Loan Modification Info
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Loan Modification: The cornerstone of foreclosure defense
Loan Modification is one of the primary tools we use in foreclosure defense. While we simultaneously fight the foreclosure in court, we will seek a loan modification for homeowners who want to keep their homes and lower their monthly mortgage payments.
As many homeowners are aware, applying for a modification can be an arduous and tedious process. We have found that applications made through an attorney and under the guidance of foreclosure mediation have a higher rate of success. Our office is very experienced when it comes to modifications and getting results, even where there have been prior denials.
Read below to learn more about how loan modification works and how we can help.
What is a Loan Modification?
A Loan Modification is a change to your mortgage which reduces your monthly mortgage payment.
How does a Loan Modification work?
Loan Modification reduces your monthly payment by lowering your interest rate, changing the term of your loan to a longer term, or by deferring or forgiving a portion of what is owed.
Getting a Loan Modification
Applying for a loan modification can be an arduous process, with endless documents requests which often lead to denials based on "insufficient documentation" or similar reasons. After such a frustrating process, homeowners often want to give up.
We can help with the process to try and ensure that your application is reviewed for any eligible programs. We can appeal denials and even try to get the bank to review for a modification after a prior denial.
Modification is one of the primary means through which we can help clients resolve a foreclosure, and we recommend applying for a modification while simultaneously mounting a defense to your foreclosure action in court.
Remember that modification programs are always changing and even where a modification has been denied previously, or defaulted on previously, a new modification may still be possible.
Which Banks or Mortgage Lenders offer Loan Modifications?
Loan Modifications are generally available from all lenders, but the qualifying criteria vary greatly so a modification is not automatic and sometimes requires a lot of effort to secure. Some lenders make the process especially difficult. We have previously helped clients obtain mortgage loan modifications from a large number of lenders and servicers including:
Bank of America (formerly Countrywide)
Caliber Home Loans
Ditech (formerly Greentree)
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA
M&T Bank (formerly Hudson City)
Mr. Cooper (formerly Nationstar)
Ocwen Home Loans
Select Portfolio Servicing
Selene Finance (who often services on behalf of MGTLQ and other trusts)
Specialized Loan Servicing (SLS)
Rules regarding Loan Modification
Mortgage Lenders and Loan Servicers are required to adhere to various rules and requirements when it comes to reviewing a homeowner for a potential loan modification. Some rules are Federal and others are determined by state laws. The purpose of these rules is to try to create some uniformity and fairness in the modification review process.
Despite these rules, lenders and servicer sometimes fail to follow them and they can be liable for failing to do so under Federal Regulation X or Regulation Z.
Some of the requirements that lenders are obligated to follow include:
-Must issue a decision within 30 business days of receipt of a "complete" application.
In reality, modification applications typically take much longer than 30 days. Often times, servicers try to impede an application becoming "complete" by constantly requiring additional documents. This can result in a modification review taking many months. It is important to stay vigilant during this process and not give up.
-Must contact the borrower and indicate if there are any missing documents or additional documents needed before a decision is made.
Again, this is a common avenue by which the application process can be prolonged and frustrated, as often times the bank will claims that a homeowner failed to provided a needed document, when in reality, they had never communicated the request for the missing and/or additional documents. This is one reason it is very helpful to have an attorney manage or handle the modification application.
-Must review for a modification or other loss mitigation option if there are at least 37 days to do so.
The 37 day requirement is something the banks often use as an excuse to not review for a modification. The best way to avoid this issue is get started on a modification earlier and not wait until the last minute before a sheriff sale. However, where there are time limitations restricting this timeframe, our attorneys have previously successfully gotten applications under review despite this rule, either through working with the servicer, their attorneys, or through making an emergent application to the Court.
Contact us to get more information on how we can help you apply for a loan modification.