(By Jason Ian Hector--08/15/2015) Most Real Estate Professions and Homeowners are not aware of the HAMP Solution Center and that they themselves or an authorized third party can open an escalation or file a complaint with the bank's regulator by visiting www.helpwithmybank.gov or www.consumerfinance.gov. The consumer finance website is the newly formed and combined Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and their website is very user friendly as well.
In my experience, it is very common for lenders / servicers to not follow the MHA guidelines which can be found in the latest version of the MHA Handbook. The HAMP Solution Center is a great resource for clients and real estate professionals. I am hearing cases of homeowners being kicked out of the HAFA short sale program recently. This has been an ongoing issue and the case escalation processes are an essential resource for consumer protection to mortgage holders. Working with a real estate agent or broker who is familiar with complaint submissions is important consideration.
Keep in mind that the HAMP Solution Center will only handle escalations for borrowers in the U.S. Treasury sponsored programs like Making Home Affordable or the HAFA Short Sale program.
To start, first, I work through your normal contacts and channels with the servicer. If that does not resolve the issue, elevate your concern to a senior manager within the servicer's organization.
Below are some examples from the HAMP website as well as the summary of the escalation process and a list of cases that represent valid reasons for escalation:
- Inquiries regarding improper program denials.
- Servicer refuses to stop a scheduled foreclosure sale on a borrower's house while the borrower is being evaluated for HAMP or other program.
- Servicer did not assess the homeowner for the applicable MHA program(s) according to program guidelines.
- Servicer instructs the borrower to miss a payment.
- Servicer advises the borrower to intentionally misrepresent their personal or financial information.
- Servicer is not responding to borrowers inquiries in a timely manner regarding MHA program(s)
- Servicer says they are not participating in HAMP, but the loan's investor is a GSE.
- Servicer says borrower doesn't qualify, but counselor has reason to believe that the borrower is eligible.
Homeowner Resources for Complaints & Victims of Scams
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency provides tips and materials to help homeowners avoid mortgage modification and foreclosure rescue scams. Find them here. Also at www.helpwithmybank.gov. This is the regulator for most banks and can handle customer complaints filed as well.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- This new agency was created to span across Federal and state government and the private sector to target mortgage loan modification fraud and foreclosure rescue scams that threaten to hurt American homeowners and prevent them from getting the help they need during these challenging times. Complaints can be filed on their website at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/.
- Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force -- The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force maintains a wide list of resources and information dedicated to helping find and report suspected cases of financial fraud. Visit www.StopFraud.gov.
- If you think you were a victim of fraud, you can contact the Department of Consumer Affairs--Fraud Division at 213-974-1450 or 800-973-3370.
- If your complaint is against an attorney, visit the State Bar of California website or call 800-843-9053.