Debt relief is an important issue right now in New Jersey, and at the top of the list is the need for help in confronting mortgage foreclosure. There are currently 55,000 pending foreclosure filings in New Jersey. Bank of America says 66,000 of its New Jersey loans have missed at least one payment. The New Jersey court system had put all foreclosure filings on hold while it reviewed lender procedures, but has now permitted five banks, including Bank of America to proceed with pending caseloads. This is not welcome news for the many homeowners seeking debt relief in the form of mortgage loan modifications and other accommodations.
One local couple has been seeking answers from Bank of America for at least three years. The 70-year-old woman lost her job and her 75-year-old husband was forced to go down to working part-time due to health problems. Like many others, they have been trying to arrange a loan modification. Every time it appeared they would receive an answer, though, a bank representative did not call back, an employee was transferred or they were told to send more documents. When the couple learned that Bank of America was holding an event to help distressed homeowners, they gathered their paperwork and attended.
About 450 people came to the two-day event, and the couple met with a BOA mortgage specialist. About 60 percent of the attendees received a decision immediately, while others were promised one within 30 days. The couple learned their proposed modification would still be too expensive, and they are now considering other options, hoping to stay in the home at least two more years.
The outreach program was considered a step in the right direction, though housing advocates say more could be done. Nationwide, more than 1. 8 million BOA customers have missed at least one monthly mortgage payment. Still, most agree that the face-to-face meetings are beneficial.
About 450 people came to the two-day event and the couple met with a Bank of America mortgage specialist. About 60 percent of the attendees received a decision immediately, while others were promised one within 30 days. The couple learned their proposed modification would still be too expensive, so they now must consider other options.
The outreach program was considered a step in the right direction, though housing advocates say more could be done. Nationwide, more than 1.8 million Bank of America customers have missed at least one monthly mortgage payment.
The disappointed New Jersey couple will now need to make other plans and recognize that a modification is not going to solve their problems. Their house is currently worth less than they owe the bank. There are a variety of options to consider, including bankruptcy strategies that may well be of help. A New Jersey attorney dedicated to helping families obtain much-needed debt relief from financial problems beyond their control may help chart a course to economic stability.
Source: The New Jersey Local News, “Bank of America event offers help to customers at risk of foreclosure,” Sarah Portlock, Aug. 28, 2011.