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August 26, 2009

Making Home Affordable program: Are you in?

The federal Making Home Affordable program is supposed to help homeowners refinance if they're under water on their mortgages and get eligible borrowers a loan modification to prevent foreclosure. The Obama administration says the initiative "has made rapid progress in a few short months," while news reports -- noting continued increases in foreclosures -- suggest not so much.

There's nothing like the voice of experience: Have you applied? What happened?

Eileen Ambrose, the Sun's fabulous personal finance columnist, would like to hear from you for a column she's working on. You can reach her at eileen(dot)ambrose(at)

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 9:52 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Your name in lights (well, newsprint)


We live in southern Alabama. We applied for the Home Affordable Modification program based on a letter we received from our lender (Countrywide at the time) dated April 15th. I immediately called and right off the top it seemed that there were no effective procedures in place for their agents to follow to assist in initiating the program. At that time, all the agent told me was that they would look at our account to see what we were eligible for. I inquired what type of information I needed to send in and was told that they didn't need any information from me. About 2-3 weeks later, after hearing nothing, I called back and asked an agent what the status was on our account. This time I was asked if I had faxed in my financials. I explained to her I was not asked to submit any information upon my initial contact with their department. This agent (Beatrice) said "oh yes, you must fax in tax returns, check stubs, etc". On May 24th, I faxed in over 25 pages of required financials. She went on to explain once the information was received and reviewed, I would receive a package with an offer of a remodified loan agreement. After three weeks of not hearing anything, I called back . The agent I spoke with told me the process was taking longer than expected due to the high volume of loans they were reviewing. Within the first week of August I had one message on my answering machine stating that a packet should be coming to me via Express Mail and was instructed to call them as soon as it was received. After one week of not receiving the packet, I called again to check on the status of said package. I was informed that my offer had expired because I never responded to the packet. I tried to explain to them that I NEVER received the packet and it was THEN I was told there was "NOTHING FURTHER THEY CAN DO, AS UNDER OBAMA'S PLAN, THEY ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO ISSUE THE OFFER ONE TIME." I have asked to speak to supervisors but am getting nowhere. The agents cannot help me past this point. We are now stuck as to what to do and we have nowhere else to turn. Our lender, which is now Bank of America has told us that the Home Retention Group has our account locked and they still cannot help us with other hardship programs at this time!!! The whole experience has really been a big disappointment when we thought we were honestly going to receive help in keeping our home under President Obama's plan.

Mr. President why are the banking,and loan company not making loans as you promised they would do for the american people we are all hurting and not getting any help. Time for them to answer to you for not helping us the little people that keep them in business, maybe we should boycott their business. Check

You people sicken me. I have had it! I am so tired of Obama being blamed for everything that's wrong in America (and perhaps the world for that matter). I am not some ardent Obama supporter (I was initially a Hillary Clinton supporter who has come to accept Obama as my president). You people should say what you really mean. You are racists and really just don't like Obama. That would save us all a lot of time and energy. I'm sick and tired of hearing all of your irrational rants and gripes! Just admit that you don't like Obama because he IS Obama. There is nothing that he will ever be able to do that will satisfy you. Did Obama create the housing bubble? No. Does Obama really have control over what your bank does or how it operates? No. Let's face the facts.... if Obama did decide to dictate how banks should operate you idiots would then complain "Obama's controlling all the banks!"

Ok. I know you are asking yourself what prompted my little rant on this blog today. Honestly it's because of the post from "jimwhenry".
I happened to click on the link that was attached to his post and noticed that the very website that he is pathetically attempting to use to scandalize Obama is not even a real government website! Once again this is another example of right wing evil-doers trying to manipulate the gullible. It amazes me how you people can create false evidence to prove your misguided points. You should ask yourself "Why do I need to CREATE reasons to hate Obama?" You should just be honest with yourself and everybody else and say that you hate him because he EXISTS. GET OVER YOURSELVES!

Jaded (and other folks), jimwhenry's comment appears to be cleverly disguised spam. It links to a blog, but the blog links to a loan-mod business. I try my best to keep the spammers out, but hey -- I get fooled, too.

That said, there appears to be nothing racist about his comment, Jaded. It's hardly aimed at the president at all. "Time for them to answer to you for not helping us the little people that keep them in business, maybe we should boycott their business" refers to the banks, after all.

Let's give folks the benefit of the doubt so we can keep the conversation flowing well here. There's a lot of differing opinions about the housing market (let alone politics), but that's no reason we can't all talk nicely amongst ourselves.

Well, except for spammers. Go away spammers, for the love of Pete.

In retrospect I admit that I may have been a little heated when I wrote my last post. I also must admit that my anger was not wholly related to comments made on this blog.
I guess with the whole healthcare debate, housing, etc. I am so sick of everyone referring to proposals as "Obamas plan" and "Obamacare".
I am no huge Obama fan myself however it seems as if we spend so much time trying to blame Obama for everything that we can't actually ever get around to addressing the actual issues at hand.
Once again I apologize for my rant (perhaps this was not the most appropriate venue).

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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