Pleading in person for homes - Hundreds of Minnesotans signed up for face-to-face meetings with Wells Fargo to try to save their homes.
Highights 2/17/10 - About 400 Wells and Wachovia customers showed up and there were about 100 Wells loan modification folks.
This is the fifth multiday workshop that Wells Fargo has put on since September. About half of the 6,300 homeowners in Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta and Baltimore received a workout option either the day of the workshop or shortly after, according to the bank.
Wells Fargo sent out 4,000 letters to Twin Cities-area homeowners like Hayes, who are at least 60 days behind on their payments. Ohayon expects about half of the 800 or so homeowners anticipated at the event to walk away with a solution. The bank came to Minnesota, a state with a relatively healthy housing market compared with states such as Michigan, Florida and Nevada, because "it's an important market for us," Ohayon said. "We have a number of our employees who are in this market." Events are scheduled in Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., as well as Miami later this year.
Housing counselors from area nonprofits are also on hand to assist homeowners who have loans from other lenders.
As of Jan. 31, Wells Fargo had 137,128 active loan modifications in place. Of those, 17,652 were permanent modifications -- more than double the number of permanent modifications made by the end of December. More than 7,500 permanent modifications are also pending.
The bank defends its record, noting in the past four months, it has initiated three mortgage modifications for every foreclosure proceeding. It completed more than 350,000 non-HAMP modifications last year.
Wells Fargo didn't allow reporters to witness the loan modification process, citing privacy concerns. But Kanetha Milo, a loan adjuster specialist from Fort Mill, S.C., who has worked at each of the five workshops, was allowed to give an account of her day.
By 1:30 she had met with six homeowners and was able to arrange a forbearance plan for one individual and loan modifications for three. She sent the other two borrowers, who are not behind on payments, into a second review process. Milo is allowed to make decisions only on loans that are 60 days past due, she explained.
Ohayon said Wells Fargo's primary goal is to keep homeowners in their property. If they can't make a loan affordable, or there isn't enough income to make a modification work, a payment moratorium is considered. If staying in the home is impossible, "liquidation" options such as a short sale (when a home is sold for less than the mortgage on the property) or a deed in lieu of foreclosure (when a homeowner transfers the title to the lender, who cancels the loan) are possible.
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Pleading in person for homes | StarTribune.com