Stuck in the byzantine, bureaucratic nightmare of loss mitigation.
April 6, 2022 12:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm currently undergoing a loss mitigation application process with my mortgage servicer and need advise, reassurance, recommendations, whatever you have that might be helpful. I am at my wits' end. You are not my lawyer, but do I need one?

A bit of a rant serving as background: I was put in a covid mortgage forbearance program in early 2021. At the time, I was told NOTHING about the loss mitigation process; they assured me that my payments would be deferred to the end of my loan and acted like everything was easy-peasy. I didn't need to apply or justify any sort of "hardship." They simply signed me up and my payments were paused. I was kicked out of that program in January of this year (apparently because they were unable to contact me, although I never heard from them). In March, I got a call from collections telling me I owed $18k in back payments. I told them that I'm ready and able to resume payments, but I wanted the balance deferred. Now they're saying there's no guarantee this will be an option, and are forcing me through the loss mitigation process. My credit has taken a hit because (although I can afford them) I'm not able to make regular payments until this gets sorted out. I never thought I would be sitting here at risk of foreclosure, now $18k behind on my mortgage.

Unsurprisingly, I have not been able to get ANY answers as to how long this process might take, or what my options might be, or when/if they are going to send my mortgage into foreclosure. ALL I WANT IS TO TALK TO SOMEONE.

Things I have already tried:
1. Calling the loss mitigation department. The hold times are abysmal and they've given me minimal answers. Last time I was on hold for an hour before the line just went dead. They can only tell me that my application is "incomplete." They've offered to ask underwriting to call me back, but nobody has.
2. I found the application portal (nobody even told me about it) and submitted all my documents. They sent a letter back with corrections that needed to be made and told me I need to keep uploading my pay stubs and bank statements. I updated the rest of my documents today and am waiting for them to be reviewed.
3. I've tried looking up staff on linkedin and digging to find the email address format for the company, taking my best guess at their email address and begging them to call me. No replies or calls yet.
4. I submitted a complaint today through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

My questions are as follows:

1. Do I need a lawyer at this point? Or would a lawyer only be able to help once I'm in the foreclosure process?

2. I'm worried my income may hurt my chances at getting a good resolution (what I want is a full deferment of my past due balance). Do you have any insight into how underwriting makes decisions regarding which loss mitigation options I will qualify for?

3. Have you been through this process? If so, what options were you given? How long did it take?

4. It's my understanding that once my application has been accepted for review, the risk of going into foreclosure will "pause" until they review and present me options. Is this accurate? How long does it usually take before the company sends your loan into foreclosure? I believe I am technically 3-4 months behind (since we were removed from forbearance in Jan of this year).

5. Is there any recourse for the hit I've taken to my credit as a result of missed payments?

I am frustrated, confused, embarrassed, and so very angry at both myself and my mortgage servicer. Please help.

(I and my property are in TN)
posted by a.steele to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Best answer: Absolutely lawyer now. You may be able to get assistance or at least some pointers from a legal aid lawyer if your area's legal aid organization has a foreclosure prevention program.
posted by gauche at 1:37 PM on April 6, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also, I encourage you not to be angry with yourself, to the extent possible. You believed what you understood the terms of your forbearance to be and acted accordingly. It is possible you were misled, or that you failed to understand some legalese, but nevertheless you behaved rationally given what you understood of the world.

Feeling angry and ashamed is not going to help you get help, and I guarantee you that nobody at the bank or mortgage servicer is feeling as down on themselves as you are feeling on yourself, and they are the experts who either misled you or failed to make sure you understood what you were doing. If you need to feel angry at two people, I encourage you to feel angry at those assholes twice.
posted by gauche at 1:41 PM on April 6, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: File a complaint with the CFPB and with your state attorney general. While they cannot act as your attorney, the additional regulatory attention often helps the company, um, focus on your individual complaint.
posted by praemunire at 1:49 PM on April 6, 2022 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Well, no sooner had I posted this AskMe than I get a call saying that my application was not only received, but had been reviewed by underwriting AND approved for a full deferment!

For anyone in the same situation who may be reading this in the future, I suspect that the expedited review came as the result of me sending a copy of my CFPB Complaint to the email address I found on all the 1-star google reviews. I don't have any proof of this, but I find it hard to believe after weeks and weeks of struggling to get anyone on the phone, they suddenly became SUPER EFFICIENT the day I started raising hell.

Thanks to those who answered so far. Appreciate y'all. <3
posted by a.steele at 2:05 PM on April 6, 2022 [18 favorites]

It does not hurt to ask if you can get your credit record, ahem, 'corrected' in light of the new information. If you were not paying them because they wouldn't accept the payments or because they didn't inform you of what you should be paying them you have a reasonable argument, though my understanding is that this is more about catching the right person at the right time and there doesn't always have to be a valid reason.

Either way, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 3:07 PM on April 6, 2022 [4 favorites]

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