SLADE COLUMN: Deadline coming for free foreclosure review

If your home was subject to foreclosure proceedings in 2009 or 2010, there's a good chance you are eligible for a free, federally supervised review to see if there were any errors or misrepresentations for which you should be compensated.

If you were involved in a foreclosure, you're probably tired of dealing with paperwork, but it's been well-reported that some banks made lots of mistakes and generally handled things badly as they plowed through an avalanche of foreclosures.

This is a free chance to see if your foreclosure was handled correctly. No tax money is involved.

There is an important deadline: Review forms must be submitted by Dec. 31

The whole thing is part of a legal settlement the federal government reached with a group of 14 loan servicers last year that created the Independent Foreclosure Review.

The website for the review process offers some examples of foreclosure problems that might result in compensation from the loan servicers. For example: “You were doing everything the (loan) modification agreement required, but the foreclosure sale still happened.”

Many eligible homeowners, or former homeowners, were notified about the review process last year and received forms to submit. If you didn't get a form, you may still be eligible, and if you did get a form and lost it, you can get another.

The main criteria for the free review are: The property involved must be (or had been) your residence and was in some stage of the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010, and your loan was serviced by one of the companies involved in the settlement.

The federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency offers the following examples of foreclosure practices that may result in compensation, ranging from $500 to $125,000:

Foreclosing on a borrower in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Foreclosing on a borrower who was not in default on the mortgage.

Failing to convert a qualified borrower to a permanent modification after successful completion of a written modified payment plan that was supposed to lead to permanent modification.

Foreclosing on a borrower prior to expiration of a written modified payment plan that leads to permanent modification while the borrower was performing all requirements of the written plan.

Denying a borrower's loan modification application that should have been approved.

Failing to offer loan modification options as required by an applicable program.

Giving a borrower a loan modification with a higher interest rate than should have been charged under the relevant loan modification program.

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Foreclosing on a borrower in violation of federal bankruptcy laws.

Not providing a borrower with proper notification during the foreclosure process.

Committing errors that did not result in foreclosure but resulted in other financial injury.

The deadline to apply for the review has been extended several times due to lackluster response from eligible homeowners.

The review process is among a number of mortgage-related settlements and initiatives that may have caused some confusion among people who are struggling with financial hardship.

The review doesn't conflict with other public or private programs involving loan modifications for foreclosure-related complaints. And it doesn't cost you anything except more time.

The review form mostly consists of checking off “yes” or “no” questions.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.