Finally, one politician is recognizing a real problem.
Independent non-profit newsroom Pro Publica Inc. reports that “about 97,000 homeowners in the government’s mortgage modification program have been stuck in a trial period for over six months. Most of them, about 60,000, have their mortgages with a single mortgage servicer, JPMorgan Chase… about 475,000 homeowners have been in a trial modification for longer than three months.”
Now if that doesn’t concern you, you should be getting back to reality. The government’s aim of reducing the number of underwater homeowners must be achieving significant results by today. However, not even the HUD can take them out of the debt pool. With this, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has proposed the creation of the Homeowner Advocate Office to detect which mortgage lenders are taking advantage of their borrowers. Speaking to The Minnesota Independent, Sen. Franken states, “Too many Minnesotans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and are now in danger of losing their homes. When they feel they’re being treated unfairly, they need to know there’s someone who has their back. My proposal creates an office dedicated to these families. They’re doing their best with an incredibly stressful situation in a tough economy that they didn’t create, and we ought to do what we can to help them.”
Now there’s no denying that this plan would be a major change in the government’s existing programs. Obama’s HAMP project to alleviate 4 million homeowners out of this mess is certainly no good. Franken’s idea would correct the loan servicers’ mistakes (deliberate or not) when they process modification applications. In fact, he lambastes the government in his interview with The Huffington Post : “What happens is that one of the problems is that the servicers or representatives who talk to people on the phone don’t seem to be expert as they might be. That’s sort of the problem that this is addressing. Or they’re told you’re too late, or this form didn’t come in, or that, or we didn’t get this thing. Of course the person did send that thing. So there’s just a lot of people reporting kind of frustrating interactions with the servicers’ representatives.”
My only concern is the time it would take for this proposal to finally get approved. It would be scrutinized in a heated deliberation that to me is utterly senseless when the benefits of this plan far outweigh its costs.
Isn’t it time the Congress and the Senate speed up the process of reviving the real estate market? This is getting tiresome lately.