Making Myself a Test Case for Loan Modification

Photo of Bank of America ATM Machine by Brian ...

What better way to learn what a customer/client has to endure than to roll up my sleeves and explore the situation myself?

This week I decided to go through the process of exploring a loan modification on my mortgage just as a colleague of mine is doing. We both have Bank of America loans. My colleague and I are 4 days apart from when we made initial phone calls to our bank. The race is on!

After being transferred several times, here are a few of the questions I was asked by my bank:

Bank rep: “What is your social security number?”

Me: “Same as it was the last few times I gave it to you.”

Bank rep: (Silence. I relented and gave it to him again.)

Bank rep: “Are you behind on your mortgage payments?”

Me: “No. I answered that question already. Twice.”

Bank rep: “Is your net worth more than a million dollars?”

Me: “No! Would I be calling you if I was worth that much?”

Bank rep: “What is your ethnicity? You don’t have to answer ma’am.”

Me: “Green!”

Bank rep: “Irish?”

Me: “No! I wish I HAD more green! Dollars! Green dollars!”

(My colleagues in the office are snickering. I tried not to let the bank rep hear me laughing too.)

Bank rep: “What is a good date of birth for you?”

Me: “Are you kidding?”

Bank rep: (silent)

Me: “Your records should reflect my date of birth.”

Me: (I’m feeling sorry for the bank rep — DOB given.)

(Colleagues still snickering as they overhear my conversation.)

Bank rep: “Will you authorize Bank of America to run a credit check to ensure that you have not recently made any large purchases?”

Me: “I wouldn’t be that stupid!”

Bank rep: “Do you have several months of reserves to pay for housing expenses?”

Me: “Yes.” (This guy doesn’t sympathize with me, I can tell. This is why I never bothered until now to pursue a loan mod.)

Bank rep: “Have you tried to do a short sale?”

Me: “I don’t want to sell. Right now I’m pursuing a loan modification with you.”

The bank rep apologized about the government questions (I wondered what country I was transferred to — the bank rep had an accent.) He said the paperwork would be Fedex’d to me.

(They can afford to Fedex me the paperwork?)

Will keep you posted…

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5 thoughts on “Making Myself a Test Case for Loan Modification”

  1. Lissette Garza

    My personal experience with loan modification was a very disappointed. I started my process in January 2009 with CHASE bank. Like you I answered many question to bank representative, I had to tell him almost all my personal life in order to start the process. One of the questions, of course, was if I was behind on my payments since I told him no the next question was what was my hardship problem. After I told him we have some income reduction, he took me a little bit more serious and started the modification loan process. I had to tell him from how I spend my money, how much I make, how many members of family etc. Three months ( April 2009) I finally received a formal application from the bank to started officially the process. After I read the condition and the terms of the modification, I had many concerns and doubts about it, so I decided the bank representative who was in charge of my case. After so many phone calls, I was finally able to speak with him. I started asking him questions about the modification ….To make long story short the bank representation told me the only way for me to qualify for a loan modification was if I was behind with my payments for a least three months or in foreclosure process and there was no warranty the bank will help me. This was the end of my experience with my loan modification. Good luck with yours.

  2. Anna May

    Lissette, might you consider trying again? My colleague asked for his paperwork from Bank of America last week and was told it would take up to three weeks to receive them. By Monday, he had already received the package. Such being the case, I expect to receive my package by this weekend.

    The banks are getting better at responding. It’s been over a year since you pursued Chase — how about giving it another shot?

  3. Richard Ozuna

    Bank of America tops 600,000 total modifications since January 2008

    Requires mandatory confirmation of readership
    Thu 13 May 2010
    Intended Audience

    Bank of America has completed more than 56,000 permanent mortgage modifications under the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and has now completed a total of more than 600,000 modifications through all available programs since January 2008.

    “We were able to convert nearly 24,000 Bank of America customers from trial to permanent modifications in the past month, completing the process for more homeowners than in any previous month,” said Jack Schakett, credit loss mitigation strategies executive for Bank of America Home Loans.

    The bank continues to evaluate homeowners’ eligibility and activate trial modifications while focusing on completing as many permanent modifications as possible for those who have successfully completed their trial payment period. A decrease in the number of active trial modifications reflects successful conversions to completed modifications. Additionally, the implementation of new government requirements for financial documentation will slow the inflow of new trial modifications.

    Reaching out to customers

    As required by government guidelines, Bank of America is notifying customers who did not meet eligibility requirements for HAMP, or who did not meet the requirements of their trial period plan, that they are not eligible to complete a permanent HAMP modification.

    “We are letting customers know that we may explore other homeownership retention options, depending on individual circumstances and investor guidelines,” Schakett said.

    Bank of America has completed nearly 550,000 modifications outside of HAMP since January 2008, more than 59,000 of them in the first four months of this year. All told, through HAMP and non-HAMP solutions, Bank of America has completed more than 605,000 modifications since January 2008, including 115,000 this year.

    If all homeownership retention solutions have been exhausted, a short sale or deed-in-lieu may help the customer avoid the more severe negative impacts of foreclosure.

    Leading the way in program implementation

    Bank of America continues to support and lead in implementation of all facets of the government’s Making Home Affordable initiative.

    The first offers under the new second lien modification program (2MP), were mailed on April 1, within days of Treasury issuing the program guidelines.

    In April Bank of America became operational in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Avoidance (HAFA) program, which provides a streamlined, cooperative and encouraging approach to move homeowners who are ineligible for a HAMP modification into the short sale or deed-in-lieu process.

    Bank of America continues to lead the industry in refinancing loans through the Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP) with more than 200,000 mortgages refinanced. These include more than 110,000 mortgages with loan balances exceeding 80 percent of the property value that otherwise may be difficult to refinance in today’s tight credit markets.
    Additionally, implementation of recently announced enhancements to Bank of America’s National Homeownership Retention Program will begin soon.

    For more information, see the May 13 press release.

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