Can't make your mortgage payment? Just eat less!
"After all, Mr. Bailey had received little else from Countrywide after he began trying to renegotiate an adjustable-rate loan that he could no longer afford. Until then, he says, the only guidance the lender provided was a suggestion from an employee of Countrywide’s “home retention team” that he cut back on groceries to pay his mortgage.
“I told her that I probably spend $10 a day on groceries,” Mr. Bailey recalls. “And she said ‘Maybe you can eat less.’ ”
"As record numbers of homeowners try to avoid foreclosure, the responses of big lenders and loan servicers like Countrywide are drawing increased scrutiny. While these companies maintain that they’re doing all they can to help imperiled borrowers, critics contend that homeowners routinely meet roadblocks.
"Many borrowers have trouble even reaching a workout specialist; others soon find that the modifications they received are as unaffordable as the mortgages they replaced. Some homeowners, eager to sell their homes before the value falls further, say they are impeded by loan servicers’ inaction or incompetence."
Now I know it's easy to cherry pick a single story like this that really hits home. I have no doubt that many borrowers ARE receiving modifications, and that plenty of those mods are succeeding in keeping people in their homes. But I also know that with hundreds of thousands of borrowers trying to get relief from unaffordable mortgage payments, many are falling through the cracks. Servicers are overwhelmed and understaffed for the tsunami of bad loans that have been battering their books. And as the story notes, many of the modifications being offered are trivial and not all that much help in the long run.
Then again (trying to think positively here), if more troubled borrowers take Countrywide's mortgage advice, maybe we can kick America's obesity problem once and for all!