Mortgage Servicing Complaints Rise as Borrowers Continue to Seek Relief

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Another day brings yet another desperate homeowner asking -"How can mortgage servicing companies get away with what they are doing? And why doesn't anyone care?"

I noted in today's SunSentinel's Editorial Blog -Talk Back South Florida --stories continue to pour in from homeowners desperate to find help and guidance when dealing with abusive or negligent mortgage servicing companies.

We feel that by writing about these corporate wrongs -it may help to right a few.

Here's Tammy's story -in her own words;


Amidst the foreclosure fiascos that are happening within our country and especially with Florida being one of the highest foreclosure states, how can our judicial system not understand and see what these mortgage servicing, debt collection - lawyer based companies - and lenders are doing to the hard working consumers that are vital to keeping our economy stimulated?  And why are they not doing anything about it? 

How many people have to be put in the streets before the government will do anything about this?  When you have thousands and thousands of consumers that are being victimized, most in the same way, by a company, is that not enough to alert someone?

EMC Mortgage Servicing placed an escrow account on our non-escrow-ed mortgage.  Not once - twice!  Not only do I have one of their representatives on a recorded conversation with me stating that this foreclosure was in no way our fault, they also sent me the documentation that they had showing them that we did indeed have insurance.  Yet, EMC chose to pay our insurance and charge us for their mistake.  I noticed, the second time, right away.  I immediately called EMC to get this taken care of, and every few weeks after that.  It took them 11 months to figure out how they made the mistake.  But, they didn't figure it out until I spent over 3 hours on the phone with their insurance department AFTER they served us with foreclosure papers.  I tried for 11 months to have this escrow situation looked into.  They did NOTHING!!!  Except hand us foreclosure papers just a few days prior to Christmas.  Not to mention that for those 11 months, I would make my regular monthly payments and explain to them that the payments were to be applied our mortgage payments, NOT the escrow account.  Guess what?  They applied the payments where ever they wanted.  So, they actually started foreclosure proceedings on us when we weren't in default. 

Oh yes, let's not forget their forbearance agreement that they urged me to sign (notice I said me - not us - as we were told that only one of us needed to sign this agreement).  You know, the elevated monthly payments for 6 - 8 months, then applying for a loan modification, and finally 'possibly' they would be able to modify our loan however, they, of course, wouldn't agree if the modification could happen.  Did I mention that within their forbearance agreement, we would have to pay EMC a balloon payment of $5,000?  Well, I guess they forgot to explain that one to us during our many phone conversations.

I hired a lawyer and we submitted a notice to dismiss on the grounds that, somehow, Wells Fargo Bank entered into this foreclosure.  What?  Are you kidding me?  Where & When did they take stock in my mortgage?  I acquired the loan with SouthStar Funding in December 2006 and was told at the closing table that EMC would be servicing our mortgage.  EMC is who we dealt with up until Florida Default Law Group sent us the foreclosure papers.

Since losing my job, I am now doing all of the research on my own.  I can no longer afford a lawyer.  And, we make just a mere $200 too much for legal aid.  Yes, you read it correctly.  Just a small $200 a month, gross, too much.  I have contacted many lawyers throughout Florida in hopes that someone would be able to help us.  I don't want it for free, just a little help.  I have done so much of the research that my lawyer told me that I know more about foreclosures than some lawyers do.

This foreclosure has consumed my every being.  My every breath that I breathe, my every waking minute of the day, all day, every day.  I am scared to leave my home in fear that when I return all of our personal items will be on the street or worse yet, in a dumpster and taken away.  I have, and still do, go through my depression times.  I am mentally and physically wore out.  Oh but, I will not quit fighting.  It's not as though we quit making our payments.  We didn't!  THEY messed up our account, not us. 

I have submitted my complaint to just about every government agency.  More than once.  I even fax my story to The White House nearly on a daily basis.  Still nothing.  The only response that I have gotten is, "We're sorry, but we don't have the jurisdiction to help you in this matter."  Excuse me?  Who does?  So, I submit my complaint again.  I figure they will either get tired of getting it everyday and actually look at it, or they will have someone to contact me to guide me in the right direction. 

It's not enough for EMC to have destroyed our once 800+ credit score.  Our credit cards have been shut off, our insurance premiums escalated, and we now have NO credit.  We drive a 1993 (16 years old) full size Chevy van and a 1999 Buick LeSabre.  Both vehicles have over 150,000 miles each.  I am not ashamed to drive either vehicle.  If one breaks down, we are then without a vehicle.  We won't even qualify for a loan.

I guess this really hit me when I had to fly to Ohio as my dad took ill and was hospitalized.  I had to borrow the money for that.  When my dad passed away 3 weeks later, my husband was unable to attend.  At a time when I, and my family, needed him most, he couldn't make the trip.  Not because of his job, but because, as stated earlier, our credit cards were cut off.  We had no way of purchasing a plane ticket and he couldn't drive the 16 hours to Ohio in fear that something would go wrong with the car on the way and have no way to pay for repairs.  I guess all I have to say to EMC is Thank You for destroying us.

For anyone who is being victimized by EMC, or any other lender or mortgage servicing company, please, COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN, AND COMPLAIN AGAIN.  Keep complaining until your story is heard.  Then, complain some more.  Just because they are big companies gives them no right to harass us and turn our lives upside down.  We are hard working Americans and we need to be heard.  I am even considering going to Washington D.C. and telling my story.  I just need to know how and who to speak to.  And, I am open for any legal help that someone may be able to forward to me.

How many families have to be a victim of this crime before the government steps in and investigates?  What is their magical number of victims?

Tammy Cothran
Navarre, F

UPDATES on Tammy's saga with FDLG and EMC can be found here

Also read more stories and find additional info here: mortgage servicing.

And here: For more on EMC...

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I can relate to your post. That is why I am trying to build an online community organization to promote mortgage servicer regulation.

Coleen: Great to know that! I hope you will include info on your site to the petition here that has been building signatures and comments to force mortgage servicing companies to account for our payments. ALL borrowers should have access to a monthly mortgage statement that would allow borrowers the ability to verify how and if our payments are actually applied. Read many homeowner comments here...

Please see:


You know, I just had to come back again and read this letter. I am going to post a link to it on my blogs. To be sure, Tammy's story is truly heart wrenching. The most disturbing part for me is that I to have been complaining for 1 year to anyone I can think of. I write to the White House frequently. I have gotten the same messages too, "sorry, we can't help you." I first thought that complaining would solve our problems, but we just have to do more. I don't know what yet, but we have to do something else. My dream is to convene a national hearing on Capital Hill where all these complaints can be heard. How do we get there from here?

Thanks Coleen. I have many "off line" signatures as well.

I introduced a bill in MA years ago -long before the mortgage crises (scroll down to see old clippings here: ) then dropped the efforts for a time being.

When I moved to FL and brought it to my congressional legislators attention -they had little to no interest in supporting this effort -at least not yet. It is frustrating...but I will continue to plug away at raising awareness. Had I had a monthly statement -I would not have lost a decade of my life that originated with my mortgage servicing company NOT applying my "additional" principal payments. I didn't know this because I didn't get a monthly statement -rather I used a payment coupon book! If credit card companies and utility companies can afford to send monthly statements -so can mortgage servicing companies. We should ALL be allowed to track our payments


I have finally received a response from the White House. It is from F. Michael Kelleher, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Correspondence.

It reads:

Dear Tammy:
Thank you for contacting the office of President Barack Obama. The President appreciates your taking the time to voice your concerns and opinions.
We have taken the liberty of forwarding your concerns to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for review. We have asked the agency to respond directly to you in a timely manner.
Again, thank you for your correspondence.

Even though it took an abundance of submissions and several phone calls to the White House, maybe - just maybe, my story was noticed. I am sure that HUD receives numerous complaints from consumers such as myself, however, the point of this is that someone in our government has actually read and responded to me.

This just validates what I have been telling everyone - Complain, Complain, and Complain again. Keep complaining. And then complain more! Now we have a direct person at the White House to send our faxes & emails to.

There is obviously a lot to know about this. There are some good points here.

Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so, Excellent post!

Litton Loans will NOT finalize my loan modification. They misinformed me. They told me that I was NOT getting a HAMP modification, but now they say it IS a HAMP modification? I guess after I applied, then they signed up for HAMP.
They also told me I had to make Payment #1 FOR AUGUST! But then that the NEXT PAYMENT WASN'T DUE UNTIL OCTOBER. Great, so they MADE me have a BIG GAP between payments, by ENGINEERING the dates that way! I now have no clue about the status. I also understand that they are NOT supposed to include income that is NOT steady or reliable, but they seem to be doing THAT too. As someone who worked part time, sporadically with the Census, since HELOO I NEED MONEY! they apparently plan to factor THAT income into the payment amount, except I have NO way to know if I'll get called again, or not, if so when, and if I do -- guss

Please forgive this lengthy communication however I don’t have anyone to turn to and I believe my story should be heard and told:

For years I have been having a dispute with Flagstar Mortgage Company and the events that followed is a fiction story in and within it self. However in October 2009 Flagstar sold my bogus loan to Nationstar Mortgage Company and the events unraveled from there. On March 8th Flagstar attempted to resale my home in a sheriff’s foreclosure action and it paid the Cuyahoga county sheriff’s office, the Cuyahoga County appraisers, published the event in the newspaper and scheduled the sale of my home to accutioned at the Cleveland Justice Center even after I filed a motion in the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas. Flagstar never stopped the sale and proceeded full speed ahead until a judge intervened and simply stated “Flagstar did not respond to the plaintiff’s motion therefore the sheriff’s sale is cancelled. Not a slap on the wrist nothing more.

After October 2009 when the loan was sold I begain doing business with Nationstar who sent me a modification agreement which I signed and had notarized and agreed to make 3 payment; Feb. 1 in which I made, March 1, in which I made and the last one was supposed to be made April 1st. However, in the interim Nationstar begins calling me asking me if I can sign a security instrument immediately before April 1st and make another payment before April 15th. The payments are $1,022 and my take home salary for a month is $2,500.

Actually a customer servicer told me it was them who postponed the sheriff’s sale. I don’t know how they could have done that when they didn’t file a foreclosure action against me. I believe that Nationstar discussed my personal financial business with Flagstar which is a conflict at best. Then suddenly Nationstar’s attitude with made a 360% change. At that time we had a fairly decent business relationship and I found the new company refreshing. However, after all this happened and In the interim Nationstar sent me a modification I was to sign that would take my house note up to from the original loan amount of $104,000 to $148,000....the house is only worth $57,000 and at the sheriff’s sale Flagstar had it up to auction for $37,000. I lived in the house for approximately 8 years…..paying notes… can this be???? Also, the security instrument stated that the percentage rate on my loan would escalate 2% every 2 years until 2017 and then the house will be paid off in 2041, I’ll be 90 years old. I couldn't sign that! So now we are at an impasse. However, I am going to court with Flagstar on April 5th next Monday with the mediator. Really it is not Nationstar's fault it is Flagstar's fault. Nationstar said they have to go with the numbers that got from Flagstar so I will have to change that at the mediation. Therefore I refused to lock myself into those terms.

But the real story is I applied for the HAMP program through Nationstar and now Nationstar telling me I didn't qualify for the HAMP program because my DIT (debt ratio was more than 31%) that means I am not paying more than 31% of my loan....according to my gross income but I am.

Get this, the Home Affordable Program is online and people can calculate their Gross income and I did it and I qualify but Nationstar said they don't calculate that way and when I asked the customer service what method they use to calculate gross income, I was told that underwriters know what it is but they didn't know. So this response sent me on a quest to discover how gross income is calculated for the HAMP program. Therefore, I set off on a hunt to find out what guidelines are used by HAMP to calculate a person's gross income. Although Nationstar told me “that’s the way we do it here” the kind lady at the IRS assured me that it cannot be arbitrary and guidelines should exist…..somewhere. The problem was that my check stub reflects 2 amounts. The amount earned….grossed and the taxable income which is what IRS uses as my gross. The difference is my pension is taken out so according to the IRS my gross income is calculated by my taxable income because I don't gross that other amount because it is an exception. First of all I called the HOPE program which was the phone number on the denial letter to contact if I had questions. They could only refer me to counseling in my area. Not a help!

You won't believe what followed on my journey to find out the guidelines of the Home Affordable Mortgage Program - HAMP program. First I called IRS to find out what the true meaning of gross income is and they told me that is considered all your income however in some situation a modified gross income is used (see below house bill) to allow for pensions. However, she told me that I would have to check with the "program" to see how they do it.....again the guidelines for the HAMP program. The lady at IRS told me it would have to be a standard and a policy somewhere. New buzz word for today "escalation" that word was said to me by 3 different government agencies within an hour. So the lady at IRS said she was going to escalate me up to someone who could possibly have the guidelines for HAMP. That lady ended up giving me a phone number to the IRS in Washington, DC who supposedly may know or handles the HAMP guidelines.

When I called that number it prompted me to an option to leave voice messages for about 10 people so I just went down the line until a gentleman picked up the phone. Guess what he said when I asked about the HAMP office....."Oh the emphasis HAMP office that doesn't exist!" I said "you mean there is no office." He said people keep looking for it but it just doesn't one knows where it is. He said he has a co-worker that had a phone number of a guy I could call supposedly at HAMP because he had the same experience with another person but his co-worker would be out of the office for 3 weeks. The plot thickened. Then I asked what office in DC was the headquarters for HAMP he told me there is no office per se however it was the Office of Financial Stability that are the overseer and he gave me that phone number.

Ready for the kicker---> When I called the Office of Financial Stability and asked to be connected to the HAMP office I was placed on hold (seemed like forever) and then transferred to the HOPE office again. There is no HAMP Agency however billions of dollars are being funneled into this program. Apparently not to help anyway because it is now layered with customer servicing private industry that are making gazillions and then on down to the local counseling agencies making gazillion dollars and the help that is supposed to be given to the people is non existent.

I waited on the line and this time when I talked to a HOPE person I told them that I just discovered there is no HAMP office and that if this is the level of help we are getting for over $70 billion dollars (counseling) then I think that the public should know and that I'm sure I'm not the only one looking for HAMP! It was a lady who answered the phone and then she scrambles around put me on hold and said she was escalating me up to someone else to talk to. I got this guy named Nick and I same the same thing to him....."So you mean this organization (HAMP) doesn't actually exist? He began spouting about this is a program that President Obama (blaming him) funded to help.....I was like stop it! "Do you mean to tell me there is no HAMP office and HOPE is it and all you do is swim in money to tell John and Jane Q Public to find a counselor in your area?" He said yes. Then I began telling him about my problems and he said "well maybe you need to do what the servicer is telling you to do." I asked him.....sign a loan instrument for $148,000 with the interest rate escalating 2% every year until 2017 and being paid in full in 2041 when I am 90 on a house worth about $57, you think that a good investment and would you listen to that advice? Then I said well maybe the media would be interested to know about this HAMP program at first he said well you have that right and I confirmed that I had that right and then the guy started coming around. He got my loan number and asked me to call him today at 2 pm. I called and his voice mail says he is a financial management company and HOPE. I adjusted my lunch time because he is in Arizona to meet the time change and after all that…..Nick didn’t answer and I haven’t heard from him even after leaving voice messages and phone numbers……no Nick and no HAMP.

Lastly, then I called Fanniemae, the entity who has my loan and of course when I explained my dilemma I was escalated up to a person who was not in but I was told he had to return my call within 24 hours. Again 70 billion dollars is being spent to fund an onion program with so many layers of skin that there is nothing going to the people? Anyway, I told Fanniemae that my situation is serious and I was told by the IRS....the lady read the description to me.....HAMP was a welfare program put in place by the President to assist people having serious mortgage problems.....that be me. I told them about my calculations and that I qualify and as mentioned before I was told to leave a message with a person (no name no accountability) who would contact me in a couple of days. Again, 70 billion tax dollars and this kind of response time? I am requesting that Fanniemae except me in the HAMP program to help forgive my arrearages so I could move forward in my life and in my home. So I am supposed to be hearing from that 24 hour guy today. So far nothing!

This reminds me of the homeland security office when Katrina hit……money laundering companies not real only set in place to benefit the corporation and not the people. This is shameful because I believe that the President had every good intention to help homeowner and not further the shoddy practices of these mortgage company…..but my experience tells me that this all that is happening. I feel so let down with no where to turn and the mortgage company is attempting to blackmail me into another bad loan…..tell who is here is help the people……especially after spending 70 billion. America the Land of the Beautiful and Home of the Free…..however I must be an ugly duckling…...nothing is free except bail out money to the corporations…...and nothing for the people.

What a life. Anyway, more to come I'm sure. I have more I can tell you but I'm sure you can't take anymore at this either.

Alexis Jones, Cleveland, OH 216-326-4590

I have been with EMC for almost 4 years now. In 2008 we were modified to a better rate that was supposed to be locked in for the life of the loan. We also filed bankruptcy this year. In June 2009 my husband was laid off from his job. I called EMC to explain our situation, we were put on a payment plan at about $890/month, we were told to pay as we could. We were unable to pay until my husband was re-employed in August 2009, I then called EMC again, this time the representative suggested that we try for the Making Home Affordable program, and that our trial payments would start on October 1st 2009. We paid October, November trial payments. December we were late, I kept calling to let them know we were working on getting it in. Sure you still have time they would say. They let us think that we still had time until the middle of January when we did make a payment. As soon as they recieved our payment, we were denied the Making Home Affordable program due to late payment this was dated January 31st, 2010. After a little time goes by we get a letter in the mail that was in regards to the Making home affordable program, it stated that we still needed to send in other paperwork otherwise our file will be closed within 30 days, this letter was dated January 31st, 2010. I called, they said no you were denied. They now said that we were 7months behind and owed nearly $9000.00 that we would have to pay otherwise face foreclosure. Some reps said there was nothing they could do for us, others said I would have to pay it up front, I was referred to NACA to see if they could help us, then I was told that a note was sent to the supervisor Laura to ask if we could continue on with our originally modified payments from 2008, and place the amount that is in arrears onto the end of the loan, I was told to call back and find out if it had been approved or not, then I was told that we could not get it done, then I was told that we were never on the Making Home Affordable program to begin with, then I was told to try and write another hardship letter and send it in to see if they would reconsider opening up my Making Home Affordable claim again. With all that said, I called again and spoke with Melvia this time, she was able to put us on a repayment plan for the next 9 months in the amount of $1619.38, a very steep jump from our regular $1100 payments. So shortly after I get a call from the negotiator, saying that he is working on my making home affordable file and he needed me to fax over my tax returns. I faxed them over, he said no that wouldn't work that I would now have to fill out a form for them to request our tax returns from the IRS.Also, I asked if we should be sticking to our repayment plan or should we go back to making our originally set trial payments, he said the original. I sent this in the same day. I have not heard from the negotiator since then, I have been calling, no answer. So, I called their 800 number and I asked about reverting back to the original payment plan since I was back under review for the Making home affordable program. They acted as though I was speaking Chinese, they also said that I would have to continue making the $1619.38 payment because thats the latest that has been set. But this is supposed to be a repayment plan amount, my trial payment amount was around $1200.00. Also, I checked my credit report the other day and I see that EMC mortgage was discharged through our Chapter 7 bankruptcy, owing $0.00 on it, they haven't been reporting our payments, it looks as though the loan has been cleared, we are still making this ridiculous balloon payments(struggling) and yet our credit report states $0.00! as being owed. To make things worst I am not sure if they are applying our payments to our taxes, because I see that our house is under tax sale since May 2008. Please help us! Help us! These people are crooks!

Are everywhere!

There are class actions against EMC and other banks. read more about EMC cases here:

and to really understand the longstanding complaints of what's been going on out there;

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