Indiana Bankruptcy Lawyer Helps Homeowners Get the Help They Deserve Under New Foreclosure Settlement

August 11, 2012 6:07 pm Published by

Three years ago, my letter to the editor of USA Today expressed all my frustrations with the mortgage modification process.  As a debt consolidation lawyer offering Indiana bankruptcy help, I knew how hard I and all my colleagues in the Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices were working to help stop foreclosure.  I also knew our clients were up against so many odds:

  • Mortgage servicing companies claimed to have lost the paperwork they’d submitted months earlier.
  • Home values had dropped below the amounts they owed on their mortgages.
  • They weren’t warned that a mortgage modification would be a big negative on their credit reports.
  • Scamsters claimed they could help stop foreclosure, then disappeared after collecting fees, and never provided any help.

All through the three to four year “mortgage meltdown” period, I fought for legislation that would allow bankruptcy courts to rule on modifying mortgages, either by reducing principal or by extending the payment period.  Meanwhile, of course, I continued helping clients file personal bankruptcy in Indiana, all the while providing payday loan debt help, student loan debt help, and Indiana small business bankruptcy help.  Watching the different federal programs that kept being offered by our administration, I observed that too few people were actually being helped, and then, too often, it was too late. I felt helpless.

Well now (finally), some real help seems to have arrived for many homeowners.  As bankruptcy attorneys in Indiana, our part in this now (as one of my Columbus bankruptcy lawyer colleagues pointed out), is to help make sure the “help-ees” know how to access that help.

On February 9 of this year it was announced: the federal government and all the states have reached a settlement agreement with the five largest mortgage servicing companies in the U.S. :

  • Bank of America
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Citigroup
  • Ally Financial (GMAC)
  • Wells Fargo

Homeowners may be eligible for the following types of assistance:

  • Forgiveness of some of the principal of the loan
  • Help with a short sale
  • A loan modification (either an increase in the length of the repayment period or a reduction in the interest rate)
  • Cash awards to borrowers who lost homes to foreclosure between January 2008 and December 2011.

There are two specific elements in the settlement  that directly relate to bankruptcy:

  • Eligible homeowners may receive these payments from banks even if those homeowners are the process of filing bankruptcy or working under a Chapter 13 debt repayment plan.
  • There’s a special contact system set up for bankruptcy trustees to get help and information.

To start your own inquiry, here are the phone numbers you’ll need:

GMAC/Ally Bank    800 766 4622

Bank of America    877 488 7814

Citigroup                866 272 4749

JPMorgan Chase  866 372 6901

Wells Fargo           800 288 3212

For consumers, it’s always been a good idea, when negotiating a mortgage modification, to have an experienced Indiana bankruptcy attorney by your side, so grab your mortgage statement and give our office a call.  Watch for more information about the settlement in next week’s Bankruptcy in Indiana articles.



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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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