Our Los Angeles County loan modification lawyers were pleased to see an Associated Press article Aug. 5 about an unusual ally for homeowners struggling with mortgage problems: a Catholic priest. According to the article, the Rev. John Lasseigne got involved in loan modifications after discovering widespread mortgage problems among his flock, a largely blue-collar and Latino population in the San Fernando Valley town of Pacoima. Lasseigne said he was stunned when he realized the extent of the foreclosure crisis, which came to his attention after multiple families in his flock faced losing their homes.
Now, Lasseigne -- a law school graduate -- organizes financial workshops, counsels homeowners and advocates for them with help from nonprofit organizations. He also meets directly with banks to negotiate loan modifications, frequently for people he says were entrapped by companies who took advantage of their limited English and lack of financial sophistication. One homeowner he helped was Juana Rodriguez, who followed bad advice to borrow $272,000, including a down payment, on a townhouse. She had an adjustable-rate mortgage whose interest reached 10.56% just before she lost her job. With help from Lasseigne and others, she was able to change the loan to a 30-year mortgage at 5% fixed interest, and now helps counsel others with similar problems. Lasseigne's work also includes lobbying for stronger laws against predatory lending.
We are delighted to see that an organization with moral authority is advocating on behalf of struggling homeowners, especially those who were misled into loans they couldn't afford. As we have recently written on this blog, the housing downturn is revealing a lot of ugly practices by mortgage industry professionals willing to exploit minorities and immigrants without the financial savvy and English skills necessary to understand their loans. That includes negotiating loans in Spanish but offering loan documents in English; offering a loan at a much higher interest rate than the borrower could qualify for; and targeting minorities with expensive and "exotic" loans. Our Chino loan modification attorneys use evidence of these predatory lending practices as leverage to get clients a fair and sustainable loan workout.
At Howard Law LLP, we don't wear clerical collars to our meetings with banks. However, we believe that our status as an established law firm offers another advantage that gets lenders' attention -- the threat of legal action. As Orange loan modification attorneys, we understand our clients' legal rights, and we will absolutely file a lawsuit, if necessary, to enforce those rights with a lender or servicer that has refused to honor them. Our goal is always to get our client a loan modification that actually lowers their monthly payments and allows them to stay in their homes for the long term.
Howard Law offers free, confidential consultations to homeowners interested in exploring how we can help. If you're facing foreclosure or default and you'd like to know more, you can reach us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or contact us online.