I am often contacted by individuals who a request assistance with their mortgage situation. While I do not have jurisdiction over the decision of the lender, I will be more than happy to submit your correspondence to your mortgage company for review. My office can also submit your complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which screens in the information that you provide to our office and forwards it via a secure web portal to the appropriate company. Before submitting an inquiry, I must ask for you to complete the enclosed Privacy Release Act Form.
Listed below are websites for federal agencies that can provide additional assistance and information
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is probably best suited to address mortgage situations. They have jurisdiction over banks, and they have this online complaint center, which states: “Have an issue with a financial product or service? We'll forward your complaint to the company and work to get a response from them.”
They also have this consumer assistance site that provides guidance for those struggling to meet mortgage payments. Their hotline (855-411-2372) offers consumers help getting in touch with a HUD-approved housing counselor. At no cost to consumers, a housing counselor also can help organize a person’s finances, assist in them in understanding their mortgage options, and work to find a solution to prevent foreclosure.
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP FROM HUD: Here’s an overview of a HUD a program that includes a list of HUD approved counselors who are available to talk to you about peoples’ mortgage situation and help you decide which mortgage options are best for you. They can explain what documents you will need to provide to your mortgage company and may be able to contact the mortgage company on your behalf. Here’s a list of HUD Housing Counseling Agencies located in TEXAS.
INFORMATION FROM THE FTC: The FTC does have this website item offering information on Making Payments to Your Mortgage Servicer. There’s an entire section on Inquiries and Disputes:
“Under federal law, your mortgage servicer must respond promptly to written inquiries, known as “qualified written requests”. If you believe you’ve been charged a penalty, late fee, or some other fee by mistake, or if you have other problems with the servicing of your loan, write to your servicer. Include your account number and explain why you believe your account is incorrect. Send your correspondence to the address the servicer specifies for qualified written requests.
The servicer must send you a written acknowledgment within 20 business days of receiving your inquiry. Then, within 60 business days, the servicer must correct your account or determine that it is accurate. The servicer must send you a written notice of the action it took and why, as well as the name and phone number of someone to contact.
Do not subtract any disputed amount from your mortgage payment. Your servicer might consider this a partial payment and refuse to accept it. Your payment might be returned to you or put in a “suspense” or “hold” account until you provide the rest of the payment. Either way, your servicer may charge you a late fee or claim that your mortgage is in default and start foreclosure proceedings.”
The Federal Reserve also will connect consumers with or forward the complaint to the appropriate federal regulator for the bank or institution involved in your complaint. Here’s their consumer assistance website – https://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/index.cfm and their toll-free hotline: 888-851-1920.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; U.S. Department of the Treasury website – www.helpwithmybank.gov.
MORE HELPFUL PUBLICATIONS AND WEBSITES FROM THE FTC
The FTC has an entire website on home loans, including an alert addressing foreclosure rescue scams (don’t pay money upfront to anyone who promises to save your home or for mortgage modification services!).
DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FOR ASSISTANCE BEFORE SERVICES ARE PROVIDEDAs of January 31, 2011, companies that offer to help homeowners get their loans modified or sell them other types of mortgage assistance relief services are no longer allowed to charge up-front fees. Under the rule, a mortgage assistance relief company may not collect a fee until the consumer has signed a written agreement with the lender that includes the relief obtained by the company. When the company presents the consumer with that relief, it must inform the consumer, in writing, that the consumer can reject the offer without obligation and, if the consumer accepts, the total fee due. Before the consumer agrees to accept the mortgage relief, the company must also provide a written notice from the lender or servicer showing how the relief will change the terms of the consumer’s loan (including any limitations on a trial loan modification). Here’s a press release providing details about the FTC’s rule.