Santa Clara Foreclosure Event Draws Hundreds Of Troubled Homeowners

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – Many of the distressed homeowners granted face to face meetings with Chase Bank representatives in Santa Clara on Thursday had been caught in a paperwork maze for months or years trying to fend off foreclosure or modify the terms of a home loan.

“We have been trying to call the bank for 2 ½ years and every three months they just lose the paperwork and we have to start all over again,” said Richard Ramos, who missed a couple of payments after a death in the family and now faces possible foreclosure.

Ramos said he does not want to walk away from his mortgage.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

The foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac said the number of U.S. homeowners put on notice for being behind on their mortgage payments fell in May to the lowest level since 2006.

Analysts said that drop was the result of a slowing housing market and lingering delays in banks’ foreclosure process because of more rigorous paperwork standards.

That slower time frame hasn’t blunted the very real threat that many could still lose their homes.

Roberto Valencia said he had been trying to meet with a Chase loan counselor for two years. Problems with the paperwork is what started all the trouble, he said.

“This specific document was not there. That’s why,” Valencia said.

A spokesman for Chase, Patrick McGovern, admitted the bank has made its share of paperwork mistakes, which is why the bank switched to an electronic filing system to track mortgages.

“It allows the decision makers that we work with to review those documents in real time, regardless where in the country or where in the process they are,” McGovern said.

The families in line during the 3-day event at the Valley Fair Shopping Center, one of about 40 that Chase has planned around the country, were in all stages of the process from default to foreclosure and short sale.

McGovern cautioned that being assigned to a bank representative and having an in-person meeting could not guarantee a loan modification or the end of foreclosure proceedings.

“We want people to know that we’re here to help and that the earlier they get into the process, the better off that they’ll be,”he said.

A wary skepticism crept into Ramos’ voice as he waited his turn with the counselor.

“Over the phone, you just get a lot of run around. Hopefully this is a start,” he said. said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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