Sunday, December 25, 2011

Does 'trial' modification lead to 'permanent' loan modification?

Question: We have been working with the bank for the past two years to get a loan modification and now we are losing our house to foreclosure. Originally, we were put on a payment plan and have been paying less than what the actual mortgage payments were for the past two years. The bank has just contacted us with a decision that we were denied a loan modification stating that our debt to income ratio is not between 10-55%. What can we do?

Response: You most likely were given a "trial" loan modification in late 2009 or early 2010. Sadly, even as early as 2010, banks offered "trial" modifications over the phone without verifying financials, which is the essential component for banks now to offer a "trial" modification, and yet alone, permanent modification. I just successfully resolved almost an identical case, where the borrower was on a "trial" modification, paying a reduced sum for a duration of 18 months. After 18 months, he was denied a permanent modification. Generally, if foreclosure action has already been commenced, the court will regard this kind of a denial as bad faith and may even sanction the bank, but in this case, the bank did not commence a foreclosure proceeding and continued to accept payments from him and applied them as partial payments towards his original monthly mortgage payment (once foreclosure is commenced, the bank can no longer accept any payments from borrower other than to fully pay off the loan). Accordingly, upon denial, we resubmitted all the financial paper work to the bank and the financials showed affordability to the bank and my client was offered another modification plan (traditional, as opposed to HAMP). He was in a "trial" for 3 months, paying even less than he paid for those 18 months and after 2nd payment, he received a permanent modification agreement, offering very similar terms to HAMP (starting with 2.175% and eventually rising to 4.375% fixed). The bottom line is you still have options and can have a favorable outcome. You just have to reach out to an experienced attorney, who could help you and not mislead you.

In the legal blog, Attorney Svetlana Kaplun addresses typical questions our firm has received from our clients, or come across from homeowners related to foreclosure, foreclosure defense, loan modification and bankruptcy topics.

The information contained in the legal blog of Attorney Svetlana Kaplun is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as a legal advice on any subject matter. Please read our full disclaimer or contact the Law Office of Svetlana Kaplun, P.C. by telephone at 718-444-1115 for more information.

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