May 13, 2013 |
It's common in some circles nowadays to scoff at the very notion of retirement. Years after the 2008 financial crisis, unemployment lingers at painful levels. Who can think of voluntarily giving up a job? But time is relentless. Unless you plan to work till you drop and your mind and body cooperate, retirement will one day be upon you, ready or not. If you haven't started planning, there's no time better than now. Should you seek professional advice? That's your choice. But you might want to recall other circumstances when you've willingly sought expert counsel - say, a rattle in your car or your knee - and ask how ensuring a secure retirement compares in importance.
May 12, 2013
White House wing evacuated WASHINGTON - Reporters and photographers were evacuated briefly from the West Wing of the White House early Saturday because of smoke from an overheated transformer in a mechanical room. President Obama and his family were not affected by the incident, according to the White House. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said that about 7 a.m., smoke was seen coming from a mechanical room closet on the first floor. Journalists and others were evacuated out of "an abundance of caution" and the city fire department was called, he said.
May 12, 2013 |
Considering the hoops that too many borrowers have to go through to obtain mortgage modifications, the news from the Treasury Department wasn't encouraging. In an April 24 report to Congress, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, reported that homeowners whose mortgages had been modified under the federal Home Affordable Mortgage Program were defaulting "at an alarming rate. " Data from the Treasury Department, which oversees HAMP, showed that the longer a homeowner remained in the program, the more likely he or she was to re-default out of the program.
May 7, 2013 |
ALBANY, N.Y . - New York's attorney general yesterday accused Wells Fargo and Bank of America of violating the terms of last year's national mortgage settlement by failing to process hundreds of refinancing requests promptly. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has notified the national monitoring committee established to enforce the five-bank agreement, citing complaints of 210 prompt-processing violations by Wells Fargo and 129 by Bank of America. If the committee defers taking action, Schneiderman said he will sue for compliance.
May 2, 2013 |
Admitting that he tricked owners of time-shares into believing he could get them out of their mortgage contracts when he really couldn't, Francis Santore, 53, pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to fraud and conspiring to commit fraud. The case, before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden, is part of a larger case brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office involving an alleged time-share resale scam conducted by the Vacation Ownership Group. Also known as VO Group L.L.C., the company had offices in Egg Harbor Township and Mays Landing, N.J., according to the indictment.
April 11, 2013
A Williamstown man was accused of defrauding mortgage lenders and the government by acting as a straw buyer in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud conspiracy involving $20 million in loans and 100 houses, most of them in Philadelphia, the U.S. Attorney's office in Philadelphia said Tuesday. According to federal documents, Mark Murphy, 47, allowed his identity to be used, along with false information about him, including false pay records, to qualify and receive a $324,000 loan on a West Philadelphia property.
March 12, 2013
If there was an argument for letting lenders and mortgage servicers operate free of consumer-minded oversight, it is blown away by news of illegal foreclosures against 700 active-duty military personnel. In 2009 and 2010, while service men and women were putting their lives on the line for their country, their country was looking the other way as banks and mortgage servicers stole their homes. The outrageous foreclosures went ahead even though these members of the military were current on their mortgage payments, according to a New York Times report.
March 2, 2013 |
Thirteen mortgage servicers will pay a total of $9.3 billion to settle federal complaints over foreclosure-processing and loan-servicing methods. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve announced the final settlement Thursday as amendments to enforcement actions against the 13. Covered by the agreement are: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.
February 28, 2013 |
A Pottstown pastor was convicted Tuesday in a complicated mortgage scam in which he recruited members of the congregation to obtain $6 million in fraudulent loans from JP Morgan Chase Bank. Michael Wilkerson, pastor of New Millennium Life Restoration Fellowship; his wife, Joyce; and two others were charged in the scheme, which took place between 2006 and 2008. Michael Wilkerson, who had set up a business that "purported to be a real estate development company," would approach members who had good credit about acting as "straw purchasers" for several homes in Schwenksville, Montgomery County, and Glenmoore, Chester County, federal prosecutors said.
February 27, 2013
Q. I haven't gotten my property assessment in the mail yet. Should I be worried? A. Most homeowners who have gotten their assessments would call you lucky, but no, there's no reason to panic. The city's original mailing of assessments was so large, they had to break it up into different batches, and the last of those batches are still going out. If you don't get yours within the next 10 days or so, call to find out if there's a reason for delay. In some cases, the city may be sending an assessment to your mortgage company, if that's the address they have on file for you, though it's more usual that your mortgage company gets the tax bill, not the assessment.