With some financial help from family, and over a year of working with Citi, just completed the settlement of our HELOC for $30,000. We owed about $185,000. So that’s about a 15% settlement. Received a lien release document this weekend from our county clerk/recorder. I thought I would post our steps as well as names and numbers for anyone in a similar situation. Thanks so very much to this forum and good luck to everyone out there trying to save their home.
Location: Sacramento, CA
1st: Bank of America/Countrywide $130,000 @ 4.75%
2nd: CitiMortgage $185,000 @ Variable APR
BPO by CitiMortgage on 12/2009 (This value is extremely important – I’ll explain later): $160,000
More realistic value (Based on County Accessor): $140,000
December 2008: With a pending salary reduction (about 15%) and declining home value (once $415k), started looking into modification on HELOC. Found instructions on Citi’s site and sent in hardship application. Waited…..
Dec 08 – May 2009: After faxing in my documents about 4 times, I was finally notified that my application was with Brandi Grant and that I should work with her directly. I tried contacting her from mid March 09 to the beginning of May via email and phone with no luck. 480-753-2600 X52784 (Arizona) firstname.lastname@example.org
May 09 – June 09 : Stumbled across loansafe and found the email@example.com. Emailed my situation and got a call from Sergio (Executive Response Team) the same day. Had me fax my docs to 480-753-7852. Said there was a company wide hold on all HELOC and 2nd mortgage modifications. A few weeks went by and eventually he gave me an option to modify the loan @ 2% for the life of the loan (P/I) . I thought that sounded great. It would still be a little tough to handle the payment due to the high balance but at least it was fixed for life. I thought we were done but as it turned out since my current monthly interest only payment was less than the 2% offer, the investor wouldn't sign off. Got a formal letter in the mail saying my modification request was denied. I was told to try again later.
June 2009 – January 2010 (Stopped paying HELOC): It was in early Nov 2009, I started reading loansafe posts regarding settling with Citimortgage. Emailed firstname.lastname@example.org and a rep named Gary Taylor (Short Sale Department) called and left me a VM. He left this number 800 926-9783 X52968 but when I called it got me nowhere. Did some research and tried 1-866-255-3901 X52968 and it worked. Started working with him initially. He asked me to fax in (866-714-9031) a hardship app, financials, and hardship letter with settlement offer. Offered approx 5% ($10, 000). This was the most we had. It meant that if the settlement was approved we would go to CarMax and sell our primary vehicle for cash. Things moved pretty quickly after. An internal BPO was done and I was assigned a settlement negotiator. I was very hesitant on getting involved with the appraisal, but looking back I really should have provided my county assessment documentation which valued the home at about $140K. The BPO was the basis for the settlement negotiation from there on. It didn’t matter what I provided CitiMortgage after, they always would refer back to his BPO value to determine how much equity was in our home. If it would have come in lower, our settlement would have been lower. In the meantime Citi collections was calling me constantly asking for payment on my late account. They said I was over 180 days late and if I didn’t make at least 1 payment, my account would be sent to the Recovery Department and it would be harder to settle. At this point I figured, if they are serious about working with us, they’ll help us whether we make a payment or not. Finally got a call from the negotiator (Rosanna Marquez 866-422-0658 X20366) saying that my $10,000 offer was too low. She said the lowest they could go would be $30,000. I asked if I could counteroffer (Maybe $15K) since that was way more than we had. She said no. That is the lowest they would accept – some negotiation. I told her thank you and mentioned that CitiMortgage will have a very hard time recovering any money after the house forecloses because their valuation was too high. Same day I got a call from Citi Loss Mitigation asking for 1 month payment. Told them we will not be making anymore payments. Stopped paying the 1st (B of A/ Countrywide) as well and began looking into moving out. Advised by a lawyer that a Chapter 7 would be the best option for us. It would allow us to give up the house and cancel out some other debt we had accumulated. A Chapter 13 w/ lien strip was not an option due to the fact there was a little equity in the home after our 1st mortgage received sale proceeds.
March 2010 – So my wife and I were in save mode. Every cent that was meant for the 1st or 2nd was stored away. We figured we could save maybe $15K before we had to leave. We thought that would be plenty for a place to rent, bankruptcy court costs, and emergencies. About a week ago we ran our situation by some family members. Much to our disbelief they were willing to help get us to $30K. Quickly called Rosana and asked if the offer was still on the table. Said yes, asked me to fax two month’s bank statements and 1st mortgage payoff demand statement to 866-714-4162. Got a secure email in the next few days with payoff instructions. Email details below:
This letter serves as CitiMortgage, Inc.' s (CMI) authorization and acceptance of a short payoff on the above referenced account, in the amount of $30,000. This amount is valid through XX/XX/XXXX. Certified funds or bank wire must be received on or before XX/XX/XXXX. Upon receipt of the bank wire, CMI will release its mortgage on the property. Any funds held in CMI's Escrow/Impound Account and/or insurance claim proceeds will be considered the property of CMI and will be applied towards our loss.
Also included a document regarding 1099C since debt being cancelled is more than $600. We’ll worry about that during tax time. Should be okay under “The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation”