Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Banks Refusing to Help Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Remember the announcement about the Hardest Hit Fund, a program designed to help homeowners who were facing foreclosure work with their lenders so they could save their homes?

The Helping Hardest-Hit Homeowners Fund will be available to homeowners drawing unemployment benefits, those who have fallen behind because of a temporary layoff or medical emergency, and previously unemployed homeowners who have returned to work at lower wages.

Granholm said state officials also filed a request with the Obama administration to add to the group of potential applicants Michigan's long-term unemployed whose benefits have expired.

The fund should be able to provide assistance for up to 17,000 Michigan households, she said.

Funding is coming through TARP. Since that initial announcement, Michigan has received $128 million more for the fund, enough to help another 13,000 homeowners... but at the time of the second announcement about a month later, only 70 homeowners had been approved for help. Why? Part of the reason is that some big banks are refusing to take part in the program.

Go get 'em, Governor.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm unloaded on several big banks today, saying it was outrageous that they received huge government bailouts, but refuse to participate in programs that would help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.

“They need to participate unless they want to own all these homes that are going into foreclosure,” she said during an event in Detroit to publicize the federal government’s infusion of $128 million in foreclosure prevention funds to the state.

She singled out Wells Fargo, Citibank, Chase and Bank of America as four banks that got bailout funds, but haven’t signed on to the federal program, called “Hardest Hit” fund.

“I’m really grateful for all the homegrown banks that are participating,” Granholm said, noting that 150 Michigan banks are participating in the program. “And the (U.S.) Treasury Department really needs to pressure the big banks.”

Yes, they do. Will we see some response from Congress and the White House on this issue?

If you are looking for help with your mortgage, check with the MSHDA Hardest Hit site for a list of participating lenders.

If you are with one of the big boys on that list, call your Congresscritter and yell a lot. It's absolutely ridiculous that these beneficiaries of taxpayer funds are now refusing to lend a hand to help both homeowners and the national economy.