Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mortgage Rescue Plan: Does It Need a Rescue?

Now we know what the monsters are under the bed: partisan politics, inertia, greed, and despair. The economy keeps getting worse and every program that is announced to help gets roundly criticized by the Press, Pundits, and Politicians. How about injecting some hope into this quagmire?

The latest rant is against the Mortgage Bailout for Homeowners. For the most part, those leading the charge seem to be talking about borrowers who KNEW that they were borrowing more than they could afford to pay back, or the borrowers who got a mortgage loan where the borrower could make minimum payments (interest only or some other lower amount) hoping/expecting the house to rise in value so the borrower could refinance again, or the borrower who lied on his/her mortgage application in order to qualify for the loan without realizing that at the very first rate adjustment, she/he would not be able to afford the payment if it went up, but prayed for a raise/new job/no rate increase/ or divine intervention (or is that intervention by the intelligent designers?).

Below is the content of an e-mail I sent to CNBC's morning business show, SquawkBox, about the call for a financial revolution against the President's plans. You can see the clip where Rick Santelli, a Trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange attacks the Homeowner Mortgage Bailout, by going to the web address provided:


Dear Becky, Joe and Carl (please excuse the use of the familiar but…),

I am a private-practicing sole practitioner attorney in Western Massachusetts. My background is banking, S&L work-outs for the State of Maryland and with FSLIC, Regulator in connection with the S&Ls, and part-time lobbying in the mid-80s for the Mutual Savings Bank industry. I relocated back to Western Mass to run the Berkshire County portion of the ill-fated Bank of New England and ended up working for the Fleet/FDIC workout group, RECOLL Mgt. (Great career move – I resigned as President and CEO of a de novo FSB [federal savings bank] I had started in Ellicott City, MD.).

I take extreme exception to Mr. Santelli’s commentary, his logic, and his outlook.

I represent people, statewide, who are presently losing their homes. Not one has a Lexus or other such luxury car, and if having 1 bathroom with inside plumbing is a luxury, then I guess all of my clients have a luxury.

Just for perspective, the President’s yet fully clarified program will help my clients: the short-form facts of some are as follows:

1. Husband and wife – both working for the same molding company, both laid-off the same day. For the past 18 months, only one has been able to get a job at a time. Husband hired, wife hired, Husband laid-off. Husband gets job, wife gets laid off, etc. Mortgage with Beneficial (which is under a consent decree in Mass. for bad lending practices). Interest rate high; clients “sold” insurance (life, AD&D, disability); loan adjusts up but the disclosures show a downward adjustment by .25% each year “if for a 12 month period all payments made on time” (day due, not 15 day grace period). Repeated calls to Beneficial have yielded no help in a modification

2. Single woman in late 50s. Religious Ed teacher at Catholic High School. Loan from BankUnited, FSB in FL, through a local broker. Initial year’s payments based on 1.7% teaser rate but interest rate, not payments, adjusted month 2 to index (6 mos LIBOR) plus margin (6.75%). Payments increase by 7.5% per year. At end of first year, Orig principal of $159,000 is now $163,000. At month 43 of loan payment is $700+/-. Month 44 –payment is $1,400.30 for rest of loan. Becky will be Pope before this woman will understand the loan she was sold. Oh, by the way, the Broker lied, in writing, and is no longer in business. Closing costs/fees to Broker and Lender - 6% making it a “High Cost Loan”

3. First time home-buyer with 720 FICO. Mortgage Broker puts her in 2/28 LIBOR ARM –tells her the rate will go up and down like prime. Never tells her first adjustment will be 3%. She tries to refi and is told her income is not adequate. House is a two-family but because she rents to family member, Lender will not count the income. She has “banked” payments for the period after the second adjustment, based on the original payment. Money is available to Lender. Lender went to sell at foreclosure. I stopped it, but no response from Lender. All we asked for was original deal – as presented by broker – 30 year fixed 7% - accept monies held by me in escrow, capitalize thew arrears, if any, after recalculating the balance by applying the original rate and actual payments.

4. HFC sells 30 year fixed rate loan. Borrowers have ability to pay with acceptable ratios 32/36 DTI. Loan is billed as a “conventional 30 Year Fixed”. Loan is, in reality a “Simple Interest Loan”, so interest runs every day. There are no 15 day grace periods – pay on the 2nd of the month and get an additional day’s interest charged. Pay on the 16th, which would normally require a 3% of the payment penalty, and pay the penalty PLUS 15 days interest. RESULT: Negative Amortization – off the books – run as a ledger accrual account. $425,000 loan - $22,000 accrued, not paid, interest in 18 months. No payment ever went 30 days – all made by 15th day.

I have a dozen more like these. I have filtered out the guy who has refinanced 13 times since 1985, and now want to get out of the 14th loan – an Option Arm – he can no longer afford. This is the person Santelli should attack. This person kept “cashing out” the equity and is now in a bind due to a 25%-40% drop in prices in the Boston metro area.

One last note – why are people afraid of a judge determining if a loan was made by a lender in bad faith? Misrepresentation goes both ways, and the borrower is the weaker party. Maybe the Lenders should have watched their originators more carefully.

I watch the show every morning from 6-6:45 –get to my office at 7:05 and grab it on CNBC Plus while I go through the e-mails and loan docs. Great show, but how about some better balance. Darwin was right, but to use his theory as a life approach is ignoring basic decency. It is like the “let them eat cake” of the 18th century French elite. Santelli does not sound French.

Richard Isacoff

(end of the e-mail)

It is difficult to convey the details of the President's plan at this point, because thee are none. It is not that the program isn't outlined in detail, but the who qualifies, how does someone apply for help, how do you communicate with your lender, etc, has not been finalized. We are supposed to receive the operational details on or about March 4th. In the meantime the next post will have a summary taken from the Whitehouse Press information, stories in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and other publications.

Author's Copyright by Richard I. Isacoff, Esq, February 2009




corporatebully said...

RBC Bank President Gordon Nixon - Salary $11.73 Million


I'm a commercial fisherman fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) over a $100,000 loan mistake. I lost my home, fishing vessel and equipment. Help me fight this corporate bully by closing your RBC Bank account.

There was no monthly interest payment date or amount of interest payable per month on my loan agreement. Date of first installment payment (Principal + interest) is approximately 1 year from the signing of my contract.
Demand loan agreements signed by other fishermen around the same time disclosed monthly interest payment dates and interest amounts payable per month.The lending policy for fishermen did change at RBC from one payment (principal + interest) per year for fishing loans to principal paid yearly with interest paid monthly. This lending practice was in place when I approached RBC.
Only problem is the loans officer was a replacement who wasn't familiar with these type of loans. She never informed me verbally or in writing about this new criteria.

Phone or e-mail:
RBC President, Gordon Nixon, Toronto (416)974-6415
RBC Vice President, Sales, Anne Lockie, Toronto (416)974-6821
RBC President, Atlantic Provinces, Greg Grice (902)421-8112 mail
RBC Manager, Cape Breton/Eastern Nova Scotia, Jerry Rankin (902)567-8600
RBC Vice President, Atlantic Provinces, Brian Conway (902)491-4302 mail
RBC Vice President, Halifax Region, Tammy Holland (902)421-8112 mail
RBC Senior Manager, Media & Public Relations, Beja Rodeck (416)974-5506 mail
RBC Ombudsman, Wendy Knight, Toronto, Ontario 1-800-769-2542 mail
Ombudsman for Banking Services & Investments, JoAnne Olafson, Toronto, 1-888-451-4519 mail

"Fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) one customer at a time"

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