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Monday, September 07, 2009

One Family: Option ARM, failed Modification, Health Issues, Bankruptcy, and more

by Calculated Risk on 9/07/2009 05:50:00 PM

This story has it all: negative equity, Option ARM, health problems, a modification horror story and more - all with one family in Orange County.

From the O.C. Register: Family faces loss of home amid health crisis

... the Kempffs' option adjustable-rate mortgage payment skyrocketed to $4,300 a month from $2,500 last December. Seeing no way to afford the new payments, the Kempffs opted for a loan modification from their bank, IndyMac which was later purchased by OneWest from the FDIC in March.
The Kempffs said they were told by an IndyMac representative on the phone that they had to miss three payments before a deal could be worked out. ... For a family that had never missed payments in 14 years of being homeowners, purposely skipping payments was hard for the Kempffs, but they consented.
I'm curious about the timing in the article. IndyMac was seized by the FDIC on July 11, 2008, and was then run by the FDIC until March of 2009. Did this happen when IndyMac was being used by the FDIC to demonstrate how to modify loans? Tanta correctly predicted that the FDIC would discover that modifying loans was not easy, see: IndyMac-FDIC Mortgage Modification Plan: Still in the Real World
I wrote a snotty post at the end of August after Sheila Bair's plan for "affordability modifications" of the former IndyMac loans was announced, the burden of snot wisdom of which was my prediction that Bair was going to discover that it's a lot harder than she thinks to get successful mortgage modifications done on a wide scale in a very short period of time. However, I did express the hope that the Bair plan would prove remarkably successful and indicated my willingness to eat my words should it prove necessary.

Looks like I'll have to stick to my usual dry toast and bananas after all.
Back to the article:
A OneWest Bank spokesperson said the Kempffs didn't qualify for a loan modification because the amount they owed on their first mortgage was more than $729,750.

The unpaid amount on the Kempffs' loan is $786,802.59, short of qualifying for a modification by about $60,000.

Since the Kempffs purchased their home in 2002, they took out loans and refinanced their mortgage. The equity from those transactions enabled the Kempff family to fix their cracked pool, remedy a slipping backyard slope by putting in three retaining walls, help three children pay for college and pay for the medical bills of their youngest son who had malignant melanoma.
Juergen Kempff, 65, has battled leukemia and lymphoma for a decade, on and off. His bone marrow has been debilitated from his treatments, and his oncologist has given him about six months to live.
Desperate to stall the foreclosure process, the Kempffs declared bankruptcy.
A sympathetic borrower - a professor at the University of California, Irvine with a serious health issue - negative equity, using the home as an ATM, an Option ARM, a personal bankruptcy, miscommunication with the lender on a modification (apparently while the FDIC was running IndyMac) - and a home in the upper middle price range. This story has it all.