M&T Bank has a slogan – Understanding what’s important.
But according to Chris Sevigny M&T’s view of what’s important apparently has nothing to do with customers….
Chris Sevigny is a legal assistant in the office of Queens foreclosure attorney – Brian McCaffrey Attorney at Law, P.C. In an exclusive interview conducted by telephone on Fri. Nov. 23, Sevigny recounted the events leading up to M&T’s bait and switch by saying “Initially M&T approved the borrower for an ‘in house’ modification that provided for an un-affordable payment.”
According to the legal assistant who works to insure that the banks are following guidelines every day, when he asked why this was done Nora Vicioso at M&T’s office of customer asset management at M&T sent an email stating “Based on HUD guidelines we do have a sequence of work outs we have to follow. We review for every workout in sequence, HAMP is the last option for us to review, the (HUD & FHA) regulation is that if a customer qualifies for a workout we cannot jump it to go to a different one.”
HUD Officials are looking into this case and in an email on Wed., Nov. 21, they stated that they are waiting for a response from M&T and that they “have asked M&T to escalate their research so HUD can provide a final response.”
This reporter checked out Vicioso’s version of the FHA guidelines as it pertains to the Obama administrations HAMP program and in a move reminiscent of congressmen who pass laws for Americans to follow while exempting themselves; it appears that there is a dirty little secret when it comes to Government Sponsored Entities (GSE’s) and adherence to the HAMP program.
The FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are all EXEMPT from the guidelines of HAMP. In the case of the FHA they have designed a waterfall system that makes HAMP a last resort. This means if your mortgage is backed by the FHA your chances of obtaining meaningful assistance are greatly diminished.
When staff at the law office persistently questioned the methodology used by M&T employees, M&T’s Vicioso held fast and insisted that they had applied the guidelines correctly.
The law firm which has earned a name for toughness in the fight for homeowners rights against intransigent banks reached out to Robert G. Wilmers the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of M&T. Wilmers office assigned Shannon E. Ormond a supervisor in the M&T homeowners assistance center to review the file and resolve the issues.
Sevigny said lenders frequently take a defensive approach, circle the wagons and start to control their communications in a CYA manner, instead of actually reviewing the file and fixing their mistakes.
This case was no different; Ormond first voiced concern and said that she would get to the bottom of what was done. Shortly thereafter she admitted that M&T had incorrectly calculated the homeowner’s income and the borrower in fact qualified for HAMP.
Indeed in an email to Sevigny dated Nov. 7, 2012 Ormond wrote “Good Afternoon Chris, … Attached is a copy of the HAMP Trial agreement. A hard copy is also being mailed directly to the borrowers. Please let me know if you have any questions…. Shannon E. Ormond.’
Upon opening the document Ormond referred to as “the HAMP Trial agreement” Sevigny discovered that he had been misled and M&T had employed the all too familiar big bank tactic of bait and switch. SEE FAKE M&T HAMP MODIFICATION HERE
When questioned by Sevigny, M&T’s Ormond responded in another email by characterizing FHA guidelines as “FHA did not issue and does not require a uniform HAMP approval letter to be used.”
Last week the FHA made news by floating trial balloons testing the viability of another “taxpayer funded bailout”, in light of this case and many, many others a review of FHA’s loan modification efforts and results is in order.
Sevigny said that “Taxpayers should look long and hard before allowing the FHA bailout, while the FHA is forcing homeowners to accept modifications that increase their payments or make tiny reductions which all but insure that the homeowner will re-default.”
This case is under review by HUD Officials and the results of that investigation will be reported here.