Wednesday, March 28, 2012
JPMorgan Chase Reps 'Not Aware' Of Mortgage Settlement, Says Housing Advocate
Mira Tanna, a housing advocate in Orlando, Fla., doesn't expect everyone to know the details of the recently announced $25 billion mortgage settlement, but she was taken aback, she said, when two JPMorgan Chase employees who work directly with homeowners recently told her that they were not aware of the deal nor of their bank's pledge to consider principal reduction for underwater borrowers.
A key provision of the national settlement, which resolves an investigation into wrongful foreclosures and other abuses in the "servicing" of home loans, requires Chase and four other big banks to write off about $10 billion in mortgage debt for underwater borrowers through principal reductions. The deal was announced about two months ago, and the banks said that principal reductions would become available beginning in March.
Two weeks ago, Tanna said she called the Chase Homeownership Center in Orlando to ask whether her client, a 75-year-old Orlando woman, might qualify for principal reduction. She needed an answer right away. The client, who asked that her name not be used in this story, had just been offered a loan modification by Chase with affordable monthly payments -- about one-third of what she had been paying -- but with a catch: a balloon payment of about $200,000 due when the loan matures in 2036. That's much more than the $120,000 that the house is currently worth. The client had one week to decide whether to accept or reject the modification.
Tanna, who works at Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, said she spoke with her client's "point of contact" at the bank and also to another bank employee. "Neither were aware of the settlement," she said. "They said there was nothing they could do."