How Can We Strengthen Foreclosure Prevention Programs?

Recent news of yet another mortgage servicer throwing homeowners under the proverbial bus by filing scores of possibly fraudulent foreclosures has placed the failure of HAMP and other foreclosure prevention programs into the spotlight.

Ally Financial, the nation’s fourth-largest home lender, halted evictions in 23 states this week after it was revealed that a document processor signed off on thousands upon thousands of foreclosure documents every week without verifying any of the information in the paperwork.

If this mortgage servicer is allegedly so eager to file foreclosure that they don’t even bother to verify pertinent information before they evict helpless homeowners and their families, how much energy do we really believe they put into trying to prevent these foreclosures in the first place?  If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that many of these mortgage servicers not only lack the energy and will to help homeowners avoid foreclosure ; but for many of them proceeding with foreclosure is the easiest, and in the case of homes with equity, the more profitable route.  But Senators such as Al Franken are proposing an idea that just may gain steam.

“I’m pushing to establish an Office of the Homeowner Advocate at the Department of Treasury that would assist borrowers in the HAMP program who believe their mortgage servicer is breaking the rules,” said Franken. “Right now, these families have nowhere to turn when wrongly denied from the assistance program or when they encounter difficulties in navigating an incredibly complicated system of avoiding foreclosure.”

An Office of the Homeowner Advocate?  Sounds interesting.  We’re not sure exactly how Senator Franken proposes to manage this office; but the spirit behind it is sound.  Homeowners facing foreclosure need advocates who are strong enough to take on the powerful and obviously (in many cases) corrupt mortgage industry.