Although it has been 10 years, many of us remember the great financial crash of 2008.
It was the end of the world. The Apocalypse had just happened.
The entire world was collapsing in on itself and mass panic ensued. The height of it occurred just before the 2008 presidential election featuring Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. It was a tight race, and how the two candidates responded in the wake of the crisis seemed to tilt the race toward the Democrat.
In the wake of the crisis, the federal government (in its infinite wisdom) wanted to alleviate the pain of the housing collapse by introducing a program that would help keep people in their homes even after they lost more than half their value. It was called HAMP or the Home Affordability Modification Program.
As with most federal programs, however, the good intentions created a road to you-know-where.
One such story came from a woman in New Jersey, who decided to take advantage of the HAMP mortgage-modification back in 2010. Six years later, even though the woman did not miss a single mortgage payment, her home was foreclosed upon. And she lost the home she loved and wanted to keep – which was why she felt the need to go into the program in the first place.
Her mortgage was with Bank of America, and she sued the bank claiming it had lied and deceived her as she when through the program, and some facts have come out in the years since HAMP started where banks were essentially sabotaging the program.
Claims of losing paperwork, forcing homeowners to re=-apply, or telling them they were approved one day and then saying they don’t’ meet the requirements months later. Amidst all of this, some people will be led to believe that they have smaller mortgage payments, so they pay that “new” payment. In reality, the original mortgage payment was on record, and thus a person could make all the payments and yet fall behind on the mortgage until such time as the account gets so far behind that the bank takes action to foreclose.
Other than the advice to never get into a government program if you can avoid it, there is the advice of if you are already getting in, to make sure to have copies of every single document that you sign, read, print or have even shown to you – have it on file and ready to show an independent professional who specializes in mortgages and can help you understand the terms of the program and give you guidance on how to navigate through and hold the bank accountable for everything to which it agreed.
The case is currently being appealed, so the resolution is not finalized as of yet, but at the very least there is yet another example of the object-lesson to be learned from getting involved in a government program.
Government is here to help … itself into your pocketbook.