Update of 6/18/12: Rust called and claimed that the form to apply for an independent foreclosure review was theirs and I can’t I use any part of it. I don’t get why they don’t want people to know about it, but I decided to do as they requested. So the form and the links to it have been removed.
While the rest of the world is moving toward electronic submissions and streamlining processes — the feds, a “third party” contractor and loan servicers are kickin it old school regarding the recently announced Independing Foreclosure Review. Paper and snail mail.
You cannot just download the official Independent Foreclosure Review application form off of the web if you are interested in applying — you have to call the contractor (Rust Consulting) and give them your name, contact info, the name of your servicer, the address of the property where the foreclosure activity occurred, and the loan number. They will also confirm the date of the foreclosure activity began in the relevant time period (if it only just started in the last year and you are still living in the home, forget it — this process is not designed to really help anyone much). More on the fatal flaws in the process here and here and here. Then Rust Consulting sends you the application by mail so you can fill it out and return it to the administrator (I assume Rust Consulting) by mail, who will then forward it on to the consultant the servicer pays and has hand-picked to review their complaints. (See earlier posts linked above.) I’m betting at some point the application is input into a database but who knows.
The feds refused to put the actual application online (or allowed for electronic submissions). Of course the application is unnecessarily complicated and confusing, but there is no reason it should not be available online at least. It only appears the feds are trying to prevent just anyone from applying — they want to prescreen a bit I suppose. But it adds another barrier to the process.
Let’s talk about the specifics of the application. The first page of the Independent Foreclosure Review application is the only one that has homeowner specific information preprinted on the form (the servicer, loan number, address of the property) — they merely took the information provided to them on the phone and preprinted these three things on it. Here [Removed per demand of Rust] is a sample of the first page of the application with the preprinted information and some bar coding scratched out so you can see for yourself. The rest of the five page application has questions and blanks and a crazy acknowledgement at the end.
I took the first page of the application and typed it up and merely left blanks for the three things such that a homeowner could circle and fill those his or herself, then I attached the rest of the application as is. Here is the complete application [Removed per demand of Rust.] I also added a few lines to the beginning on the first page that simply ask that the name of the person who made the decision on the application be provided, along with all the information given to the decision-maker aka the “decider”. (I sincerely doubt these requests will be honored because fairness is not a part of this process.) Homeowners should definitely make a copy of the application and send it in by certified mail.
I intend to send a copy of this application to Rust Consulting and get their reaction. If someone sends in this form completed, I would be interested in learning the result. I think it likely that the homeowner will be sent Rust’s version of the form because efficiency is not the goal, but it at least will be easy to send back in because pages 2-5 are completely identical (and the first page should be filled in already by Rust Consulting). I am assuming a homeowner will keep a copy of the application(s) they send in and any other documentation provided so it can be sent in over and over (just like homeowners are required to do under HAMP arguably).
Filed under: Advice for Borrowers