I was recently in Bankruptcy Court in Pittsburgh on a Chapter 13 case. It was a difficult case, in which the client was over $20,000 behind on his primary mortgage. My client could afford to make his regular mortgage payment, but to pay that in addition to such a high percentage of arrears was too difficult for him.
He really needed a loan modification from his mortgage company, but they weren’t cooperating. I knew that the Bankruptcy Judge couldn’t force the mortgage company to modify the loan, but lo and behold, in the middle of our hearing, I caught the mortgage company’s lawyer in a whopper of a lie. Mind you, I don’t think that the lawyer lied, but he was merely misinformed by his client. He had been told that my client had NEVER contacted them to speak about a mortgage modification.
At that point, I merely pointed out to the Judge that my client had been keeping a log of all of his phone and fax communications with the mortgage company and he was averaging 2 to 3 phone calls per week over the past 3 months. (Hint: if you’re not calling your mortgage company that often, you probably won’t get anybody’s attention for a modification!).
What happened next was a nice victory. The Judge got mad at the mortgage lawyer and told him that an actual representative of the mortgage company, a-hem, Chase, had to appear at the next person, and never mind if he had to fly in from California.
So here are four ways that the supervision of a Bankruptcy Judge can help in getting your loan modified:
1) the Judge can order the mortgage company to provide records and to actually communicate with your client;
2) your lawyer can communicate with the mortgage company’s lawyer and help you in getting necessary information;
3) the Judge can approve the final loan modification pursuant to a court order, and
4) being in a Chapter 13 case forces you to make regular payments to the Trustee. This prevents you from falling even further behind on your mortgage loan. This helps you in a long run!
So, what happened in my case? Well, we’re still fighting with the mortgage company, trying to get a loan modification. Loan mods do happen, either through HAMP or traditional means, but they’re tough to get! Good luck to you if you’re trying! Keep up the fight.