Letters to Senator Frank Lautenberg Regarding Mortgage Modifications

April 1, 2010 

The Honorable Frank Lautenberg

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510
Re: Chase Loan 0********* Modification Obfuscation/OCC Case # 01110250

Dear Senator Lautenberg,

Thank you for contacting the Comptroller of the Currency on my behalf, and your letter of March 8, 2010. Unfortunately, despite your efforts and my own, no progress has been made toward obtaining a mortgage modification; indeed, we appear to be going in reverse. April 1 seems an appropriate date for this letter as I believe Chase is playing the American people and the United States government for a fool. Following are some highlights of what has transpired since my letter to you dated February 19, 2010 (please recall this modification request process started on 12/11/09, following my initial modification request of February 2009).

February 18, 2010:  My JPMorgan Chase Home Lending Executive Office contact, Ms. Jacqueline H., went on vacation, scheduled to return February 25, 2010.

February 28, 2010: Repeated calls to Ms. H. from February 25, 2010 on were not returned – ultimately her voice mailbox filled and could no longer accept messages.

March 1, 2010:  On calling the Chase Executive Lending Office I was advised my loan had been reassigned from Jacqueline Ham to Megan Valdivia (Megan.l.Valdivia@chase.com). Per Megan, she (Megan) had all the information required; it appeared I would be denied again as my equity was “too high”. Megan indicated that a Broker’s Price Order (BPO) had been received that day and much depended on what it said. 

March 2, 2010:  I called Megan to follow-up on the BPO; she had no new information. Upon calling Chase’s Customer Service number later in the day I was advised the modification had been denied as Chase was “unable to verify residence“. I was stunned – Megan had said nothing about my residency; the paperwork submitted (including Federal Income Tax returns) clearly indicates this is my home. 

March 3, 2010:  I called Megan and left a voice mail regarding the denial. 

March 4, 2010:  I called Megan again and she told me she had “no record of a denial” although there “may be a question as to my residency”. Megan indicated I should only call her; if I called the Customer Service line I would get conflicting information. I offered to provide additional information to verify my residence but she said to wait. 

March 11, 2010: I called to follow-up; Megan was not in so I left a voice mail regarding the BPO and my residency status. 

March 15, 2010: I called again to follow-up; Megan was not in so I left another voice mail reiterating the need for an answer on the BPO and my residency status. 

March 16, 2010: I called Megan and she advised that my residency was an issue – Chase was “unable to verify owner occupancy”. I pointed out that my Federal Income Tax returns reflected my residence address and she agreed. Nonetheless, Chase wanted the following information:

1. Copies of last 4 months bank statements (previously submitted)
2. Copies of last 2 months pay stubs (previously submitted)
3. Copies of most recent utility bills with service address (previously submitted)
4. A P&L for 1099 “business”

I advised Megan that bank statements and pay stubs had been submitted with my modification request in December 2009. I told Megan I did not own or operate a business; I am a W-2 employee who supplements my income as a 1099 employee for another company. Megan indicated the need for all of the information and a P&L regardless of what I said; she noted she would be out of the office 3/24 to 4/5 and I should get this information to her as soon as possible and call after the information was faxed to confirm receipt.

I faxed items 2, 3 & 4; putting my 1099 earnings in a P&L format to satisfy her request, couched in a memo indicating I do not own or operate a business. Additionally I took it upon myself to obtain and fax my Cape May County Voter’s record indicating residency at the address since 2005. As I was in Florida on business, I could not access my checking statements but advised Megan I would provide them by Saturday 3/20 when I returned home.   

March 17, 2010: I called Megan to confirm receipt of the information. Megan reviewed the submissions and agreed the information received  (3 pages voter’s records; 5 pages P&L + two months paychecks; 3 pages owner occupied cover memo & utility bills) was in order and legible. I again confirmed that checking statements would be sent 3/20. 

March 20, 2010:  I arrived home to find a denial letter dated 3/5/10 and postmarked 3/8/10 indicating I was denied for a loan modification as Chase was “unable to verify residence“. I immediately called Chase and Megan indicated I had been denied but the case was reopened as my voting record satisfied “them”. Chase also wanted a contact telephone number to schedule an interior appraisal. I gave my cell # and asked again about the BPO. Megan indicated it was a 32-page document; she tried to extract a price/value from it while I waited but after putting me on hold and speaking with a co-worker, decided she was unable to do so. Megan said the interior appraisal was important and she would be going away so the sooner I sent the checking account statements, the better. That evening I faxed:

1. Copies of last 4 months bank statements from my two checking accounts

2. A formal notice indicating my contact phone number for scheduling an interior appraisal 

March 22, 2010: I called Megan to confirm receipt of all information and to schedule the interior appraisal. She was not in so I left a voice mail. 

March 23, 2010: I called Megan again; she was not in so I left a voice mail. Megan called back late in the day and confirmed receipt of checking account statements and confirmed that no additional paperwork was required at this time. I asked about scheduling the interior appraisal and she said it depended on the review of the bank statements. I protested as the bank statements were no different than those submitted in Dec 09. She said they still had to be reviewed. I asked her to confirm that indeed the file HAD been reopened and she said it had. I commented that when Jacqueline Ham left for vacation, she never came back – might that happen with Megan? She said she wouldn’t be surprised; “they are reassigning a lot of cases” and she did not know what state(s) she might end up with. She reiterated the bank statement review takes precedent over the scheduling of the interior appraisal. I asked who I should speak to while she was out of the office; Megan put a note in the file to contact me directly for scheduling or if any additional information was required and said she would be back on 4/5/10.

 I told Megan while I appreciated her help, she was a conduit, not a decision-maker; I went on to say I would drive anywhere to meet face-to-face with an empowered decision-maker. Megan said I would not be allowed to meet with “those people” and I was at the highest possible level with her. I reminded her it was a secured debt of over $1mm and if I didn’t get resolution soon, I was looking at a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and they would be forced to work with me on a modification – could I meet with anyone face to face to resolve this? No. 

March 26, 2010: I called the Chase Executive Lending Office asking to speak with someone in Megan’s absence and got Makisha. In our 30 minute phone call, Makisha verified Megan was out until 4/5 and tried to get an answer on the interior appraisal scheduling. She advised “they” had forwarded the request to the Appraisal Dept. I asked if a Chase employee would conduct the appraisal; she said no, an independent appraiser would contact me and I would negotiate the price. I was stunned and said if I had to pay, why couldn’t I just pick my own appraiser and get things moving; Makisha said they had to be “legitimate” and Chase had a list of approved companies. I asked for the list so I could start negotiating price and expedite getting an appraiser out – she said it “wasn’t done that way”. Makisha expressed surprise that none of this had been covered with me by Megan and that I had not been re-assigned to someone during Megan’s absence. She went on to say I would have to wait for the scheduling call; it would take 7-10 days. I asked when the count of 7-10 days started and Makisha said she had already given me “way more information than she was supposed to”. I backed off as she had been helpful and thanked her for her efforts. Makisha said she would note our conversation in the files.  

March 29, 2010: An independent appraiser contacted me looking to schedule the appraisal “tomorrow”. There was no discussion of price or cost to me. We settled on April 1, 2010 as I was to be out of town on business 3/30-3/31/10. 

Senator Lautenberg, are you as exhausted by this as I am? We are coming up on fourteen months of documented honest and transparent attempts on my part to honor my contractual obligation by seeking a modification of my mortgage. No reduction in principal requested, merely a reduction in interest and/or an extension of term. Attempts to meet face to face with a decision-maker have been repeatedly denied and the rules change daily: lack of hardship, unable to verify residence, too much equity; everything must be reviewed, re-submitted and reviewed again – the list is endless and the progress – nil. JPMorgan Chase took money from the American people at 0% interest and says they want to work with folks to keep them in their homes – they don’t. They don’t want to make it work and they don’t make the loan workout people available and accessible to anyone for any reason.  Good business people try to work things out and make it work; it’s just common sense and good business. 

Good business practices have apparently been tabled in the pursuit of profits, at the expense of the taxpayer.  As a tax paying citizen, I continue to appreciate the efforts by your office to seek clarity and resolution on this matter and I again request your intercession on my behalf – I can’t do it alone. I remain available to meet with you or a representative of your office in Camden to review any and all aspects of this situation. I can be reached at (***) ***-**** or by e-mail at ********@yahoo.com. I look forward to speaking with you and again wish you the best of health.

Respectfully, 

Martha Wright

Avalon NJ 08202

Washington Mutual/Chase loan #0********* /OCC Case # 01110250 

cc: David Moore & Senator Lautenberg, Lautenberg Camden Office, Camden, NJ; Comptroller of the Currency, Houston, TX; James Dimon, Chase, New York, NY; Chase Home Lending Executive Office, Florence, SC; Ms. Doris B., Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley, Philadelphia, PA

_________________________________________________________________________________________

February 19, 2010 

The Honorable Frank Lautenberg

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510
Re: Chase Loan 0********* Punishing the “Haves”

Dear Senator Lautenberg,

Thank you for your continued efforts on my behalf toward obtaining a modification on my mortgage. I’m sorry to hear of your recent fall and related health issues and wish you a swift recovery. One’s health and well being is of primary importance. As such, my own concerns may not be top of mind, but I felt it essential to update you on the egregious policy I have uncovered at JP Morgan Chase, a policy that all tax-paying Americans should be made aware of. 

You may recall that I tried to get in front of my financial situation by requesting a loan modification starting in February 2009, and that I was turned down, first for “lack of hardship” and the second time because I had “too much” equity in my home.  Both denials were by telephone; allegedly denial letters were sent but never received by me. After six months of dogged pursuit I was finally provided a “copy” of a denial letter dated August 25, 2009 (enclosed) bearing the key phrase” Your property equity exceeds our program guidelines”.

I have now learned that at JP Morgan Chase, per Jacqueline Ham, Home Lending Executive Office Analyst, JP Morgan Chase takes the current property value and compares it to the principal value left on the loan. If that property value is over 30%, the loan modification is denied.  Isn’t the American dream to own one’s home, or at least build significant equity in one’s home? So why would JP Morgan Chase want to punish the haves by refusing to modify a loan, while rewarding the have-nots by reducing principal, reducing interest rates and extending terms? Yes, I am a “have”, with a home and mortgage that exceeds President Obama’s Making Homes Affordable guidelines. I’m the “have” who paid all the tax dollars to underwrite the program and the bank bail-outs.

In a follow-up meeting with Ms. Doris B. of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley on Monday February 5, 2010, we again called Chase’s loan modification department and were advised the loan was “in review” and assigned to a Tannette McCray. Chase was unable to provide a telephone number for Ms. McCray and she has not responded to e-mails sent to: Tannette.x.McCray@jpmchase.com . We also again called the Chase Home Ownership Center in Media, PA and spoke with Jason, who refused to schedule an appointment or speak further as the loan was “in review”.  What’s to “review” if my equity continues to exceed 30%? My reward for paying and following all the rules is likely to be another denial, while if I had acted irresponsibly and bought a home I could not afford or inflated my salary to obtain a loan beyond my means, JP Morgan Chase would be ready, willing and able to modify the loan.  This policy is an outrage, rewarding those who may least deserve it while punishing the haves who have paid handsomely to build equity, pay taxes and support JP Morgan Chase. 

I greatly appreciate any and all efforts by your office to seek clarity and resolution on this matter for all. I can be reached at (***) ***-**** or by e-mail at ********@yahoo.com. I remain available to meet with you or a representative of your office in Camden to review any and all aspects of this situation. I look forward to speaking with you.

Respectfully,

 Martha Wright

Avalon NJ 08202

Washington Mutual/Chase loan #0*********

cc: David Moore & Senator Lautenberg, Lautenberg Camden Office, Camden, NJ; James Dimon, Chase, New York, NY; Chase Fulfillment Center, Glendale, CO

___________________________________________________________________________________________

January 14, 2010 

The Honorable Frank Lautenberg

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510
Re: Chase Loan 0********* Banks vs. Ordinary Citizens

Dear Senator Lautenberg,

Thank you for responding to my request for assistance with my mortgage. Regarding your letter of December 18, 2009, I wanted to update you on the situation and to share with you an article that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday, January 10, 2010.

On Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 9 AM, I had an appointment with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley in the Camden office at 328 Market Street. I had tried to set up a meeting in late December; however January 5 was the first available appointment at any of their locations.

My counselor, Doris B., was extremely professional during our two-hour meeting. She said that they usually help individuals complete and submit their paperwork – the same paperwork I had already submitted three times! She told me about the Chase Home Ownership Center in Media, PA – I said I had phoned them on December 15th and they had refused to  speak to me because my mortgage payment was not yet 31 days past due.

Ms. Berdecia assured me she would be able to get through to them, and right then proceeded to call her contact “Jason” at the Center.  Jason told Ms. B. exactly what the other Home Ownership Center rep had said to me – that he could offer no help until the 31-day delinquent mark, and also stated that I had “too much equity” in my home. When pressed to clarify exactly what that meant, his reply was, “programs change all the time,” and, “you are back in for loan review so I cannot help you or comment on your loan.” Bottom line: The homeowner must be delinquent before Chase will talk to them.

Following our conversation with Jason, Ms. B. and I called Chase’s loan modification department. We spoke first with a representative to confirm that all paperwork had been received and was in good order, and then asked to be transferred to the Imminent Default Department.  After 25 minutes on hold, we were disconnected. We then called Imminent Default back on their direct line, and were again put on hold. After 35 minutes we finally had to disconnect because my two-hour appointment was over!

Senator Lautenberg, the reason I am sharing all this with you is this:  my situation may not engender sympathy as others are in much more dire straits, but that begs the question: Is this lack of empathy for me overshadowing the larger reality here – that the banks are not being candid or forthcoming with anyone – regardless of income, financial status, home equity – hardship or no? While it’s true that compared to most I am actually a well-off, detail-oriented follow-up fanatic, the truth is that so far it’s gotten me nowhere. If someone like me finds it daunting to jump through the hoops, what chance does the regular guy with a family, two-plus jobs, no time and no cash have to get any help? From my experience I can say flat out that there are no guidelines for this process and it’s the banks who hold all the cards – and all the money. I greatly appreciate any and all efforts by your office to seek clarity and resolution on this matter for all.

I can be reached at (***) ***-**** or by e-mail at ********@yahoo.com. I am available to meet with you or a representative of your office in Camden to review any and all aspects of this situation. I look forward to speaking with you.

Respectfully, 

Martha Wright

Avalon NJ 08202

Washington Mutual/Chase loan #0********* 

cc: David Moore & Senator Lautenberg, Lautenberg Camden Office, Camden, NJ; James Dimon, Chase, New York, NY; Chase Fulfillment Center, Glendale, CO

____________________________________________________________________________________________ 

December 16, 2009 

The Honorable Frank Lautenberg

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510
Re: Bank Bail-outs & Ordinary Citizens

Dear Senator Lautenberg,

I am a Cape May County resident, registered and active voter, home owner, and have been gainfully employed for over 35 years. In May 2008, my salary was cut in half; I was grateful to still have a job and supplemented my income with a second job in Atlantic County while seeking higher paying work anywhere in the tri-state area. I kept current on my mortgage for nineteen months by using savings; those savings will be depleted in March 2010.

I have been unable to obtain work anywhere at my original salary and have twice requested a loan modification from Washington Mutual/Chase, starting in February 2009 when I realized the employment situation was unlikely to change. I have been turned down, first for “lack of hardship” and the second time because I had “too much” equity in my home.  Washington Mutual/Chase, my note holder, is one of the banks enjoying a bail-out at the expense of ordinary citizens. Chase is getting government funding, money at 0% interest, yet they are unwilling to in turn lend that money at 3%, 4% or even 5%.

My mortgage interest rate is locked at over 6%, I have a good credit rating, no debt (other than my mortgage), and significant equity in my home, but I can’t make payments at 6% any longer; a loan modification to a lower interest rate would allow me to make my payments and keep my home. I am not underwater in my loan, not delinquent (yet) on my payments, and not seeking a reduction in principal; I seek only a modification in the interest rate to reflect today’s prevailing rate. It is an outrage that my tax dollars have gone to bail-out the banks, and those same banks will not share a small percentage of that bail-out money with an ordinary citizen.

Where is the bail-out for the ordinary citizen? How can President Obama extend the TARP funds for yet another year, yet the money never reaches the hands of the people who paid the tax dollars to make this possible? The banks answer to no one, yet I must answer to the bank.

Senator Lautenberg, I request your help and intercession on this matter. Washington Mutual/Chase needs to answer to the American citizens. I have sought answers to no avail, and request that you ask Washington Mutual/Chase what they are doing with the government bail-out money, and how ordinary citizens such as myself can obtain the relief President Obama promised. I am happy to meet with you and share full documentation of every phone call, fax and letter with Washington Mutual/Chase from 2/24/09 to date, as well as a full review of my personal balance sheet. At this point I have nothing to lose, except my home.      

I can be reached at (***) ***-**** or by e-mail at ********@yahoo.com. I look forward to speaking with you.

Respectfully,

Martha Wright

Avalon NJ 08202

Washington Mutual/Chase loan #0********* 

cc: Lautenberg Camden Office, Camden, NJ; James Dimon, Chase, New York, NY; Chase Fulfillment Center, Glendale, CO

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9 Responses

  1. Hi Martha,
    We have the same problem. After paying 8 months on our trial loan modification, Chase sent back our # 8 months check stating that its not sufficient to pay for the cost of the loan…no computation given. We refiled a new package again and the same ridiculous submissions of missing documents. Now, we can not contact Chase office in new york., it seems that they change that phone #. I also contacted my congressman and senator. I don’t know whats happening to our country??? We need help but nobody seems to care!!! I am a veteran, 71 yrs old and a triple heart bypass patient. I don’t have any work.. Thank you very much for your inspiring letter.
    Sincerely,
    Felix Baluyot

  2. Chase is a joke and a greedy, incompetent entity. My husband and I were denied as well after making our trial modification payments on time for 8-9 months. There is a class action lawsuit against Chase Home Finance regarding flood insurance: Warren v. Chase Home Finance filed 6/17/10 by Paul Lukas of the lawfirm Nichols Kaster PLLP. We plan on contacting them as well regarding the deception, incompetenence, misinformation, misrepresentation, and for pain and mental suffering over the whole loan modification process!

  3. I’ve been denied several times on the Loan Mod program and just realized something . . . I have a friend who is retired on SEIU Para benefits (was a federal employee and a democrat). She brings in about 3200/mo and was given a Loan Mod program the first time out. I’m just wondering if we are being discriminated against because we don’t work for the government? Or perhaps we aren’t democrats? Just a thought! Sure would like to know.

  4. we are victim’s of mortgage/foreclosure fraud via; lerner, sampson and ROTHFUSS attorney’s in cincinnati working for chase bank. our loan was insured by the dept. of veterans affairs. we purchased our home in yr. 2000 with a fly-by-night mortgage broker intrest rate 8.5%. 2002 went to bank-one. better loan, less interest rate. chase bank acquired bank-one. financial problems in 2007. bankruptcy, we reaffairmed the loan. financial trouble continued. we were foreclosured by attorney’s claim that there was no record of reafformation. mers came into the picture. boyle county ky. circuit court is a kangaroo court. ROTHFUSS could do no wrong. about a year after bankruptcy chase hounded us to take a home equity loan. should have not taken the money. income fell lower after my wife lost her job. foreclosure continued during our attempt for modification. there are far to many details to list. 50th judical circuit, boyle county kentucky circuit court case no. 08-CI-0415. we were evicted by the boyle county sheriff on may, 10th 2011 “WITHOUT” notice or court order also “NO FORCABLE DETAINER” !-? a company hired by coldwell banker was on-site. the company took anything/everything they wanted. after they took what they wanted with a claim we abdonded the property the trash-out started. trashed-out into the rain. a disabled veteran and family placed on the street via; “THE KANGAROO COURT” , FRAUD/FRAUD/FRAUD !!! the first ordered sale by judge, darren w. (the czar) peckler was reversed by senior judge, overstreet. chase bank came back again. the czar peckler ordered another sale. our home sold on may, 25th 2010. while i was at the auction with a witness and tape-recorder the master-commissioner verbally/physically threatened me twice. i did nothing, said nothing. the county sheriff forced me to sit down as if i created a problem. douglas w. trantham p.o.box-544 danville, ky 40423 phone-859-209-4377 email-dwt340@gmail.com

  5. It is not just Chase making a complete mockery of struggling homeowners efforts to stay in their home attributed to the crisis caused by these very banks that we as taxpayers bailed out. I just wonder why the government and our elected representatives have not held them accountable or pressed them for real meaningful assistance like lowering of payments with principal reductions, etc… Can you think of what it might be like if instead of banks being bailed out the government would have bailed out the homeowners who lost value in their home via right sizing values to mortgages. After all we did not create the crisis that affected the values. The government is partly responsible before and after.

  6. Chase Bank with corrupt Law Firm; Lerner, Sampson & ROTHFUSS took my Veterans Insured Home. FRAUD in Boyle County 50th Judicial Branch, Commonwealth of Kentucky Circuit Court Case #-08-CI-0415. Douglas W. Trantham P.O. Box-544 Danville, Ky 40423 Home Phone-859-209-4377 Cell-859-583-3688

  7. what didhappen to Martha’s home? did she ever get the mod?

  8. I just stumbled across your website while looking up information on how to deal with Chase. God bless you for your efforts and I hope things eventually worked out for you.

    Reading your letters have me reliving to a disturbing exactitude my experience with Chase. They don’t care and you can never get consistent or accurate information from them. I, too have written Jamie Dimon, my Senators, my Federal Representative, my Governor and my state AG and got no help from any of them.

    I’m a vet, played by the rules my whole life and now helplessly watch as Chase takes my house while they get bailed out with my tax dollars. Worse than that, the Feds have increased bank regulation and allowed the big banks to take over small banks which has killed any competition to the big banks.

    I am really amazed that there has not been a class action suit. These people are impossible to deal with, have purposely set up a system that delays and deceives and they should be in jail.

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