The Right Way

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Apr 242015
 

fraud handcuffs close upThis morning’s news that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating Quicken Loans for mortgage fraud is very disturbing. There’s a right way to approve and close mortgage loans; Quicken Loans allegedly chose the wrong way.

I understand the pressure to choose the wrong way: I’m always hearing people, usually a real estate agent, but occasionally a prospective client, telling me, “Why can’t you do it? The other mortgage guy can do it!” I don’t bow to that kind of pressure; I never have. I understood a long time ago that to create a long-term career there’s no such thing as cutting corners just to close a loan and earn a commission check. There is only The Right Way to originate and close mortgage loans.    2006MortgageFraudFBIWarning

I’m proud of my over 25 years as a Mortgage Professional—and now as a Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator—where I have walked away from situations that I was uncomfortable with. I always had the long-term view; Quicken Loans, as the name implies, allegedly had a shorter-term view of their business model.

And that’s a shame, too, because that kind of behavior stains the reputation of Mortgage Professionals everywhere. Trust is literally our only currency and the behavior of rogue mortgage people and companies who bend the rules, flout the rules and, worst of all, commit blatant mortgage fraud, erode the value of that currency.

Here’s the thing: I learned very early on that, if you study and learn Underwriting guidelines, if you stay current with those guidelines, you can actually help your clients with mortgage financing solutions by OBEYING THE RULES! There are many areas of those guidelines that—in the hands of a capable, honest, ethical and dedicated mortgage professional—will allow many consumers to obtain mortgage financing legitimately. But it requires hard work. That’s The Right Way.

BankerGhoulWhen I hear of mortgage fraud the two words that come to my mind are “greed” and “lazy.” Greed drives the engine to get a loan done at any cost—look at the sub-prime disaster, and now this alleged debacle with Quicken Loans.

Lazy doesn’t drive anything, at all, except a person’s desire to get a result without having to work very hard for it.

For my part, I’ll continue to work hard and choose The Right Way.

Do you have questions?  Click on ASK TREVOR and I’ll respond to any and all inquiries, even if you’re not buying a home in New York State.

Check out my Trulia profile HERE

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Find me on TWITTER: @tcurranmortgage

Happy House Hunting!

First-Time Buyer Tax Credit Fraud: Get $8,000, GO TO JAIL

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Sep 052009
 

The IRS is closely watching the First-Time Buyer Tax Credit program for fraud.  I’m glad they are.  I have personally heard of two situations where people have collected $8,000 under the program and they have not yet purchased homes.  In one of those instances, I was told that 3 people in one family received the credits—totalling $24,000—and they had not yet purchased a home, were planning to, and were told by their tax person that, “If you don’t buy the house by the deadline you just have to repay it.”

I can’t imagine why anyone would think a stimulus program allows receipt of the stimulus money without actually undertaking the stimulus activity: BUYING THE HOUSE!

 

Here’s an excerpt from the IRS press release and a link to the IRS site for more information:

 

“The Internal Revenue Service today announced its first successful prosecution related to fraud involving the first-time homebuyer credit and warned taxpayers to beware of this type of scheme.

On Thursday July 23, 2009, a Jacksonville, Fla.-tax preparer, James Otto Price III, pled guilty to falsely claiming the first-time homebuyer credit on a client’s federal tax return. Price faces the possibility of up to three years in jail, a fine of as much as $250,000, or both.

To date, the IRS has executed seven search warrants and currently has 24 open criminal investigations in pursuit of potential instances of fraud involving the credit. The agency has a number of sophisticated computer screening tools to quickly identify returns that may contain fraudulent claims for the first-time homebuyer credit.

‘We will vigorously pursue anyone who falsely tries to claim this or any other tax credit or deduction,’ said Eileen Mayer, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. ‘The penalties for tax fraud are steep. Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who promises to get them a big refund.'”

IRS Warns Taxpayers To Beware Of First-Time Buyer Credit Fraud

I’m Going To Be Sick

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Jun 072009
 

The truth comes out, and I am so disgusted by it that I literally want to vomit. I knew there were shenanigans going on back in the day—I watched my clients evaporate before my eyes when I told them they could get a 30yr Fixed Rate loan if they only purchased a cheaper home. Those clients went elsewhere for their mortgage financing, preferring to “drink the koolaid” with mortgage “professionals” peddling loans that were affordable for about the first fifteen minutes after closing.

As much as the “boom” was great for lots of people in the mortgage business, I watched my originations decrease. I made less money. I started writing tcurranmortgage.com as a way to maybe, possibly, sorta-kinda, hold on to clients by demonstrating more about who I was as an originator and how I really had their best interests in mind. I guess I had some vague hope that the clients would read my blog, come to realize they were being bamboozled by the “other mortgage person” and stick with me. They didn’t. (It’s okay, I sleep very well at night)

Little did I realize then—I guess I am that naive—the kinds of officially sanctioned shenanigans going on at companies like Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Read more about it in today’s NYTimes.com article linked HERE.

You might want to be sick while you read.

Excuse me…I think I’m going to be ill…

Mortgage Modification Murder: Homeowner Beware!!!

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Apr 232009
 

I received a call yesterday at our office from a homeowner in Virginia. He was looking for some kind of FHA mortgage modification company and found us instead in his Google Search. Our company is not licensed in Virginia; neither do we do mortgage modifications. We just do plain old-fashioned mortgage originations, helping people buy homes and doing some refinance work, too.

I spent a few minutes with this gentleman on the phone cautioning him against mortgage modification fraudsters. I told him about the many scams being perpetrated by modification companies seeking to take money from unwitting homeowners while delivering zero satisfaction or assistance. I pointed him instead to the HUD.gov website to seek out a mortgage counsellor who might better assist him with his dilemma. I told him, too, that an attorney was probably his best option.

One of our Loan Officers told us of a man he met who is losing his home to foreclosure. A little over a year ago this man had a perfect mortgage payment history. For whatever reason, he decided he needed to modify his mortgage. He hired one of these mortgage modification murderers and paid thousands of dollars in fees to the fraudster. The crooked scam-artist told the man to stop paying his mortgage; upon the advice of his paid-professional-mortgage-modification-expert, the man did indeed cease paying his mortgage.

There was no modification; no call was ever made the the Lender to negotiate on the homeowner’s behalf. Money was stolen from this man and his family; now they are losing their home to foreclosure. The lowlife scam artist has committed, IMHO, financial “murder.” The crook has taken not only this man’s hard-earned cash, but caused the loss of a home and a substantial financial asset. Disgusting.

Homeowners beware. Too many of you who I speak to or hear of are doing exactly what too many of you did during the boom years: you’re following a dangerous path, ignoring the advice of seasoned professionals, and you’re allowing yourselves to be duped out of your homes the same way many of you allowed yourselves to be duped into bad mortgage loans.

If you feel you need help modifying your mortgage, contact your Lender directly. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, TRY again. If you don’t have the time for that because you are busy working hard to pay your mortgage and your bills, then hire an attorney. Pay your attorney a retainer fee and let a licensed legal professional work on your behalf. If you don’t have an attorney, get a referral from family or friends, or consult your local bar association. You can find local help here, on the American Bar Association website.

President Obama and Congress have provided Homeowners with an opportunity to refinance or modify as part of the 2009 Stimulus Package. Find United States Government help here: Making Home Affordable.

A list of HUD Approved mortgage counsellors can be found here: Foreclosure Avoidance Counselling

I welcome Comments for all my blog entries. I will be happy to review and approve all legitimate comments provided by readers of tcurranmortgage.com. I do not permit unfettered access to comments for obvious reasons: mortgage spammers and their ilk. If you wish to Comment on any entry, please do so and I will quickly review and approve. Thanks for reading tcurranmortgage.com. Hope that helps!

They’re BACK. Mortgage Losers/Thieves/Lowlifes Return To the Industry

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Apr 182009
 

We’re seeing it. All those mortgage losers who put this industry and the economy in the toilet are returning to prey on consumers once again. They’re returning because opportunities abound to separate hard-working homeowners and homebuyers from their money.

We’re hearing of people getting back into the mortgage business after the long cold “winter” of 2007-2009 when business was hard to come by and only the brave and the bold stuck it out to continue hard-earned careers. These mortgage-professional-wannabees are coming back because low interest rates and a newfound sense of optimism are bringing buyers back and opening up homeowners’ minds to the idea of refinancing.

The Associated Press reported of a warning from Senator Charles Schumer about these mortgage losers. The Senator it seems is also aware of the return of these crooks looking to ripoff consumers. Read more HERE

More than ever when shopping for a mortgage the words “Buyer Beware” ring true. Look for those mortgage professionals with substantial experience and preferably those who you find through a referral from a friend or family member, or your tax professional or attorney. Searching the internet for a mortgage professional is, IMHO, a recipe for disaster. You’re likely to come across many alleged experts who only want to tell you what you want to hear just to get your business. Once they get you to the closing table, everything changes and you can watch your money evaporate from your wallet.

I’ve recently cautioned against working with non-FHA approved mortgage people. These are yet another class of mortgage lowlife who pretend they are allowed to originate FHA loans. Worse, they pretend to know “all about” FHA loans. I just spoke on the phone while writing this blog entry with a young man who told me how he encountered many such people who claimed they could approve him for an FHA loan on a Co-Op apartment purchase. He told me they all seemed very happy to want to separate him from his money for application fees and the like. He contacted me to ask about getting an FHA loan for a Co-Op. He seemed to know already that such a loan was not available, but thought it’s because FHA doesn’t insure Co-Op loans. In fact, FHA DOES indeed insure Co-Op loans (FHA is an insurance program; FHA doesn’t make the loan, they insure the Lender’s loan in the event of foreclosure). I explained this fact to him. The problem with FHA and Co-Op loans is there are no Lenders who provide such financing.

No conversation about mortgage lowlifes would be complete without a mention of those poor homeowners trying to do a loan modification. As I mentioned recently, there are many scams out there with alleged “loan modification experts” very willing to take thousands of dollars in fees from distressed homeowners while providing absolutely nothing in return: no modification, no saving of the house, nothing, nada, zilch. Many of these crooks are, in my opinion, former mortgage losers who have changed their crime tactics from putting unsuspecting people into terrible sub-prime loans. Now they seek to steal your money—and your home—by pretending to counsel you on modifying your loan. BUYER BEWARE.

If you truly feel you wish to modify your loan contact an attorney. Or do it yourself.

On a sidenote, I attended a job fair yesterday seeking to recruit salespeople for the company where I work. I met the recruiters from the FBI and asked them to please, “…hire more people today and arrest more mortgage brokers.” They laughed and asked what I do. “I’m a mortgage broker!” I replied. “Please, I’m serious,” I continued, “these people have destroyed my industry, please hire some good people today and go out and arrest more mortgage brokers.”

Postscript: To the young man who called for advice on FHA and the Co-Op loan: Thank you for your kind compliment about tcurranmortgage.com and thank you for stopping by to read my rantings!!!


I welcome Comments for all my blog entries. I will be happy to review and approve all legitimate comments provided by readers of tcurranmortgage.com. I do not permit unfettered access to comments for obvious reasons: mortgage spammers and their ilk. If you wish to Comment on any entry, please do so and I will quickly review and approve. Thanks for reading tcurranmortgage.com. Hope that helps!