The paper chase for a Chase home loan modification

April 28, 2010, 12:00 pm: I faxed a 60-page document to the (866) 282-5682 number on the Chase Homeowner’s Information Packet as Natalia Carrillo asked. I truly can’t imagine how anyone could address the paperwork requested by Chase without access to an office or a free copy and fax machine. I certainly can’t imagine anyone with a restaurant, retail or assembly-line job, or any position where their time is monitored or they are required to be at a work station, completing, copying, submitting and tracking the documents Chase requires. Looking back, I realize I have sent the following large packets to Chase, not to mention “incidentals” (faxes and copies I’d not really kept count of):

  1. February 18, 2009: 34-pages by Certified Mail (initial modification application)
  2. March 13, 2009: 34-pages by fax (replacement for lost copy of 2/18/09 modification application)
  3. May 23, 2009: 53-pages by fax (re-submission of 2/18/10 modification application with updated content per  Washington Mutual request)
  4. December 11, 2009: 46-pages by Certified Mail (new submission of Chase loan modification application)
  5. December 11, 2009: 46-pages by fax (copy of above, sent via fax as a back-up)
  6. March 16, 2009: 19-pages by fax (updated statements requested by Chase)
  7. April 28, 2009: 60-pages by Certified Mail (complete re-submission requested by Chase)
  8. April 28, 2009: 60-pages by fax (copy of above, sent via fax as a back-up)

Each set of documents must be copied so I have something for my records, and while the Chase fax number is toll-free, the Avalon Library charges $1.00 a page to send a fax; Staples is five miles away and the nearest FedEx is 22 miles away. Copies are not free and neither are faxes.

On the flip side, Chase seemed reluctant to commit to anything on paper. It had taken me a full six months to get a copy of a letter allegedly mailed 8/25/09 with a one-sentence  denial “explanation”:  “Your property equity exceeds our program guidelines.” The second letter from Chase, sent March 5, 2010, merely said: “We are unable to offer you a Home Affordable Modification because we are unable to verify that you do live in the property as your primary residence”. This was especially maddening – due to my loan size, I only qualified for a Chase in-house program; the Home Affordable Modification had never been available to me. Residency was quickly established with the March 16, 2010 fax of voting records & tax returns and the modification re-opened, but no more letters came from Chase…

As a single woman with no children and a job that offers somewhat flexible working hours, I find the paperwork  daunting. How could anyone with a family and a conventional job be expected to jump through these hoops? While the size of my loan and the fact that I still have a job, albeit at half my original salary, may not engender sympathy, the obstacles are the same regardless of loan size. Who has the time, the facilities and the ability to chase a loan modification? Especially when they are holding down one, two or even three jobs and scrambling to make ends meet, or actively seeking work?

Why is it so hard so obtain clarity and get straight answers on the loan modification process, and why are all the “qualifications” and the “formulas” a big secret?  Borrower’s Assistance at Chase is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, an elaborate masquerade designed to deceive the media, the government and the American people.

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