Archive for ‘Sub-Prime Mortages’

September 29, 2008

A Pleasant Blast From the Past

by MullOverThis

Recently, I was tickled pink to encounter the concept of six degrees of separation, also known as it’s a small world after all, during a recent trip to New York City.  Alexandra Ditrolio, a producer for a SIRIUS radio network show Blog Bunker on Channel 110, contacted me to be a guest.  Of course, I was delighted to take an afternoon and talk about Obama, Palin, McCain and the issues of the day. 

The show was scheduled on the day the Lehman Bros/Merrill/AIG news dropped, so of course anticipated that we would have minimal discussion regarding the economy and an appropriate response to thwart another Great Depression.  I saw a barage of news teams from around the world on the way to the radio show right outside of the Lehman building.  Visualizing the immediate news presence drove home the reality of how serious the entire financial market  hit was by Lehman’s pending bankruptcy.  

So, I get to the radio station and meet Alexandra who was most gracious.  I assured Alexandra that I was quite familiar with radio, albeit non-political commentary, so I was not nervous or the like.  As I walked into the Blog Bunker’s studio, I stared amazingly at the host, Joe Salzone’s face.  I kept thinking, “you know this face from somewhere.”  Immediately, Joe and I spent a few seconds on a blast from the past to my first days on radio, when we were both on different programs at a much smaller local station.  Needless to say, I could not get over the fact that some Mulloverthis blog posts would cause Joe and I to re-unite for a few seconds on a historic day. 

So, do Mulloverthis a favor and tune into Joe’s show.  Check out the link below for more information.

 

 

 

http://www.sirius.com/indietalk

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September 16, 2008

LEHMAN BROTHERS, MERRILL, AND AIG

by MullOverThis

Lehman Brothers, one of the largest US investment banks, has filed for bankruptcy. 

http://www.cnbc.com/id/26708143?__source=SI_44423773_2864553976_1

http://www.cnbc.com/id/26717762?__source=SI_44790158_2864917666_1

AIG appears to be making some preventative efforts from seeing its corporate demise, although they issued a statement ensuring that AIG policy holders would have their policies honored.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=858289212

Merrill Lynch is has been acquired by Bank of America through a corporate buyout to save their “hide”. 

In a nutshell, Wall Street has seen better days.  Meanwhile McCain still speaks of a strong US economy, which may be necessary to avoid  chaotic impulsive consumer choices that could send the market into a greater frenzy. 

I hope Americans continue to observe the various Presidential nominee reactions, plans and efforts to respond to the major market trumps we are seeing take place in our national economy.  The economy is a crucial relevant issue, moreso than Palin allegedly using state funds to subsidize her moose shooting flight escapades.   Many Americans have already lost their homes due to foreclosures, and the credit crunch has crippled others from meeting everyday needs.

Hopefully, we will truly be a kinder, gentler nation.  This is a time when those that have, should give to those that don’t have.  Not just through charitable donations where overhead may conveniently absorb much of what is given, but also by helping those who we see each day around us who we know are suffering and may not qualify for systematic assistance.  Many single working people who have been unemployed, or cannot pay student loans often slip through the cracks.  Families who may have lost the income of a spouse through sickness, or layoffs, may be feeling the “crunch” right now. 

I firmly believe we reap what we sow.  Although many are suffering because of good choices gone wrong, fraud, or bad judgment, the end result is that many are suffering.  So now is a good time for people to be kinder and more helpful to their own family, friends, colleagues, and community through giving money, skills, time and prayers for those who need to endure these hard times.

August 19, 2008

HOW TO EXTERMINATE AUTOMATED/RUDE CUSTOMER SERVICE/COLLECTIONS PESTS

by MullOverThis

This one, my friends, is solely from my personal experiences or observations.  Enjoy!

I have a friend who recently went to lease an apartment in a brand new development.  She has worked full-time and gone to school (as a single mother) since I have known her.  Upon reviewing her credit history, the real estate agent told her she was ineligible.  My friend learned that for the past couple of years, some woman on the other side of the country stole her identity, purchased two properties in her name, and was severely delinquent in payments. 

Another friend of mine began to co-sign as a borrower for a re-finance for a family member to help save a family home from foreclosure.  Upon further consideration, she decided to cancel the deal within the allotted three business days.  The loan officer ignored receipt of the cancellation notice to “push the deal through” so he would make his commission.  My girlfriend learned of the cancellation when a foreclosure notice was stamped on the front of the property that she currently owns and lives in.  She had to hire an attorney and go to court to sue the foreclosing bank.  The judge informed her that it may take a couple of years–even with court documents–to get this foreclosure off of her record.

I have a very common name.  There are people with my first and surname in every city.  A major reputable credit card company once harassed me–called my home for about 6 months straight at 8:28 am every single morning–for payment on an account I never had.  I spoke with the customer service representatives repeatedly and explained I had the same name, but never had an account with this company.  Because there are so many crooks, the collection agents did not believe me, promised to keep calling until I paid the bill, and were downright nasty. 

Some helpful advice if you ever get caught up with any similar situations:

If you are dealing with identity theft, get an attorney.  File police reports and cooperate fully with authorities, even if you discover someone you know is the culprit.  It may take years for a full investigation to reveal that you did not open accounts, make purchases, or conduct business in a fraudulent manner.  This may affect your ability to conduct business based upon your own personal credit for some time.  But, a dispute on record makes a huge difference and lends credibility towards your story which better be the truth. 

Keep records of all transactions you make with your credit accounts or any dealings pertaining to major consumer purchases/your credit.  Unfortunately, crooks are working from sun up, til sun down thinking of new ways to become better crooks.  When dealing with anyone from a particular financial institution, always know who you are speaking with and their proper employee identification  (if other than a name), the date, time and notes pertaining to your call/their call.  When my girlfriend sent in her cancellation notice, she did it with documentable proof by the post office, as well as had a fax confirmation.  Had she not had any credible records, the loan officer would still be ignoring cancellation notices.  He was IMMEDIATELY terminated by the re-finance company. My girlfriend’s family member is facing criminal charges because she permitted the loan to be processed knowing that my girlfriend canceled the re-finance.

If you have customer service challenges with any service providers, stop and ask for their identification.  Note their names, date, time and content of discussion.  Let them know you are keeping a record.  Clearly state, again, your customer service concerns and ask them for a direct response.  Repeat their response and ask them, “is this your official response?”  Then ask for a customer service supervisor.  When connected to the supervisor, ask for a direct line to reach him so that you may call back (customer service agents will connect a call to their buddy in the next cubicle if they know they messed up or want to block you from getting help).  Ask the supervisor for identification information, and let them know up front, you will be either commending him, or seeking further assistance from the corporate office, but you wanted to “go through” proper channels and provide him with an opportunity to rectify the situation first.  If you have a fake supervisor, chances are the call will be lost, or put on hold until you hang up because you are tired of holding.  When you are confident you have a real supervisor on the line, apprise him of your concerns.  Before you get specific, let the supervisor know exactly who you have spoken to, at what time, from what office, and the exact conversation.  This will be a good indication to the supervisor that if you have to go beyond him, you will have the exact records to report him as well.  Never be nasty, just be direct and authoritative.  If you do not get the resolve that you need, call the corporate office.  Get online information and ask for the customer relations or an executive vice president.  If writing, carbon copy everybody in the corporation from the President to the receptionist.  The corporate office should be your last step.  Rare circumstances will cause you to have to get additional advocacy in resolving your complaint.  If you must, contact your state attorney general with a complaint and ask them to make inquiries for you.  Contacting your local congresspersons, filing reports with the BBB and online consumer protection groups are also options.  Set up a free website or blog dedicated to complaints with the company.  In every step of the process, let the supervisor know what you are doing.  Leave a friendly message such as, “I just wanted to let you know, officially, that I have published your name and response online at (state the webpage/address) referencing the complaint I have with (state the company name and your contact information again).”  These tactics may take some work, but if you are not being handled justly, the time you may have to invest may just be worth the outcome.

Nagging bill collectors may call you because someone may have lived at your address before, someone may have the same name as you, or someone may have given your number fraudulently on an application.  Even if you owe a debt, know your rights.  There are still limits to what collection agencies can do to collect debts (which if you owe, you should pay or attempt to settle).  If you are an account holder with a collection agent, you must ask them to stop calling in writing.  If you do not have an account, state your position clearly and authoritatively when they call and ask to be removed from their call list.  Remember, people shirk and jerk bill collectors all day long so many of them won’t believe you.  Make it clear that you are not one of those people and will be removed, with or without their assistance, but would like them to respectfully put notes on the record that you do not want any further phone calls.  If the company ignores you, or keeps an automated system calling you every day, find out their customer service information. Contact someone, and if necessary, put a request in writing.  If you do not have an account with the harassing company, ask for a supervisor immediately.  State that you do not have an account, and do not give them any of your personal information.  Contact the corporate offices if necessary, and as a last resort, call your attorney general.  I have had my name removed from call lists within minutes by simply doing a reverse phone number search online, finding out the company name (one harrasser would not even let me know what company they kept calling from).  I also had incident involving an attorney from a mid-western state that handled collections for a creditor.  I called the attorney’s office and spoke with a managing partner.  I told them I would–and was perfectly capable of–taking it further, and had an illustrious plan to put them on blast for their illegal collection practices.  I received a sweet apology, was removed from the list, and called back the main harasser.  He was flabbergasted to hear my voice calling him back because he always called from a blocked number.  I informed him that I was removed, referenced his boss, and told him to have a great day. 

Although most of these people are hard-working people just doing their jobs, some of them enjoy the anonymity and take things over-board.  I have never had to go beyond my attorney general, and only had to file a complaint with the office once.  They were timely and you would have thought I was Queen Elizabeth by the time the company I had difficulty with got an inquiry and statement requesting the company’s explanation from the attorney general’s office. A corporate officer called me directly and asked me to never call my attorney general referencing the company again. I was given personal contact information for a corporate officer of a major fortune 100 US corporation.  The point: Don’t be intimidated when you know you are not being heard, just put a stop to it! Harassing the harassers usually works.

Moderator’s Note:  I almost forgot a real good one.  If by chance you have a cell phone with a recording function or a digital recorder, and you get routine calls from an out-of-control service contract/collection representative, be nice as your favorite pie and tape the conversation.  Once you know you have the caller’s inappropriate personality while conducting business recorded, ask her to hold on for one second.  Rewind and play the recording.  Ask her, “how do you think this is going to sound on CNN (or pick your network of choice)?  I think you’d better hand my account over to your manager from now on.”

January 1, 2008

HELP IS ON THE WAY: THE MORTGAGE FORGIVENESS DEBT RELIEF ACT of 2007

by MullOverThis

The President has signed a bill passed by the US Congress which offers debt relief to homeowners who may need to re-finance their mortgages.  Although President Bush recognizes the need for a more expansive overhaul to the housing market, this legislation is at least a beginning to give homeowners struggling to keep up with payments options to re-finance and not be penalized as heavily in taxes for canceled mortgage debt.  According to the White House, “we helped assemble a private sector group of lenders, loan servicers, investors, and mortgage counselors called the HOPE NOW Alliance. This group has agreed on a set of industry-wide standards to help those with sub-prime loans refinance or modify their mortgages, so more families can stay in their homes. We helped assemble a private sector group of lenders, loan servicers, investors, and mortgage counselors called the HOPE NOW Alliance. This group has agreed on a set of industry-wide standards to help those with sub-prime loans refinance or modify their mortgages, so more families can stay in their homes.”   This, along with a few drops in the market index is good news but must not be the last stop. Gratis, and keep on working to empower homeowners to keep their homes during this downturn.

For White House FACT SHEET click link:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/12/20071220-6.html

For White House PRESS RELEASE click link:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/12/20071220-3.html