Several weeks ago, before the mortgage foreclosure mess went mainstream, we alerted our readers to serious problems in the electronic mortgage transfer systems. Because of these electronic systems it is difficult, if not impossible, for banks and mortgage service companies to determine the rightful owner of the note and which company is legally allowed to service the mortgage payments.
Since then, we’ve seen GMAC, Bank of America, and a host of other banks cease foreclosures across the country under pressure from various Attorneys General.
The question on the minds of Americans who are in foreclosure, delinquent on payments, or are making payments but not sure if they are paying the right company is: Do I have to keep paying, and if I don’t will they take my house?
The first thing you’ll need to determine, with the assistance of your mortgage lender and mortgage servicing company is whether or not they have an original copy of the mortgage note, as well as the proper documentation (servicing agreement) from the service company.
A new web page at the SEIU web site (Where’s the note?) claims to assist homeowners with this process by simply filling out an online form, printing the letter and mailing it off to your bank.
It sounds simple, but we want to ensure that our readers take the proper steps during the initial validation process so that you are fully armed in the event a mortgage note and service agreement cannot be produced. The SEIU’s Where’s the Note web site falls short according to The Foreclosure Detonator:
There are two problems I find with this web site â€“ www.wheresthenote.com.Â The letter is addressed to â€œthe bankâ€ not the servicing company that actually isÂ managing your account. However, in many cases, your servicing company is owned by the bank addressed to.Â You need to refer to your payment stubs or your payment book of coupons to see who you actually make your check payable to or if already in foreclsoure, who the named Plaintiff is.
The second problem I see here is in the body of the letter that you can and should modify.
You are asking â€œthe bankâ€ â€“ not necessarily your servicing company â€“ to give you the name and address of the â€œtrueâ€ owner of your note.Â If your â€œbankâ€ is not the â€œtrueâ€ owner then it will not have, should not have and cannot produce the original note.Â Second, if you are writing to your servicing company (that often have the name of the bank as part of their name) they never own your note and therefore should not have the original note in their possession.
Having possession of the note DOES NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT give them the right to collect your payments nor take any foreclosure action against you. You will have little defense if you stop making your payments to them or take any legal action against them for not providing a copy of the original.
Thus, while the SEIU’s web site attempts to assist homeowners, it looks as if there may be a gaping hole in their approach. We urge our readers to take the appropriate steps, as recommended by the Foreclosure Detonator, when engaging in the process of mortgage note validation.
Here’s What You Can Do:
FD has made the appropriate modifications to the original SEIU system generated letter to reflect the following. This letter should be sent to your mortgage servicing company. Since these are the people to whom you are writing a check every month, they bare the burden to prove that they are entitled to those payments.
The following is a mortgage note and mortgage servicing agreement sample letter. You may need to make modifications to suit your specific needs.
To whom it may concern:
I own the property at the address listed above, and your bank services my mortgage.
Over the last several weeks there have been many stories documenting the problem that banks are foreclosing on homes without proof that they own the loan.Â I have learned that in many cases, banks like yours do not even know who owns the loans you service.Â Employees at several leading banks have admitted to rubber stamping tens of thousands of foreclosures every month, without even checking to make sure that the bank had a legal right to proceed with foreclosure.Â In some cases, banks allegedly falsified mortgage documents to cover up their mistakes.Â There have been reports of two banks trying to foreclose on the same home, banks foreclosing on homeowners who were current on their payments, and even of a bank foreclosing on a home where the homeowner had never taken out a mortgage to begin with.Â This is not merely a â€œtechnical problemâ€â€“it is the difference between having a warm bed at night and being out on the street.
As a homeowner and a customer of your bank, I am horrified.Â I had always believed that it I played by the rules, I would be protected, but now I know that banks like yours think the rules donâ€™t apply to them.
To protect myself and my family, I need to know who owns my mortgage.Â Within thirty days, I would like to know the name, address, and phone number of the bank or investor that owns my mortgage.Â Furthermore, in light of the recent allegations of foreclosure fraud, I demand to see the original mortgage note proving ownership over my home loan.Â I would like to see copies of all endorsements and assignments of my mortgage note and where and when the assingment(s) _if any â€“ were recorded.Â I also ask that you provide me with evidence of your firm being contractually retained to service my loan.
If you fail to provide the information I am legally entitled to,Â I will be forced to consider all options available to me to ensure that my family and my home are protected.
I ask that I receive my response in writing.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sending the above letter to your mortgage service company is the first step in the process. They are legally obligated to respond to your request.
*Important Note*: Send this letter utilizing the Certified Mail Return Receipt service through the U.S. Post Office. It will cost you approximately $5 for postage and added services, but it will ensure a paper record of your request and the bank cannot deny that they received it. Within a few days of their receipt of your letter, you will receive a green form with the date it was delivered and a signature from the person who signed for it at the bank. Keep this for your records. Failure to send with CMRR service could lead to complications if the bank denies that you sent the request.
What do I do after 30 days?
The thirty day window begins on the day the bank signs for the letter you sent via Certified Mail. Once this time period expires, you should have received a copy of all requested documentation.
If you have not received the documentation requested, or it is incomplete, or it does not prove assignment of your mortgage loan to the service company, or it does not include a copy of your title, you will need to take legal action against the bank.
This will require that you obtain an attorney. Most attorneys can be retained for less than the cost of your monthly mortgage, so this may be a cost-effective avenue to take for many of our readers. Essentially, if the mortgage service company/bank fails to deliver the requested documentation, this becomes a paper shuffle through the court system.
If all goes well, you may end up with a free house, or, at the very least, a deferment on your monthly mortgage payments (interest free) until everything is worked out with respect to paperwork. With the speed and efficiency of our current mortgage system, you may end up without having to make payments for months before everything is all said and done.
Give ‘Em Hell
We often discuss how regular Americans can take action against the banks that were complicit in the meltdown of our financial system. These very same banks are still acting with only their self interest in minds. They’ve been bailed out with billions of taxpayer dollars, yet refuse to take any meaningful steps to assist working Americans on the street. They would rather foreclose on your home than provide any assistance to modify a loan.
If you want to “take it to the banks” this is one way to start. Another way is to move your money to a local or regional bank not affiliated with the global financial cartels.
Large banks thrive on taking advantage of the small guy. They do this in various ways which include, but are not limited to:
- charging high interest rates by establishing businesses in states without strong consumer protection laws
- reordering transactions and charging $35 NSF charges (essentially 1000% plus loans on overage charges) [though this has recently been remedied by law -- It took an Act of Congress to make banks act ethically!]
- Creating money out of thin air via the fractional reserve lending system, which leverages the future of all Americans – with the profits going to banks and losses burdening the taxpayer
Today, you have the ability to take the fight to the banks. If you own a home, don’t delay. Send a verification request to them now.