Tag Archives: Bank of America


BofA Informs Thousands They Qualify for 2nd Lien Extinguishment

Borrowers with second liens owned and serviced by Bank of America may qualify to get their subordinate debt extinguished entirely.

The banking giant announced Friday that it mailed 150,000 letters to pre-qualified homeowners who are eligible to have their Bank of America second-lien mortgages eliminated.

The program was designed to ease the pains of struggling borrowers who are also dealing with issues on first mortgages and to help more individuals create equity in their properties.

However, the guidelines are specific and only 150,000 mailers were sent to those who pre-qualify based on the program’s criteria.

Borrowers receiving the letter will have second liens on collateral property completely removed unless the customer decides to opt out of the automatic relief by sending a response within 30 days of receiving the letter.

The offer takes care of the entire unpaid principal balance on second liens. Only second liens owned and serviced by BofA that meet certain delinquency and property value guidelines are qualified for the program.

Second lien mortgages associated with a severly delinquent first lien mortgage also qualify as long as the second-lien is serviced or fully owned by BofA. Ownership of the first lien mortgage does not matter as long as BofA has control of the subordinate lien.

Mailings to eligible customers began in July. Only customers who receive pre-qualified letters will be able to use the program today.

The bank points out that eliminating a second lien does not resolve issues with the first. If a first lien mortgage is delinquent or in foreclosure, the borrower still has to work with the servicer to resolve those issues. The extinguishment of the second debt is an attempt to limit other financial concerns, but it cannot resolve issues with the first lien.

The elimination of the second lien mortgage is completely separate from any actions being taken regarding the first mortgage,” BofA said in a statement. “If the first mortgage is in foreclosure, those foreclosure activities may continue.”

By: Kerri Ann Panchuk, HousingWire


BofA Makes Changes to Trim Short Sale Timeline

By: Carrie Bay, DSnews.com

Bank of America is making changes to its short sale procedures and introducing an improved task flow within the short sale technology module from Equator, BofA’s short sale management platform of choice. The goal: to reduce the timeframe for a short sale decision to less than three weeks.

Starting Saturday, April 14, real estate professionals working with BofA will be required to submit five documents for short sales initiated with an offer:

The acknowledgement and disclosure form, short sale addendum, and the form for third-party authorization are available through the company’s online Agent Resource Center.

The third-party authorization form is a new standardized document developed specifically for BofA. Previously, the lender accepted third-party authorization forms in differing formats and from a variety of sources when transacting a short sale.

Bank of America says it recognized a need for greater compliance and consistency with this important document and has now created its own form to standardize the third-party authorization process. The two-page document

requires signed acknowledgments from all borrowers and designated representatives in a short sale. Beginning April 14, BofA will accept only the official Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form for short sales.

The bank’s new short sale process will enable real estate agents, brokers, attorneys, and other short sale specialists involved in pre-foreclosure transactions to complete tasks such as document collection, valuations, and underwriting simultaneously.

With these steps running concurrently, the timeline from initiation to closing is reduced. In fact, Bank of America says it will now be able to provide a decision on a short sale offer in 20 days. Typically, BofA’s short sale process has taken anywhere from 45 days upwards.

In continuing to streamline the decision process, should the buyer walk away from the sale, Bank of America is giving agents five days to submit a backup offer. Previously, the backup offer window was 14 days. Interested buyers are limited to two counteroffers and will receive a response from the lender within three days.

BofA notes that all email messaging between designated selling agents and their Bank of America short sale specialist will continue to occur within the Equator system. Agents will receive a standard notice via email to log into the system and retrieve their messages.

In order to implement the myriad of changes, BofA’s Equator platform will be down for 10-12 hours the night of Friday, April 13 into the early morning of Saturday, April 14.

Real estate agents and other short sale professionals are invited to review a Bank of America webinar outlining the coming changes. BofA is also offering task-by-task training on the new Equator process via a webinar to be aired on Thursday, April 19 from 4-5 p.m. (EST). Additional information can be found through the company’s online Agent Resource Center.

Bank of America’s short sale and REO executive Bob Hora says the company expects short sales to continue to increase and is taking steps to ensure it is providing decisions quickly and real estate agents are alerted of status as soon as possible.


Mortgage-Related Jobs Are on the Rise: Report

The third quarter of 2011 saw a net increase of 2,738 mortgage-related jobs, according to recent industry data. This increase is the first recorded in five quarters.

The recent increase in refinances – encouraged by remarkably low interest rates – sparked a demand for loan originators and processors, while continuing high levels of delinquencies and foreclosures bolstered the need for servicing staff.

The third quarter saw 2,502 layoffs countered by 5,240 hirings, according to the Third-Quarter 2011 Mortgage Employment Index released by MortgageDaily.com.

The 2,738 gain compares to a net loss of 464 jobs in the previous quarter and a loss of 936 jobs a year ago.
JPMorgan Chase was a major source of the rise in hirings in the third quarter with 3,314 hirings of its own.
MetLife added 351 jobs, and CashCall Mortgage added 230.

Wells Fargo (-686), CoreLogic (-600), and Bank of America (-364) all lost jobs during the quarter.
California-based CoreLogic anticipates about 1,000 layoffs during the second half of 2011, according to MortgageDaily.com.

With an increase of 699 mortgage-related jobs, Texas posted the largest increase, and according to the index, “[t]he Dallas area has become a Mecca for mortgage servicers.”

Iowa, on the other hand, saw a decrease of 159 positions, largely due to Wells Fargo’s downsizing.
So far, the fourth quarter is seeing more hirings than layoffs.

This article is from DSnews.com.


Big Four Set to Participate in HARP 2.0

The industry’s four largest mortgage servicers all say they will be taking part in the revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo have each expressed their support of the program and the changes that will allow more underwater homeowners to refinance at today’s lower interest rates.
Government officials expect the program’s revisions – particularly the GSEs’ waiver on representations and warranties – to increase competition for mortgage refinancing.

An executive with JPMorgan Chase told the company’s investors this week that HARP 2.0 will facilitate “cross-servicing refinancing” because with the rep and warranty waiver, the new lender is not required to assume responsibility for underwriting deficiencies that may have occurred with the original loan.

Chase explains that HARP may be used to replace an adjustable-rate or interest-only loan with a standard fixed interest rate loan, and typically reduces the borrower’s monthly payment.

Frank Bisignano, CEO of mortgage banking at Chase, estimates that with the new HARP guidelines, thousands of Chase customers could lower their mortgage payments by an average of $2,500 a year.

Citi said in an emailed statement that it “supports the program and expects to participate.”
Wells Fargo, likewise, said in a statement that it “welcomes the addition of the new HARP features.”
Veronica Clemons, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, says the company is waiting for specific guidelines and requirements from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to put the changes into practice.

She adds that once the company’s mortgage servicing team has the guidelines in hand, “it will take us some time – depending on the complexity of the guidelines – to make the necessary systems changes to begin offering the new enhancements to our customers.”

The GSEs’ regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), says Fannie and Freddie plan to issue guidance with operational details about the HARP changes by November 15th.

“Since industry participation in HARP is not mandatory, implementation schedules will vary as individual lenders, mortgage insurers, and other market participants modify their processes,” FHFA said.

Bank of America says it will participate in the enhanced Home Affordable Refinance Program announced by the administration, and it expects the new guidelines and eligibility criteria to go into effect after December 1st.
“Despite ongoing economic challenges, nearly 90 percent of our customers remain current on their mortgage,” BofA spokesperson Rick Simon said. “HARP helps these homeowners who remain current on their mortgage with options to lower their monthly payment when, otherwise, conventional funding options are limited.”

The GSEs have removed the 125 percent loan-to-value (LTV) cap under the program. Now any borrower with an LTV ratio above 80 percent is eligible for a HARP refinance, as long as the loan was sold to Fannie or Freddie prior to May 31, 2009, and the borrower is not delinquent on their payments.

Since HARP was launched in 2009, nearly 900,000 loans have been refinanced through the program. Government officials estimate that an additional 1 million homeowners will receive assistance under the new guidelines.
In its announcement of the program changes, FHFA encouraged borrowers to “contact their existing lender or any other mortgage lender offering HARP refinances.”

Article from DSnews.com.


Bank of America Offers Up to $20,000 to Entice Short Sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank of America is offering up to $20,000 to select Florida homeowners willing to agree to a short sale instead of entering foreclosure.

To sweeten the deal further, the nation’s largest lender will consider waiving the deficiency on the loan, which allows homeowners to sell the house for less then they owe without having to make up the difference to the bank. It can save homeowners thousands of dollars.

Not every Bank of America customer in Florida will be eligible for the program, which pays a minimum cash incentive of $5,000. It’s targeted toward home­owners who cannot afford their mortgages.

To quality, the short sales must be submitted for bank approval by Nov. 30 and must close by Aug. 31. Sales already under contract are not eligible; neither are properties outside of Florida.

This is a “test-and-learn” program being rolled out only in Florida because of the higher foreclosure rates than other parts of the country, said Christina Beyer Toth, a Tampa-based spokeswoman.

Florida is seen as a viable market to gauge short-sale response when presenting home­owners with relocation assistance, she said. If successful, the plan could expand to other states.

The bank notified select Florida real estate agents this week about the offer.

“It will get a lot of people off the fence about wanting to sell their home,” said Steve Capen of Keller Williams Realty in St. Petersburg. “This makes sense.”

What’s in it for Bank of America? It saves attorney fees, court costs and property taxes by avoiding foreclosure. It also speeds the process of getting bad loans off its books and gets the properties back on the market faster.

Capen, who specializes in short sales, plans to heavily market the offer to clients. But he cautioned that homeowners shouldn’t get overly excited because many of these plans have restrictions.

“It will only help a fraction of the people,” he said.

Homeowners get the cash after the short-sale deal closes. A caveat: Homeowners might have to pay income taxes related to the deficiency waiver and the cash payout.

The cash payouts give home­owners a reason not to trash their homes or strip them bare before moving out. When houses enter foreclosure, home­owners can essentially live for free until banks take possession at the end of the court process, which takes an average of nearly two years in Florida.

Attorney Chris Boss of Yesner & Boss said the deficiency waiver will enable homeowners to buy a house without filing bankruptcy or waiting three years from when foreclosures become final.

“It’s a chance to get away from the house with some money in your pocket,” Boss said. “This is good for the economy.”

Other national lenders started similar programs.

Late last year, JPMorgan Chase began giving homeowners $10,000 to $20,000 and waived losses on the mortgage. The bank still suffers a loss in the process, but generally speaking, sale prices on short-sale homes are higher than foreclosed homes.

Real estate experts and economists have said the housing market cannot fully recover until the millions of distressed mortgages are removed from the system.

Article is from St. Petersburg Times.


BofA May Sell Mortgage Unit to Fortress: Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank of America Corp is in talks to sell its correspondent mortgage lending unit to a division of Fortress Investment Group LLC, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The largest U.S. bank by assets, which has been saddled by losses and litigation related to its residential mortgage business, last month said it would either wind down or sell the correspondent business, which buys loans from other banks and mortgage brokers.

Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc, which is owned by Fortress, is conducting due diligence on the deal, according to the paper. It cited unnamed sources who said no final agreements have been reached.
Fortress officials could not immediately be reached by Reuters.

“We continue to work with interested parties, and feel we are making positive progress toward a potential sale,” said Dan Frahm, a Bank of America spokesman. He declined to elaborate.

A sale of the mortgage unit would join a steady flow of sales of “noncore” assets that the bank has been disposing of this year to raise capital to offset losses and meet tougher capital rules being phased in by regulators worldwide.
The bank’s shares have lost roughly half their value this year on concerns that continuing problems related to the loans of the former Countrywide Financial could force the company to raise as much as $50 billion of new equity and dilute current shareholdings.

Chief Executive Brian Moynihan, who in August arranged for a $5 billion investment from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has said the bank can absorb its losses through asset sales and earnings.

Article is from Yahoo News.


Bank of America Donating Foreclosed Homes

Bank of America is donating — and in some cases bulldozing — some of its foreclosed houses, according to Boston.com. The paper reports that the bank will donate 100 Cleveland-area homes located in communities eligible to receive grants from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The lender is not being purely charitable, though: The giveaways actually help the bank more than they hurt it. By ridding itself of the dregs of its foreclosed homes, the bank foregoes the hassle and cost of selling them.
It makes financial sense when you think about it: There are many costs to selling a foreclosed home. One biggie is upkeep. Abandoned homes deteriorate quickly and are vulnerable to a range of value-killers like infestation and vandalism. This susceptibility is illustrated by the mold epidemic blighting foreclosed homes across the country, which NPR reported about recently.

Banks are not in the business of selling houses, and now they’re cutting the worst ones loose. So bid adieu to the 100 shoddiest digs in the Cleveland area.

Article is from AOL Real Estate.


Faulty paperwork slows foreclosure activity, survey shows

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who lost their homes to the bank fell in April as faulty paperwork continued to slow foreclosure activity, which fell to a more than three-year low, a closely watched survey said on Thursday.

Banks seized about 69,532 homes in April, down 8.6 percent from March and a drop of more than a third from a year earlier, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said.

The number of foreclosure filings, which includes default notices, auctions and repossessions, fell to just 219,258 in April, the seventh straight monthly decline and the lowest level since December 2007.

Banks have seized about 285,000 homes so far this year, putting the United States on track for slightly more than 850,000 foreclosures in 2011.

More than a million homes were seized in 2010, and this year’s total had been expected to go higher until investigations into the foreclosure process prompted temporary halts from some mortgage servicers late last year.

The government and the largest U.S. banks are in talks for what could be a multibillion dollar settlement over foreclosure abuses.

Regulators and a coalition of state attorneys general are negotiating with the biggest mortgage lenders, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

These banks and other mortgage servicing firms have been accused of foreclosing on thousands of borrowers without having the necessary paperwork.

Nevada, Arizona and California continued to post the highest foreclosure rates in the country, RealtyTrac said.

Just 10 states — California, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Ohio and Colorado — accounted for more than 70 percent of all foreclosure activity.

In 2005, before the housing bust, banks took over just about 100,000 houses, according to the Irvine, California-based company.

This article is from Real Estate on MSNBC.com