of the ballpark, like the amount of the arrearages, the number of months you’re delinquent, what showed up on your credit report, the nature of your hardship, your back-end debt-to-income ratio… even though HAMP is supposed to be based only on your front-end ratio… and as they say… but wait… there’s more.
Remember what I said about the NPV Test? It’s designed to assess two things, remember? One is whether the investor would come out ahead financially by modifying your loan, but can you remember the other thing it’s supposed to be assessing?
It’s called the probability of re-default, and even though it’s something you never see anyone writing or talking about, it’s perhaps the biggest concern servicers have when modifying a loan, and if it’s not number one, then it’s certainly number two. A re-default is the worst possible preventable outcome for a servicer when modifying a loan.
You see, when a borrower stops making his or her mortgage payments for a certain number of months, the servicer has to start handling that loan differently because now it’s in default and therefore considered “impaired.” It’s true, the servicer gets to tack on late fees and various others, but the costs of servicing the loan increase dramatically.
The servicer may have to account for its value differently, reserve for the potential losses that could result, and begin following the more hands on procedures for a loan in default found in the Pooling & Servicing Agreement (PSA) and that are part of state and federal law. In some states a law firm is assigned and in other cases they even have to repurchase the loan. But, in almost all cases, the servicer must start advancing the payments to the trust.
It’s not hard to see that especially these days, it can take a long time for a servicer to foreclose and re-sell a property and by the time it’s all done, the losses on loans of $500,000 can amount to 50 – 100 percent of the loan’s value.
Now, just imagine what could happen to the losses when the same loan re-defaults after all that. In that case, the losses can really break the bank, no pun intended. I’ve seen some reports that show loss severity of 145 percent of loan values… and for any servicer that is to be avoided.
The probability of re-default, however, is not an exact science… no one has a crystal ball through which the future can be seen. There are indications as to how things may go going forward, but there are no sure things.
This is why it’s important that all the numbers in your application make sense and nothing sets off any alarms. What’s in your application has to paint a picture that makes sense to a banker, and remember… people lie to bankers all the time, and I’ve learned that they’re really good at finding things that cause them to pause.
For example, if only one spouse is on the loan, it’s an indication that perhaps the couple would be willing to walk away, because the other spouse’s credit could be used to buy a home after the foreclosure. It’s also why the loan-to-value ratio when the home was purchased is part of the “secret” NPV Test… because bankers know that the more money a borrower put down, the less likely that borrower will walk away.
The other major determining factor when modifying a loan is who owns it… or rather who is “investor.” If the loan is securitized, and today the vast majority of those in default are, then the “owner” or “investor” is a trust, and each trust has its own rules that govern when and how loans may be modified.
Some trusts are amenable to modifications under a wide range of circumstances, while others significantly restrict modifications in certain ways and at certain times. Some have rules that state that after a certain percentage of loans are modified, there can be no more term extensions, and although rare, some trusts don’t allow loan modifications at all… ever.
There are also loans that are labeled “non-delegated,” which means the servicer has not been delegated the authority to modify loans and the decision to modify can only be made by the investor who may have a very different attitude about modifying loans than the servicer might have had assuming delegated authority.
I’ve seen this situation most commonly with loans serviced on a non-delegated basis by Bank of America or Chase, but always owned by a Well Fargo trust that’s refusing to modify. To combat this situation and others like it, requires more than just a typical application package, and there are things you can do today to reduce uncertainty to a minimum.
Question #1: Are you a homeowner?
Let’s say you answered: “YES.” Okay, fine… next question.
Question #2: Are you any good at any of this stuff? Practiced even? A former underwriter perhaps?
No? Yeah, I was afraid you’d say that.
Question #3: Are you self-employed with a rental property who filed bankruptcy in the middle of the process?
Yes, that’s you? That’s just perfect. Well, at least I know the reason for your denial. You didn’t have the numbers right on your application. I don’t need to see yours to know… you got them wrong because they would be almost impossible to get right your first or second time out with no help.
And on the other hand, if you’re income is all W-2, don’t have a rental, and are not filing bankruptcy then applying for a modification will be more straight forward… or maybe I should just say, not as easy to screw up. The issue of the investor’s willingness to modify remains, as does the rest of the balancing act related to getting a loan modified, but a little easier is still a relief.
It always helps me to remember that HAMP is a voluntary program and that ultimately servicers have a great deal of discretion as to what gets modified and what does not. And that the people working at the servicer are not the natural or sworn enemies of homeowners in default… they’re just doing a job and they’re not overpaid.
(I don’t know exactly why it helps me to remember those things, but it just does.)
So, the cumulative point is that the question of whether you qualify for HAMP or not, simply cannot be answered with certainty. Many can tell you if you’re eligible, very few can tell you if you qualify for sure, and essentially no one can tell you with certainty which of the following outcomes will you be yours.
- Qualify for and Receive a HAMP Modification that’s within Guidelines.
- Qualify for and Receive a HAMP Modification that’s NOT within Guidelines.
- Qualify, but get Denied for a Loan Modification.
- Qualify and Receive an In-House Modification using Similar Guidelines.
- Qualify and Receive an In-house Modification NOT using Similar Guidelines.
- SOMETHING ELSE NO ONE THOUGHT WOULD HAPPEN.
But, my question is… DOES IT MATTER?
Okay, so you can’t know with certainty whether the servicer will grant you a HAMP modification… I know someone who can get you close, but never with real certainty… there are just too many factors in play.
But does it matter?
There are an endless variety of in-house modification programs and it’s anyone’s guess as to their requirements or how much flexibility to accommodate borrower needs exists And the servicer is never going to tell you what they are either, but again it wouldn’t matter even if they did tell you, because they could always switch the program and you’d never know anyway.
It’s also worth noting that HAMP is only one of the programs offered by the government, and the blue type will link you to the pages published by the government on each one.
Over the last five years, several variations have been added to the mix, including:
- HAMP Tier 2, which is for people looking to modify rental property.
- For those that had a HAMP modification and re-defaulted… there’s 2MP, which stands for Second Lien Modification Program.
- There’s the PRA, which stands for Principal Reduction Alternative and is for people who owe significantly more than their home is worth.
- There’s even a program for people that are unemployed called Home Affordable Unemployment Program.
- There are special programs for FHA, VA and even USDA loans.
- And then there are the emergent programs that come out of some sort of settlement agreement with the government.
You see, I never even think in terms of HAMP or non-HAMP… I only think in terms of affordably modified or not modified, and for me… I only care about getting them all modified, but as to the brand of loan modification the borrower is offered, I could care less.
The last two years I’ve seen every single borrower that I followed get through the loan modification process with a modified loan. How many were HAMP? No idea. Why do you care? As long as the loan gets modified in a sustainable way, meaning with terms you can definitely afford, who cares if they call it HAMP, HOOP, or HOPPY?
I saw Bank of America modify a loan one of my readers with a one-tenth of one percent fixed for 40 years. Which program did that solution come from, do you suppose? HIPPY?
HAMP is just a brand name, and it can be a very important brand to know about, but it just doesn’t matter nearly as much as you might think whether you qualify for HAMP or some other branded or un-branded method of modifying a loan.
I mean, were you planning on ordering shirts that say “HAMP” on them, like a logo, to show the world that you got a HAMP Loan Modification? Play golf in it perhaps? So, what difference does it make whether you think it’s HAMP or something else, as long as the terms are reasonable and you can afford them… I say it’s a winner.
We’ve come a long way, I suppose from the loan mod days of 2009 and 2010… and 2011… I mean, it is better than ever before, but it’s also still the same or close in too many instances, so if you’re struggling, it’s because it’s that difficult to do right.
Last TWO things I’ll say…
- Don’t get me wrong… if you think you qualify for HAMP specifically and you’re offered terms that you don’t think are right as a result of you not being offered HAMP, tell your servicer representative as specifically as you can why you think the way you do… a little push back can be a very good thing at times, especially if it’s detailed and factual.But don’t take it too far… I have seen homeowners wish they had taken an offer a year ago. Push back but at the end of the day, if you can afford it… take the deal and move on.
- If you’re denied… appeal. If you’re appeal is denied… appeal again. If the appeal of your appeal gets denied… appeal again. Stay in close contact with yout servicer representative… as questions about the denial… as for advice on appealing… make that person want to help you. Just don’t give up.
I know I’ve told this story before, but 2 -3 years ago, I had a reader show up at our annual Christmas Party on Christmas Eve. He’d read that we were having the party, and since I always invite all of my readers… he figured he’d go ahead and show up. So, I’m pouring Manhattans from a pitcher of them I’d concocted when he walked up to me to accept the drink and introduced himself.
“Hi,” he said. “I’m Alan Homeowner.”
“Alan!” I replied. “You showed up… that’s awesome. Did you have some Chinese food, it’s really good?”
A few minutes later as we were chatting, he informed me…
“I finally got my loan modified! With a $250,000 principal reduction.”
I couldn’t believe it. I had tried to help him from the beginning, back when all I could do was try to find someone who knew something, and for Alan nothing had worked… he was with One West Bank, and for a long time, they just didn’t seem to want to modify anything.
And Alan really wanted and needed a principal reduction. It seemed impossible. I think I had given up inside. I asked him how he did it.
“Applied seven times, filed bankruptcy three times, and filed two lawsuits.”
“Wow, that’s the formula? Is that what I should say in an article… that the formula involved seven applications, three bankruptcies, and a partridge in a pear tree?”
We laughed and an hour or so later I saw him and said Merry Christmas, as he was leaving to spend the rest of Christmas Eve with his own family, I’m sure. But, I learned something from Alan that night… never to give up. Even if you have to submit seven applications, file three bankruptcies, etc. etc. etc. Because at the end of that rainbow could be a $250,000 principal reduction.
Hope its been helpful.