Below is a letter I blasted out to over 200 local, state and federal government figures, agencies, lender executives and board memebers. I have been getting a slew of responses from government folks; however nobody has yet to find a solution. I'm hoping Thom Hartmann sees this and possibly knows someone or something that can be done. Indymac has responded to me 4 times now to tell me that I have no hardship (I guess they don't count being $200,000 as a hardship) and refuses to work with me on any offers presented.
To any and all interested parties:
Please hear me out – this is a tale of my hard-working, American family, and our attempts to be proactive in our mortgage mess, a mess completely due to how the lender is blatantly refusing to work with us, regardless of any offers made. The lender’s reason is that we are free of hardships and have made our payments on time; therefore no need is present to discuss any type of modification or alteration to the terms of our mortgage.
My wife and I purchased this home, our first, in 2006 and felt very privileged to be able to own a home. Our broker put us into a 100% finance, with a first mortgage of $348,000 and a second mortgage of $87,000. We have always made our payments on time, and for the first few years paid extra towards the second mortgage to help bring the balance down as much as we could afford. We stopped this when values began dropping severely.
In 2008, home values began dropping at an increasingly alarming pace. Our home rapidly dropped from $435,000 to approximately $240,000; thus we lost 45% of our equity and found ourselves seriously upside down. We continued to pay both mortgages, being hopeful that in the near future things would turn around and our property value would begin to increase.
The reason for our concern is that our first and second mortgages are 10 year fixed, interest only loans. After the 10 year expiration, our first mortgage resets to an adjustable and we are then at the mercy of fluctuating interest rates; the second mortgage has a balloon payment and requires payment in full. This is a huge worry for us, as our only means of avoiding the balloon payment and fluctuating rates is to refinance into a loan that is fixed on interest rate and terms.
At this point, no one will even speak to us regarding a refinance considering how negative on equity we are. We have attempted contacting our lender, Indymac Mortgage Services, a division of OneWest Bank, to attempt a loan modification of some sort three times now. Our first attempt was through their online modification process. I took the time to gather the multiples of pages of documents they required for review, and after several weeks of waiting they responded back stating that because of our great payment history, they could not help us out with a modification. They went on to say that if we find that times get troubling and we have difficulty making our payments, then contact them back.
I found this odd, as I am pro-actively attempting to fix my mortgage before it brings us to the scenario of a balloon payment, no means to refinance, and thus a forced short-sell or foreclosure; losing our home in which our family has grown in. This is the home in which my son was born, and to fear losing the home not because of a lack of ability to pay, but because of the mortgage mess we are in, provides a sad commentary on the American lifestyle of the twenty first century.
I did not take “no” as an answer and chose to seek the head of the modification department, ultimately finding Mr. Boomer Bean, Assistant Vice President, Regional Outreach Manager of Indymac Mortgage Services, a division of OneWest Bank in Austin, TX. I spoke with him at great length of the trouble my wife and I will face in April, 2016, when our 10 year expiration hits and our loan terms re-set. I advised him that I agreed to the purchase price of our home in 2006 and am willing to stick to that agreement; I’m mainly concerned about the terms of my loan and not the value. All I am truly seeking is for my lender to switch my loan over to a 30 year fixed.
I have already paid Indymac six and a half years worth of interest (approx. $222,300) and only want to go forward on new terms with a 30 year fixed; I’m willing to keep my loan balances at what they are today. Indymac would still benefit, considering their six and a half years of interest only income they received from me. As well, my wife and I have the income to more than qualify for a 30-year fixed term on the value of our home. The only thing that holds us back is our negative equity.
In speaking with Mr. Bean, he advised he would review my file and circumstances, only to find that they only service my loan and the owner is a Mortgage Backed Security that is managed by Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank refuses to speak with anyone and defers to the servicer, Indymac Mortgage Services. Indymac, in turn, cannot help me due to their servicing contract and its stipulations that they cannot modify my terms because I do not have hardships and that I make my payments on time.
I tried going to Mr. Bean in February/March of 2011 and again in October/November of 2011, and both times received the same responses described above. I am having a hard time understanding why they refuse to work with a good-standing customer who’s only trying to live their American Dream. One would venture to think that they would be welcoming us with open arms and be quick to help, especially in the terms we’ve offered. They are out absolutely no money at all, have one less home to worry about falling into short-sale or foreclosure, and we are ensured that we can remain in our home without the threat of a balloon payment or fluctuating mortgage payments.
Had we known of these potential negative consequences at the time of obtaining our mortgage, we would have never agreed to such terms and insisted on a thirty year fixed mortgage.
I am asking you today to please acknowledge the struggle we are up against. We are not asking for handouts, we are just asking for new terms to our loan. My lender will not take the sensible approach of trying to work with its customers and chooses instead the route of a “not my responsibility” approach to this matter. Please help my wife and me out and contact Boomer Bean at Indymac Mortgage Services, or Deutsche Bank if you have any influence, and let them know about this unacceptable treatment to American citizens. The American citizens bailed these banks out to the tune of trillions of dollars and the least they could do is try and work with their customers, especially when a very reasonable offer comes to the table.