We first applied for assistance with our WaMu home loan in January 2009. While my husband has been at the same full-time job for the past 10 years, I have my own business and in 2008, I suffered a loss ($6,000 loss) for the first time in 7 years. While business was steady, sales were way down. We also accrued unexpected medical bills thanks to our health insurance company, who decided they would no longer cover the claims for our 5-year-old son's physical therapy (but that's a whole other story). Needless to say, we needed help with our $2300/month mortgage payment (on our little 1300 sf house in the suburbs, by the way).
So we sent in our application and entire financial package at the beginning of January to the "WaMu Cares" loan modification program. We had hoped to lower our monthly mortgage payment, or to get a forebearance until we could catch up, if nothing else. We received a letter dated January 28th (nearly four weeks later) that our application had been received and would be reviewed. The letter even contained the name of the loan officer who would be reviewing our case. It also said that we should have an answer within 3-4 weeks.
The weeks passed, and we called in about once a week to check on the status of our application. Sometimes we were told that our application was still being processed and that we should have an answer at the end of March. Other times, the person on the other end of the phone couldn't even find our file in their computer system. We never knew which department we were talking to, and began to suspect that no one knew anything.
By the end of March, we still had not received a response to our request for assistance, but I was able to get an answer as to why our request had gone unanswered for so long. A supervisor in the loan modification office admitted that our application (along with hundreds of others) had been outsourced to a company called Fiserv, because WaMu's loan modification program had been so inundated with applications. Fiserv had "lost" our application. It had never been uploaded into their computer system. (I feel so secure knowing that our financial information is out there, somewhere, by the way.) It was suggested that I fax the entire packet of information and our application, letter of hardship, etc. to WaMu and to Fiserv right away, and they would place a note on our application requesting that a decision be expedited.
In April, we called at least once a week to check on our application's status, only to be told it was being processed. We spoke with numerous individuals at both WaMu and Fiserv, and each time, they once again seemed to have different information about our file. Once on a Friday in April, I was told that a modification package was on its way to us; that WaMu was sending it by FedEx Overnight, and that we should have our package on Saturday or Monday. By Wednesday of the following week, we still had not received the modification package, nor any other correspondence from WaMu. When I called to check in on its delivery status, I was told that there was no modification package being sent to us, and that the person who said that spoke too soon, and had no right telling us that.
Finally in a letter dated May 22, 2009, we received a letter from WaMu that we had been approved for a Special Forebearance Agreement, which would provide us temporary relief from our loan payments. (At that point, we were three months' payments behind). The letter stated that we were three months' behind, but also stated that we "must send $0.00 to reduce (our) total delinquency". The period of forebearance was from 06/09 to 08/09.
In August, we received a FedEx package from Chase (who bought WaMu) and it was the same application for assistance and request for financial information that we had already submitted twice. This time the paperwork bore the Chase logo - other than that, it was pretty much the same. I spent an entire weekend finding, copying and creating new financial reports to satisfy their request. The packet had contained a return FedEx envelope, so we sent the new packet off to Chase in it. (This was the third application packet we had submitted to WaMu, asking for assistance.)
We received absolutely no correspondence from WaMu or Chase during the summer, other than that request. No statements, bills - nothing. As our forebearance period ended, we waited for a response to our application or for our September statement to arrive. Nothing. Just yesterday, September 29, we received a letter from WaMu's Loss Mitigation Department (though it was not signed by anyone), stating that they had received our request for a loan workout and our supporting financial documentation. After completing their review and analysis, our loan workout is being denied for the following reason: Non Compliance/Unable to reach borrower for updated information.
What?!! My husband and I both called the phone number provided on the letter within a couple of hours of each other. My husband was told that the reason it was denied was because they had tried calling us on Sept. 14th to request more recent pay stubs from my husband (they were current when we sent them in), but they had not heard back from us. Both of us asked what phone numbers they had called, and we both heard them recite phone numbers that were 7-8 years old for us! We have no idea where they got those phone numbers, or why (all of a sudden) they were using those numbers instead of our current ones (as they had always done before).
There was no written request or correspondence. Only this "supposed" phone call on one day in September, and that was their reason for denying our request for assistance. How is this even possible?! How are banks getting away with this? We have done everything that was required of us, and repeated it three times! Our application has been lost by them in the past, and juggled around. What company, let alone a giant like WaMu/Chase, succeeds doing business like this?!
This morning, for the fourth time, we faxed our application for assistance and our entire financial packet, as requested. The woman I spoke to yesterday at WaMu's Loss Mitigation Dept. told me, "Maybe the 4th time's the charm?" This is our home - our lives - that they are gambling with! How is any of this acceptable, or even legal for that matter? Who is going to hold them accountable?
According to WaMu/Chase (and despite our Special Forebearance Agreement and the letter that stated we should "send $0.00 in to reduce our total deliquency"), we are now seven months behind on our mortgage payments. Our options are to take our chances on applying for help a 4th time, or try a "short sale" of our home. I don't know which I have less confidence in.
We are a hard-working family (both employed full-time) with two small children, and we are doing all of the things we are supposed to do to stay in our modest house. We are insured, too. And yet, we are drowning in debt, facing foreclosure, and strapped with medical bills. What has happened? We no longer feel that "the dream" is a possibility for us.