What does home equity mean to Chase?

January 28, 2010, 3:45 pm: Jacqueline Ham phoned me. We discussed what it meant to be denied a modification for “too much” equity and how I might get a copy of my denial letters. Jacqueline committed to send a letter recapping the 8/25/09 denial based on: property exceeds guidelines/too much equity. Jacqueline said I should call the Chase Home Ownership Center in Media, PA on March 2, 2010 once I was officially 31 days late and try to schedule a March 3, 2010 appointment rather than wait until 3/18/10 as I’d planned.

I asked her what the guidelines were regarding “too much equity”. Was it a dollar amount or a percentage? Because if I had too much equity in 8/09, why would it be any different now? (If I’d pulled my head out of the sand I might have realized property values were dropping by the minute and my equity could have radically diminished in five months). Was there a number one had to be above or below? She said these were good questions; she would ask and get back to me Tuesday 2/2/10 at the latest with answers. I asked what other Chase loan modification programs there were beyond Obama’s Making Homes Affordable and she said there was only one. She also noted I was still in Loan Review and she asked that it be escalated.

February 2, 2010 9:00 am: Phoned Jacqueline Ham to follow up on our January 28, 2010 conversation and get answers on my denial, the equity formula and the status of my modification request. She was not available. I left a detailed voice mail.

February 4, 2010 9:15 am: Phoned Jacqueline Ham to follow up on our January 28, 2010 conversation and get answers on my denial, the equity formula and the status of my modification request. She was not available. I left a detailed voice mail.

February 5, 2010 8:30 am: Phoned Jacqueline Ham to follow up on our January 28, 2010 conversation and get answers on my denial, the equity formula and the status of my modification request. Her mailbox was full and not accepting messages.

February 5, 2010 11:30 am: Phoned Jacqueline Ham to follow up on our January 28, 2010 conversation and get answers on my denial, the equity formula and the status of my modification request. She was not available. I left a detailed voice mail.

February 6, 2010: Received a letter postmarked January 28, 2010. It was the long sought-after August 25, 2009 denial letter from Washington Mutual. Jacqueline Ham had delivered the goods. It was a form letter, customized with my name, address and account number, with a space left open to accommodate a denial reason. The letter read as follows:

Washington Mutual (FL5-8806)

August 25, 2009

Martha Wright

*** * **

Avalon, NJ *****

Statement of Eligibility for Loan Modification

Account ********** (the “Loan”)

Property Address: *** * ** Avalon NJ ***** (the “Property”)

Dear Mortgagor (s)

Washington Mutual is writing in response to your recent request regarding a loan modification on the above-referenced account through the Making Homes Affordable (MHA) program. After researching your account, we have determined that at this time you do not qualify for a modification under the MHA program or any other program we offer for the following reason(s):

Your property equity exceeds our program guidelines.

If your Loan is current, you may be able to qualify for refinance that may provide you with more favorable terms than you have now. If you are interested in finding more out about that option, please contact us at (866) 888-5935.

If your Loan is delinquent, we may be able to offer alternatives to help avoid the negative impact a possible foreclosure may have on your credit rating, the risk of a deficiency judgment being filed against you, and the possible adverse tax effects of a foreclosure on your Property. If you are interested in discussing these possible alternatives, please contact Customer Care immediately at (866) 926-8937.

Our credit decision was based in whole or in part on information obtained in a report from the consumer reporting agency listed below. The reporting agency played no part in our decision and is unable to supply specific reasons why we have denied credit to you. You have a right to receive a free copy of your report from the reporting agency, if you request it no later than sixty (60) days after you receive this notice. In addition, if you find that any information contained in the report you receive is inaccurate or incomplete, you have the right to dispute the matter with the reporting agency by contacting the agency at the number provided below:

Transunion

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19022-2000

(800) 916-8800

FEDERAL ECOA NOTICE* (*Removed for brevity)

If you have any questions, please contact us at the number provided below. At Washington Mutual, we value you as a customer and want to ensure your continued satisfaction.

Sincerely,

Imminent Default Department

Washington Mutual

(888) 708-3336

For California customers, …* (*Removed for brevity)

Washington Mutual is attempting to collect a debt, and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

We may report information about your account to credit bureaus. Late payments, missed payments, or other defaults on your account may be reflected in your credit report.

To the extent your original obligation has been discharged, or is subject to an automatic stay of bankruptcy under Title 11 of the United States Code, this notice is for compliance and/or informational purposes only and does not constitute a demand for payment or an attempt to impose personal liability for such obligation.

LM001

February 9, 2010 10:45 am: Phoned Jacqueline Ham to follow up on our January 28, 2010 conversation and get answers on my denial, the equity ratios and the status of my modification request. She was not available. I left a detailed voice mail.

February 10, 2010 10:30 am: Phoned Jacqueline Ham to follow up on our January 28, 2010 conversation and get answers on my denial, the equity ratios and the status of my modification request. She was not available. I left a detailed voice mail.

February 12, 2010 8:15 am: Phoned Jacqueline Ham to follow up on our January 28, 2010 conversation and get answers on my denial, the equity formula and the status of my modification request. She was not available. I left a detailed voice mail.

February 12, 2010 10:00 am: Phoned Chase (866) 550-5705 and was advised my loan was still in review. I asked to be transferred to Imminent Default and was disconnected.

February 12, 2010: I received a letter dated February 8, 2010 from Chase Home Finance. The subject line: Issue Still Being Reviewed.

The letter:

Dear Martha Wright:

I am writing in response to your correspondence we received on Monday, December 21, 2009, about a loan modification.

At this time, the matter you brought to our attention is still being reviewed. Please be assured that we will make every effort to provide you with the timeliest response possible.

Chase’s goal is to provide the highest level of quality service to each of our customers. We appreciate your business and value our relationship with you.

If you have any questions in the interim, please contact Jackie Ham (866) 605-9253, extension 4663, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time

Sincerely,

Home Lending Executive Office

Was this in reply to my December 16, 2009 letter to Jamie Dimon, Chairman & CEO JP Morgan Chase, or perhaps my letter of January 15, 2010? I hoped not, because the letter said absolutely nothing.

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One Response

  1. Unfortunately, my husband and I bought a single family fixer in May of 2006. Our money pit cost $325,000, during that time of the real estate market, it was all we could afford. Although, we had a home inspection performed prior to the purchase, the true extent of the repairs only became known to us once we took possession and lived in it for awhile. Three years into our “money pit” we’ve had to replace a roof, siding, hot water heater,and now we are discovering plumbing and electrical issues. Almost forgot to mention the yard drainage issues. Since this home was built in 1992, we had no idea, we would be facing such huge repairs. Anyway, at that time, our home appraised for $370,000 but surprisingly after talking to the neighbors… their homes were all appraised at differing values by 10’s of thousands of dollars less- how could this be? I guess it”s called- get that loan approved no matter what! Presently, with this declining real estate market, poor economy, loss of my income and a pay cut by my husband’s employer, we started feeling the pinch. So, my husband called Bank of America to see if we could qualify for a loan modification but he was told “you make too much money.” My husband was shocked! The bank rep said, we do not factor in your escrow payment when determining our decision. Wait a minute! My mortage payment is more than $2600.00 a month including taxes and my net salary is now $3600.00 a month! Your telling me- my taxes that bailed you big banks out do not count! The government bailed out these big banks with our taxes and yet paying our real estate taxes monthly disqualify us from being approved for a loan modification! We told BANK OF AMERICA they can have our money pit which is only currently valued at $279,000. (could be less) When I hear or read people’s comments, “you bought a house you could not afford and now you want a bailout,” it burns me up! NO- we bought a house during an inflated real estate market created by corporate crooks! We can pay our mortgage just not all the repairs that come with it too along with the ever increasing goverment utilities and taxes. Does it make any sense to keep pouring retirement savings into a money pit that is now valued at almost $100,000 less than it was 3+ years ago? NO. At this point, we would rather live in a nice maintenance free apartment for the next 5-7 years than give our money to the crooks on Wall Street! Within 5-7 years, we should have enough saved in Roth’s and other employer sponsored retirement plans to purchase a new home cash rather than paying down a $350,000 mortgage at 6.5% interest. (the banks are only offering 1+% on savings) We should have done this in the first place! Again, we would rather take advantage of a nice maintenance free apartment that offers employer sponsored rent, discounts plus extra amenties we currently do not have such as a swimming pool, gym, fancy clubhouse etc.,. We are really starting to believe that homeownership is over-rated and truly not the best investment considering the fact that our new apartment will cost us nothing in maintenance, lower utility bills and overall less in living expenses per year than owning our money pit. There are a lot of Americans who are spending 50% or more on their overall living expenses just to say they are homeowners- no thanks! I’m not too proud of a person to take a break from it for awhile.
    Good luck with your loan approval.
    Jennifer

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