Here are some positive emails about my coverage of attempts by Countrywide to modify troubled mortgages. (FYI: Bank of America now owns Countrywide)
"Thank you for your answers to the questions from the anchors voicing inaccuracies. In doing so, you knocked down a lot of misperceptions. This foreclosure story really is about the unemployed and the 90% of people who want to stay in their homes. Foreclosure is a sign of failure. Foreclosure is also the first thing that someone thinks about these days in this troubled economy. For the first time since 1985, I got laid off in November. Like many other homeowners, my first thought was…where will I get the money to pay the mortgage?...Sure, there are people scamming the system and, like the Countrywide interviewee said, those with second homes. But still, most people do not want to go through the suffering."
From Sharon G:
"Great piece on Countrywide. Did the person you interviewed say 16 percent or 60 percent of the people in foreclosure had multiple properties? (note from Jane: Countrywide said 60 percent of foreclosures involving pay option ARMs are with people who own multiple properties.) The other interesting thing was that some people just wanted to get out. The cost of home ownership is much more than just the mortgage. It's taxes, utilities, maintenance, and some people really just can't afford it. They were lured in by the ever increasing home prices and the ability to refi and take out more money to live and spend at a level above what they could afford based on income. Keep up the great reporting."
From Eric B:
"It's great to know about the effort by Countrywide. They service my mortgage and although I'm not one of the ones in trouble, I'm happy to know I'm helping to support a company of this caliber that is looking out for the greater good. I pray they have the wisdom to discern between the 'needy' and the 'greedy'."
Jason J. warns of more pain to come:
"By the end of 08 there will be $250 billion in ARMs that will adjust and between '09 and 2010 another $700 billion in ARMS will adjust. The focus has been on helping those with an immediate need. But the reality is that if we don't help the borrowers that are going to adjust that currently are making their payments, but soon will not be able to, the housing market is going to fall farther on its face..."
Moe Bedard of Loansafe.org sent me a survey the site did on customer service by mortgage lenders:
"Please help expose (Countrywide's) BS. It looks great on TV, but reality is far from what it appears...Countrywide Home Loans ranks the lowest among primary mortgage servicers with a disapproval rating from homeowners of 77.6%..."
From Ken S. responded to comments by Countrywide's Steve Bailey that the short sale market invites people to game the system :
"How can anyone 'game' a short sale? On Sept 3, I made an solid offer on a vacant home at the realtor's price. The Countrywide 'loss mitigator' was to approve or counter within 2 to 3 weeks. Well past the 3 weeks, I was suddenly told it would be weeks or months before the property would be processed. My offer was within about 13 percent of all that was owed on the property. The house remains vacant, costs are adding up and foreclosure cost will far exceed 13 percent. Seems to me that it's much more likely Countrywide or others are 'gaming' the taxpayers..."
AND THE FUNNY
This email from Dan W. made me laugh:
"Wonders never cease - they let you into Countrywide! What's next? I'll guess we'll find out that Perez Hilton is straight."
Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email firstname.lastname@example.org