I’ve been hearing a story this past week that intrigues me. I can’t prove it, but I would love to know if it were true. I will throw this out to the blog world and see what comes back. Who knows, we may get some clarity on a key issue.
I have heard this story directly from a few folks in Nevada. I know someone in NY who has a similar story. But when I heard from yet another person in Florida this morning I said, “There must be something to this”. My sample of information is too small. I want to know if this is a coincidence or is there something bigger and nefarious afoot.
There has been (from my narrow perspective) a flood of approved loan mods in just the last few weeks. People who were on the edge and not paying a mortgage get a letter in the mail that says their application has been approved. After weeks and months of hanging on a phone and waiting for an axe to drop some relief arrives.
Nothing particularly unusual about that. Mods are granted all the time. But I was struck by the timing. The foreclosure story is exploding around the banks. It is not possible to see where this will end but it is a certainty that it will cost the banks big time.
What might a banker do if he was sitting on a pile of defaulted mortgages and now the traditional route of foreclosure was blocked? Adding to the problems of the bankers is that there is no assurance that they even have a valid claim to foreclose given that so much of the paperwork is tainted.
One possible response would be to get all troubled borrowers to reaffirm their debt, the second is to get the trouble borrowers back to paying something on the mortgage, even if it were a fraction of what was formerly owed on a monthly basis. A loan modification would achieve both results. When a borrower signs up for a loan mod they sign new papers. A portion of this process will re-establish any loan balance that is due. The language in the mod could have new foreclosure terms that eliminate the banker’s problem with past tainted documentation. Once a borrower makes a few months of new lowered payments they are, in effect, confirming their acceptance of the new terms.
Most Mods go bust in six months. So little is accomplished from the lenders perspective. But what if the lenders motivation for doing a Mod was not to get a borrower to a loan balance and monthly nut that they could pay, but rather the motivation was to circumvent the foreclosure trap the lenders are in? A Mod could legally resolve the problems.
The story I have been hearing is that tens of thousands of Mod letters have been sent by servicers in the past few weeks. Anyone who had an application pending is all of sudden getting the happy news in the mail.
Question to the audience: Has anyone else heard or seen evidence of this?
If this were to be true is would be a very big slap in the face of the banks. For years they have been fighting off Mods. But when the tables turn on them due the unforeseen explosion and chaos in foreclosure the banks turn on a dime and go into mass Mod mode. Should that be the case it would prove (once again) that the banks will do anything to screw their customers. The mod is just a vehicle to perfect the mortgage lien.