Bank of America Implements HAFA on Equator for Short Sales

I will be the first to step out on a limb and say that Bank of America short sales are getting better…significantly better. Bank of America has long has issues with their short sale process. I have personally heard from hundreds of frustrated buyers, sellers and Realtors across the country about the dismal record Bank of America has had with short sales.  My Bank of America Short Sale Blog posts continue to be the number one visited and most commented posts on my blog:

Bank of America formerly Countrywide New Short Sale Policies and Guidelines

Bank of America formerly Countrywide NEW NEW Short Sale Process…REOTrans.com

Bank of America and Equator (Formerly REOTrans)…Short Sale Nirvana?

It has been a long 6 months since the launch of the Bank of America and Equator short sale platform. Both Bank of America and Equator spent millions of dollars to develop a customized short sale system to handle the hundreds of thousands of Bank of America short sales. The learning curve has been steep, but we have seen significant changes with Bank of America and Equator…positive changes. All of our Bank of America short sales have been put into the Equator system and all of the files are moving through the system fairly efficiently. Click here to view a detailed Bank of America and Equator short sale training guide.

Equator Short Sale Training Guide

Equator Short Sale FAQ

I just received and email from Equator stating that ALL Bank of America Short sale are now required to go through Equator. Additionally, Bank of America will be participating in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative HAFA program. This is exciting news and we are very optimistic that Bank of America will put the right foot forward and turn their disastrous history with short sales around.

Bank of America's HAFA Program Website gives homeowner's details on their support of the program.

Below is a copy of an email that I received on Friday from Equator.


Bank of America Home Loans will now be using Equator as the primary tool for short sales.  It is a self service portal that automates the short sale process.  This will streamline the process and improve the experience for both customer and real estate agents.

 

As a result, Bank of America will no longer be accepting faxed short sale documents, effective immediately you will need to upload those documents through Equator. Information to assist you with the Equator system can be found at www.bankofamerica.reo.com/shortsaletraining.

 

Once a short sale is initiated on a Bank of America loan, you can also access the educational guide within Equator.  It can be found within the "Upload 3rd Party Authorization" task.  This guide provides tips for avoiding delays and navigating system functionality.

 

To start a short sale today, go to www.Equator.com/

 

REMINDER: The federal government recently announced the short sale program guidelines for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program which will go into effect on Monday, April 5, 2010.  Bank of America Home Loans is implementing HAFA, the program designed to help those customers who were not eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or any other modification.  For more detailed information on the HAFA program, go to the National Association of Realtors site at www.realtor.org/government_affairs/short_sales_hafa.

 

Questions?  Please call the Bank of America Home Loans Short Sale team at 1.866.880.1232

Bank of America's Foreclosure Assistance Pipeline is Clogged

A clogged pipeline for foreclosure assistance with Bank of America is a massive understatement! It is more like a massive logjam and there is not an easy and quick way to fix it. Bank of America issues continue to be the most visited and commented blog post on my website. I get questions and phone calls from desperate buyers and sellers across the country looking for answers.

Team Baranowski is the number one team for Bank of America Short Sales on the Emerald Coast. We have transitioned many of our Bank of America short sales to the Equator System and have been pleasantly surprised with the results. The new system was launched in October and it had its share of growing pains…but it appears that the new system may be the only positive and viable solution to a absolutely dismal foreclosure prevention system by Bank of America. Many Realtors avoid Bank of America short sales. We have a 100% closure rate with Bank of America Short Sales…they just take time…a lot of time!

NEW YORK – March 5, 2010 – Two years after swallowing the troubled mortgage giant Countrywide Financial, Bank of America trails other major U.S. lenders in resolving troubled home loans through short sales or modified loan terms.

The lender, one of the nation’s biggest banks, holds more than a million mortgages that are months behind on their payments – twice as many defaulting home loans as any other lender in the country. But it has given permanent mortgage modifications to only about 1 percent of those borrowers – one of the lowest rates among lenders nationally, according to a report released last month on the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.

The issue is key in Metropolitan Orlando, which has the nation’s 11th-highest rate of mortgage modifications, with 18,000 homeowners in trial modifications and 2,468 in permanent ones, the report stated.

Loan modifications aren’t the only way of out a foreclosure. In January, about a quarter of all Orlando-area home closings were short sales, which occur when the lender allows a homeowner to sell the property for less than what’s owed on the mortgage.

But when it comes to short sales, Bank of America also lags other lenders, real-estate agents say, by taking too long to respond to offers.

“Realtors that I work with, if they hear Bank of America, they won’t even show the property,” said David Pruett, a broker for D.A. Pruett Properties.

The chairman of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, Kathleen Gallagher McIver, said recently that Bank of America has the worst record for expediting short sales, “and there’s not anyone out there who will tell you otherwise.”

Bank of America acknowledges it needs help with its short sales.

“We clearly recognize the need to improve the short-sale process for both our customers and the real-estate professionals who are critical to a successful transaction,” said Jumana Bauwen, a bank spokeswoman.

The company said it has updated its training, enhanced its technology and established a short-sale team to help customers and real-estate agents navigate the process. It is piloting a short-sale program for owners who don’t qualify for new mortgage terms. And it has established a 24-hour phone line so agents, buyers and sellers can track the status of their short sales.

Bank of America is not alone in its struggles to deal with the avalanche of defaulting home mortgages, according to the February modification report by the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Wachovia Corp., now owned by Wells Fargo & Co., has approved permanently modified terms for fewer than 1 percent of its 86,461 defaulting mortgage customers. American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. has a similar track record with the 127,521 mortgages headed toward foreclosure that it holds. Among the nation’s largest lenders, GMAC Mortgage Inc. had the best rate: 17 percent of its 65,751 defaulting home loans have been permanently modified.

Bank of America, which inherited much of its mortgage portfolio from Countrywide, says part of the problem is that many homeowners have not been diligent about submitting the documents needed to convert a trial mortgage modification into a permanent one.

Clermont resident George Simmons said he is now totally frustrated, having tried for more than a year to get Bank of America to convert a series of trial modifications into something permanent.

“Let’s see, the last correspondence I had from them said they didn’t have my income-tax return and my Social Security records,” Simmons said. “I sent it to them so many times. I’ve got my fax receipts and my certified postal receipts. They just keep asking for the same paperwork over and over and over again.”

Overall, about a fifth of Bank of America’s defaulting-mortgage customers have received temporary, three-month trial modifications. To address the huge volume of troubled loans needing permanent solutions, the company has hired about 15,000 staffers. Workers knock on doors and call homeowners with trial modifications at least 10 times before the temporary terms expire in three months.

At one point, Bauwen said, Bank of America was behind in getting homeowners into trial loan modifications. But it has ramped up those efforts, she said, and many of those trials will be converted into permanent modifications.

More importantly, Bauwen added, the company is not ramping up its foreclosure efforts unnecessarily.

Copyright © 2010 The Orlando Sentinel, Fla., Mary Shanklin. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.