Home > Blogs > Joelle Embres' Blog
87,403 views

Joelle Embres' Blog

By Joelle Embres | Agent in Parkland, FL
  • Big banks to hold foreclosure prevention event in Deerfield

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Deerfield Beach, Foreclosure in Deerfield Beach, Property Q&A in Deerfield Beach  |  May 15, 2012 2:13 PM  |  728 views  |  No comments

    Three major lenders involved in the $25 billion mortgage foreclosure settlement will participate in a free workshop for struggling homeowners next month in Deerfield Beach.

    Bank of America, Chase and GMAC will attend the event June 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Deerfield Beach Hilton. Homeowners should learn that day whether they will be eligible for loan modifications or other relief.

    The seminar is sponsored by United Financial Counselors, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group based in North Miami Beach. To register, call (877) 509-3160.

    Jason Walowitz, president of the agency, said he’s noticed a change among banks since the foreclosure settlement was announced in February.

    “They’re being more proactive, I think, and doing more outreach and producing more tangible results,” he said.

    In the past eight weeks, Bank of America, GMAC, Chase, Wells Fargo and Ocwen Loan Servicing have reduced more than $5 million in mortgage balances for South Florida borrowers, said Walowitz, citing federal data.

    Bank of America, for instance, recently reduced the mortgage balances of three of his clients by $135,000, $140,000 and $192,000, Walowitz said.

    In addition, Bank of America announced this week that it is sending out letters to potentially thousands of South Florida homeowners, telling them that they may be eligible for mortgage balance forgiveness. The lender also started a new program in April designed to streamline short sales and respond to offers from prospective buyers within 20 days.

    Until recently, banks have been reluctant to reduce principal. Homeowners also complained that lenders were unresponsive to their requests for other types of aid in avoiding foreclosure.

    Banks insist the settlement is not the reason they’re stepping up foreclosure prevention efforts. They say the housing crash was unprecedented in recent history, and it took time to learn how to meet borrowers’ needs.

    Prior to 2009, there were no industrywide standard mortgage modification programs, said Jumana Bauwens, a spokeswoman for Bank of America. The lender now has 50,000 employees nationwide dedicated to handling mortgage defaults.

    “We have more resources than ever,” she said.

    Florida and 48 other states reached the landmark settlement with Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and GMAC’s Ally Financial. Oklahoma reached its owns pact.

    The national settlement requires banks to reduce mortgage balances and pay 750,000 people nationwide up to $2,000 if they endured mortgage servicing abuse while losing their homes to foreclosure from 2008 through 2011.

    Florida borrowers will receive about $7.6 billion in benefits from loan modifications, including principal reduction on their mortgages, according to Attorney General Pam Bondi.

    The “robo signing” scandal started in 2010, when bank employees, or robo signers, admitted under oath that they signed off on thousands of foreclosures without properly reviewing the cases.

    Attorneys offering free legal advice also will be available at the Deerfield Beach, so even borrowers who don’t have Bank of America, Chase or GMAC as lenders can attend, Walowitz said.

    Homeowners should plan to bring mortgage documents, bank statements, pay stubs and tax returns. They also should bring a hardship letter, which explains to the lender the circumstances that caused them to fall behind on mortgage payments.

Copyright © 2014 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer