Vail Daily column: Millions are unclaimed by those involved in foreclosures
If you were (or still are) a homeowner whose home was in any stage of foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2013, listen up. If your loan was serviced by (meaning you made your payments to) Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Citi Financial or Citi Mortgage, Countrywide, GMC, Everbank, EMC, Goldman Sachs, HFC, HSB, Litton, Met Life, Morgan Stanley, National City, PNC, Saxon Mortgage, Sovereign Bank, SunTrust, US Bank, Wachovia, WAMU, Wells Fargo or Wilshire Credit, then you might have unclaimed cash waiting from a few hundred dollars to $125,000.
During that period, over 4 million homeowners were in some stage of foreclosure with the above mortgage companies. Many were treated unfairly, and while part of the problem was there was no precedent for dealing with such a flood of foreclosures that backlogged the system for months, and in some cases years, there is no question that many people were denied their legal rights to try and keep their homes. The government started a review process to try and right the wrongs that were done, and each homeowner in any stage of foreclosure was invited to send in their story with the promise that if their complaint were justified, then they would be compensated to some degree.
A few million people did apply, but not surprisingly the facts of these cases were vague, and often times records were missing and circumstances debatable. It soon became clear that something else had to be done or the process would drag on for decades.
In January of 2013, it was decided that each customer of the above companies who was in some level of foreclosure would received a check regardless of whether they had applied for relief or not. In the spring of 2013, over 4 million checks for about 3.6 billion were mailed out, in many cases to the last known mailing address of the borrower (which well could have been the home that was lost to foreclosure).
Currently there are reportedly about 600,000 of those checks that have never been cashed. As a result, the program administrator is going to re-issue those checks between now and early May. If you think you are eligible but never got a check, you should go to http://www.federalreserve.gov and under the consumer info tab you should find a discussion of this subject. There you will find more info to determine if you should have gotten a check.
What is unfortunate about this settlement is that it glaringly left many borrowers out who were wronged by the federal government. I know of one local resident who was treated pretty unfairly when the bank that was servicing his loan was taken over by the FDIC. Because the feds excluded those banks from this settlement, he did not get a dime.
Another source of overlooked money by those who actually lost their homes to foreclosure is at the county public trustees offices across the country. When a home is sold at auction by the public trustee, there are occasions it can sell for more than what is owed. The balance (or overage) is supposed to be returned to the original borrower who lost the home.
The public trustee is then supposed to make every effort to find the original borrower and give them the money. However, in the turmoil of losing one’s home, forwarding addresses are often expired and phone numbers change or people move. Often times there is no way to contact people and eventually the unclaimed funds revert to the county treasury.
If you did lose your home to foreclosure and never checked to see what it sold for, you might want to check to see if you are due any money, particularly if you have moved several times since. Many counties have such information online. If your foreclosure was in Eagle County, you can to http://www.eaglecounty.us and find the public trustee page and search the foreclosure data base for your records. Under the sale information if there is a amount showing in the overbid field, you may be entitled to that money.
Chris Neuswanger is a mortgage loan originator with Macro Financial Group in Avon and may be reached at 970-748-0342. He welcomes mortgage related inquiries from readers. Find his blog and a collection of his columns at http://www.mtnmortgageguy.com.