As many of my readers know, I am not a lender basher or a lender implode blogger. I report on the facts in regards to what lenders are doing to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure and their loss mitigation efforts.

A press release that was trumped up by Countrywide PR officials claimed that they modified 25,000 mortgages and were planning to modify another 7,000 before the years end. When the press release came out. I was like what the hell is 35,000 mortgages out of a half a million that are delinquent? That’s nothing! A drop in the the over flowing bucket of foreclosures.

I just read a great article from Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times that confirms everything I have thought and have bloged about. Here are some excerpts:

“Countrywide is trying to say they are doing workouts, but they are doing them with as little financial sacrifice for the company and as little effort as they can,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. “They are trying to get away with doing a good job here when you can prove by digging even a half an inch deeper that they’re not.”

Countrywide strongly disagrees. Last week, it described its efforts on behalf of troubled homeowners. “Our No. 1 priority is to help borrowers stay in their homes,” said Steve Bailey, a Countrywide executive, in a news release. The company said it has saved 39,582 mortgages from foreclosure so far this year.

But according to Countrywide’s own data, it currently services almost nine million mortgages, with a value of $1.45 trillion. Of those, roughly 450,000 are delinquent. So providing home preservation assistance on the 39,582 loans amounts to just 8.8 percent of Countrywide borrowers who have fallen behind.

“When you look under the surface, they are counting deeds-in-lieu as a modification,” said Martin Eakes, chief executive of the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization. “When you’ve taken someone’s house, even without the foreclosure process, to count that as a modification is worse than fiction.”

Mark Seifert, executive director of Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People, a consumer advocacy group in Cleveland, is dubious. He said his experience with Countrywide, one of the dozen or so lenders and servicers with whom he works on behalf of borrowers, has been unsatisfactory.

For the first eight months of this year, he said, his group took in 132 cases in which Countrywide was the loan servicer. Of those, two ended up in what he called “very good” workouts from the company. One involved forged documents when the original loan was made, Mr. Seifert said, and the other involved a borrower who received her deal from Countrywide the day before she was set to testify before Congress last July about her problems with the company.

“We have experience with Citi, Chase and a whole litany of other lenders,” Mr. Seifert said. “Some are better than others, but we are successful more than half the time with all of them. Except Countrywide.”

I knew the PR release by Countrywide was just a media ploy because I get reader and emails like this daily form my readers:

9/10/2007 9:50 AM MH wrote:
I agree about Countrywide HOPE department. I am going through a separation and prior to that my husband took over paying the mortgage. We are two months behind. I have taken over making payments but I am short on Sept. payment. I called the HOPE department to see is there anything I could do to catch up because I need my home. I have a son and I am 5 months pregnant. The first time I called the man was so rude and just didn’t seem to care. The second time it was a different man but he was also rude. He asked me why did the mortgage get behind last June 2006. I tried to explain that my husband took over paying the bills but if they checked our records prior to June 2006 when I was making the payments our mortgage was never late. The man didn’t seem to care. He kept asking me but why and how did he get behind. I didn’t understand what answer he wanted from me. I told him that it was just too many obligations for him to handle that still was not good enough. Finally, after 30 mins of him drilling me I told him as I was in tears I will call back. I need this loan modification but I don’t understand what information they need or what they want me to say. Someone please help me.

9/29/2007 6:20 PM caroll mendez wrote:
yes my income went down but most important is that my payment went up 1000 dollars, my income went down in Nov 06 but I was still able to make my payments until my payment went up in june 07 then I could not make the payment, I tried contacting country wide several times back in march, but to no avail they said that I had to missed 3 payments before they could look into it, so I am still waiting for them to modify my payment?? actually I talked to them again today and they said that they would contact me in 3 to 4 weeks

9/29/2007 8:51 AM caroll mendez wrote:
I have been asking countrywide for help also and all that i get is please submit via fax you par stubs, income tax return and a letter why i have fallen behind, i have an ARM and my payment went up 1000 dollars i am 4 months behind and all that i get is a letter saying that the request was denied and that it seems that i can not afford the payment increase ???? daaa that is why i need a modification

9/5/2007 6:19 PM Liz wrote:
I have also contacted countrywide to help me modify my payment and was turned down because we were too far negative in income to expense.I’m not asking them to forgive my loan, i am just asking that they help me get through this “bad loan” that we thought was heaven sent at the time. Our plan was to refinance after the two year arm, but our credit score was less than perfect and we couldn’t refinance and now we have gone through 22,000 in the past 6 months to keep the homes we purchased two years ago. Countrywide has not worked with me at all, also advising me to do a short sale or foreclose. they are just interested in their own pockets.
also, hopeless in California

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Re: Countrywide Does Not Want to Give You a Loan Modification!

I have a Countrywide ARM mortgage that has neg am and it was sold to me by a mortgage broker that did not fully explain what it was. I take responsibility for not asking more pointed questions and getting a truth in lending statement which until now I did not know I was entitled to receiving in 3 business days (hindsight is 20/20) but I was a fool and trusted the professional specialists, the realtor and the broker. What I fool I was!!!! (I am kicking myself and so mad at myself I cannot tell you how upset I am) I knew once I was sent the final schedule of payments after all was signed and done, where I discovered how the neg am ARM REALLY worked, that I knew we had made a HUGE mistake. I have $34K prepayment penalty for the 1st year and it has been a long year waiting to refinance, except now I cannot refinance as when we bought the triplex, we learned while in escrow ($25K put down from savings and $107K put down from the sale of our townhouse) that the triplex loan would not be approved because it was legally only supposed to be a duplex. We had sellers who were threatening to sue us and keep the money we put down if we didn’t perform. So the lender said they would loan us the money but req’d us to put another 10 percent down, which our realtor and broker loaned to us, but doctored a fake gift letter. I think I have a case of fraud here by the broker, I may want to figure out how to sue him, but my main focus right now is to get out of this toxic loan. Now that the year is almost up (Dec 21, 2007) I am trying to refinance, BUT bc the property is not technically a triplex, but a duplex, the companies I am trying to refinance with say that is a problem. So now I can’t refinance and the neg am is stripping our equity!!! this is a ticking time bomb and I tried calling Countrywide who offered to refi me into another ARM that caps at 13.75% which I said no way to. I found out about this non-profit organization called NACA www.naca.com, they have a homesave program. They just started doing refinance modifications, they represent homeowners who need help. I am going to try them and see if I can do something soon before it gets out of hand.

How much longer are we going to just stand by and watch the new ENRON lawlessly and recklessly stick their middle finger in our faces as they send out bogus press releases and slip money in the politicians pockets?