How Has the Mortgage Crisis Affected African Americans and Americans In General?
1.1 million homeowners lost their homes in 2009, 1.3 million in 2010 and 804,000 in 2011. During the first three quarters of 2012, foreclosures continued to decline but remained alarmingly high at 668,000. A large number of homeowners with loan payment problems are still exposed to unnecessary foreclosure danger-lenders and are overwhelmed.
A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, University of Chicago and Ohio State University estimates that 800,000 erroneous foreclosures occurred between 2009 and 2010. Projections by the Federal Reserve Bank and others are that another 4 to 10 million foreclosures will occur by 2016. African American or Hispanic families will represent 1 out of 4 of these foreclosures. This is a quiet catastrophe.
Struggling homeowners must take immediate action to try to work out win-win solutions with their lenders. Decisions must be made to keep making the unaffordable payments until one runs out of money, sell the homes or request loan modifications.
Helpful resources for struggling homeowners:
- If you are employed but struggling to make your mortgage payments, you may be eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). To access information for this program, go to www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.
- If you are currently facing foreclosure, check HUD’s Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure and use the sources available at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/avoiding_foreclosure.
- You can get FDIC’s Foreclosure Prevention Tool Kit at www.fdic.gov/consumers/loans/prevention/modification/index.html.
- You can also get local help for your area from your US Congressperson’s office at www.house.gov/representatives.
Additional steps to get help:
- Request help from and communicate with your lender early and often about your problem.
Develop your story (including the amount of an affordable payment) and clearly and repeatedly communicate what you want and why it would be good for the lender as well.
- If you are having problems communicating with your lender or keeping their attention, seek a HUD-approved counseling agency advocate immediately. Go to www.hud.gov for list of helpful agencies.
- Appeal to the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) interest in seeing businesses work professionally with the public. The BBB will mediate your situation if practical. Go to www.bbb.org for additional information.
- Appeal to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for help with moving your file forward. Go to www.occ.treas.gov
- Appeal to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Go to www.consumerfinance.gov
- Contact the Financial Services Roundtable atwww.fsround.org
- Appeal to your local Federal elected officials (Senators, Congresspersons, Mayors, etc.), Attorneys and other resources for advocacy support. The foreclosure danger to homeowners is real. Some homeowners are falling through the cracks and losing out on options. Distressed homeowners must not hesitate to take action.
Fraud Protection Resources:
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Legal Aid Society
- National Fair Housing Alliance
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- U.S. Treasury Office of Thrift Supervision
This is not a substitute for legal and tax advice and no liability is assumed hereby. Seek your own advisor regarding your specific situation.
If you are interested in being part of the mortgage crisis solution, UFSC invites you to partner with us.